By Paul Gotham
The mysterious Chicago Bulls
Two years ago the Chicago Bulls seemed ready to make a run at the Eastern Conference crown. Third-year coach, Scott Skiles (he took over during the 03-04campaign) guided the Bulls to their first playoff series win in nine seasons. Led by young guns Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich the Baby Bulls swept the reigning champs, Miami, before falling to Detroit 4-2 in a hard-fought series.
The future seemed to favor Chicago. Gordon, Hinrich, Deng along with Andres Nocioni and Ben Wallace prepared for the 07-08 season.
Then, discontent between Wallace and Skiles surfaced. The Baby Bulls started slowly, 9-16. Management showed Skiles the door, and Chicago earned a ping pong ball for the draft lottery.
Despite injuries to Deng and Nocioni the Bulls finished 08-09 at .500. Rookie Derrick Rose led an upstart crew against a hobbled Boston Celtics in an epic first-round series. Few professionals find solace in moral victories. Taking the reigning champs to overtime in four of seven contests lends hope to the future of the United Center denizens.
Chicago added James Johnson (Wake Forest) and Taj Gibson (USC) through the draft. Gone is Gordon. Long gone is Wallace (if he was ever truly there). The East is getting stronger. Where will the Bulls fit?
Anybody have room for a 16 / 10 guy?
The Utah Jazz matched Portland’s offer for Paul Millsap. Are the Jazz ready to part ways with Carlos Boozer? Two years ago Boozer and Deron Williams seemed like the perfect pick-and-roll successors to John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Now the Jazz appear ready to window shop.
Miami looks like the best suitor. Dwyane Wade has expressed concerns over floundering through the upcoming season without another viable option in the lineup. Boozer averaged 16 points and 10 boards for the Jazz last season. Can the Alaskan native handle the near tropics?
Talkin’ ’bout PRACtice?
It’s August. The NBA season opens in two and half months. For the first time in 14 years, Allen Iverson is unsure which uniform he will put on this season.
The Clippers, Heat, and Grizzlies have all shown interest. Yet, Iverson still hasn’t found a dotted line to autograph. At 34 years old and #16 on the all-time scoring list, will Iverson consider playing in Europe?
Got some splinters to share? Post them here and let’s discuss.