One of the great dangers of this transitory period in the Derrick Rose Era is the ever present worst-case scenario of “becoming the Hawks.” At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. The Hawks have averaged over 45 wins a season over the last six, reaching at least 40 wins every season (including the lockout shortened campaign of 2011-12). Surely this is a better fate than, say, the Bobcats of recent years, but as we know, the only enviable positions in today’s NBA are at the top or at the bottom. Having a superstar or in a position to get one through the draft. With the exceptions of the 2008 Draft and a few weeks in 2011, the Bulls have spent the majority of the last decade in exactly that position. We don’t have to worry about them becoming the Hawks. We have to worry about becoming someone else.
This startling similarity is further highlighted in the trajectories of this particular season. After losing their best player, each team has hovered around .500 for most of the season (the Bulls were 7 games under at one point). Both teams have a hard-working, multi-faceted, highly skilled All-Star big man, a stern, task master of a coach who paid his dues for decades as an assistant, an elite level shooting threat on the wings, and no chance in the Eastern Conference. Hell, both teams have employed Cartier Martin this season. It’s like looking in a mirror. A funhouse mirror, cracked with regret, broken promises and clown semen.
On a happier note, this probably won’t be an awful basketball game, due to the aforementioned “being decent” thing the Hawks like to do. After jettisoning the albatross contract of Joe Johnson and the albatross play style of Josh Smith, the Hawks have been relatively fun at times. Kyle Korver’s riding an NBA record 118 consecutive games with a three pointer made, and has been worth every bit of the TRADE EXCEPTION THE BULLS NEVER EVEN USED THAT THEY TRADED HIM FOR WHEN THEY VERY EASILY COULD HAVE TRADED HIM FOR HINRICH INSTEAD. WE ALL KNEW THEY WERE FUCKING SIGNING KIRK ANYWAY WHY NOT JUST MAKE IT A SIGN AND TRADE AND GET HIM FOR HALF THE PRICE YOU GOT HIM FOR INSTEAD OF HARD-CAPPING YOURSELVES AND HAVING TO SIGN FUCKING NAZR MOH-
Apologies for that, folks. The author in charge of this piece has been sacked and replaced by another, more amenable author who we promise will not launch into tirades. Frankly, we’re surprised it took this long for him to do it, considering how great Korver has been in Atlanta.
Anyways, the best way for the Bulls to continue getting their season back on track and get right back into the thick of things in the Eastern Conference is to play together! They have more than enough to win, so they just have to go out there, believe in each other, and take the fight right to those nasty Hawks! This is just the first step in what will surely be a title run! Go Bulls! Go team! Go- AND NOW YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO TRADE MIKE DUNLEAVY FOR NOTHING JUST TO AVOID THE LUXURY TAX THAT YOU’RE ONLY APPROACHING IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE YOU SIGNED CARLOS BOOZER TO AN EIGHTY MILLION DOLLAR DEAL INSTEAD OF DAVID LEE OR BOB MCADOO OR ESSENTIALLY ANY OTHER POWER FORWARD EVER. REINSDORF, DO YOU EVEN GIVE THIS FRONT OFFICE ANY DIRECTIVES THAT AREN’T JUST TASTEFUL GLAMOUR SHOTS OF PAUL KONERKO STRADDLING A BASEBALL BAT-
Apologies again, folks. The people in charge of sacking the original author have been sacked. Back to the preview.
MYND YOU, MOOSE BITES KAN BE PRETTY NASTI
Oh, hell. Let’s just do the starting lineups and be done with it.
Probable Starting Lineups
Chicago Bulls (25-25, 2nd in Central, 6th in Eastern Conference)
C- Joakim Noah: 7th season. 11.7 points per game, 11.4 rebounds.
PF- Taj Gibson: 5th season. 12.6 points per game, 6.5 rebounds.
SF- Mike Dunleavy: 12th season. 10.9 points per game, 3.8 rebounds.
SG- Jimmy Butler: 3rd season. 12.4 points per game, 2.0 steals.
PG- Kirk Hinrich: 11th season. 8.2 points per game, 4.4 assists.
Atlanta Hawks (25-24, 2nd in Southeast, 4th in Eastern Conference)
C- Gustavo Ayon: 3rd season. 3.9 points per game, 4.6 rebounds.
PF- Paul Millsap: 8th season. 17.7 points per game, 8.4 rebounds.
SF- DeMarre Carroll: 5th season. 10.4 points per game, 5.6 rebounds.
SG- Kyle Korver: 11th season. 12.0 points per game, 4.0 rebounds.
PG- Jeff Teague: 5th season. 15.8 points per game, 7.3 assists.
Key Matchup: DJ Augustin/Kirk Hinrich vs Jeff Teague/Shelvin Mack.
As we all know, the Bulls production from the lead guard spot has been less than ideal this season. Even with the resurgence of DJ Augustin’s career, the point guard spot still has an overall PER of 11.4 compared to Opponent’s PER of 15.8, with that differential of -4.4 being by far the worst on this team. With the exception of Derrick Rose resurrecting himself, that doesn’t seem to have much of a chance to change. How much better can DJ or Kirk play as of late? Jeff Teague isn’t a superstar, but he significantly better than either of these two, and former Bulls draft target Shelvin Mack has pulled his career from the brink and made himself into a legitimate backup in this league. How well the Bulls two headed Nerdluck holds its own in this fight, specifically defensively, will go a long way towards determining this game.