Open Game Thread #69: Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers

The Bulls are 2-1 against the Pacers this season.  The Pacers have won three straight and are 1/2 games ahead of the Bulls. Gooden and Sefolosha missed practice yesterday but hopefully will play.  Hinrich hopes to play but is a game-time decision.  The still present, but dwindling playoff hopes are painfully transitioning to summer improvement, look-forward-to-next-year season.  Our lingering despair creates more Boylan bashing as well as new summer Bulls improvement strategies.  Boylan bashing may not be necessary since he is dead man walking.  The new coach name being thrown out is John Calipari. Indiana's version of Bull's coaching uncertainty is Walsh and Larry Bird uncertainty.  

I will watch tonight's game trying to answer the following questions:

1.    What is our basketball identity going to be?  I've posted my defensive vision thing.  Others do not believe our players are made for a defensive shut-down team.   With Skiles we were the NBA hustling defensive "we try harder" team.  Under Boylan we are the offensively better, defensively poor, weak-willed, no-heart, best 4th quarter collapsing NBA team.  What kind of team would we become with Calipari at helm?
2.    What should we do with Ben Gordon? I remain confused.  
3.    Is Deng an all-star or an also-ran?  Will he blossom into an NBA star or be an overpaid burden on our salary cap?  
4.    Can a new coach convert Hughes into a defensive specialist?  He is quick, likes to make steals, but can he be taught to play defense at a Bruce Bowen level?
5.    Will Thabo become an elite guard or should we trade him because we will never pay him?  
6.    Is this year an aberration for Hinrich or did we make an error and grossly over-pay him?   Should we consider trading him?
7.    Gooden looks like a legitimate inside presence.  Next year is the last year of his contract.  Would we resign him?  If not should we trade him?  What are we looking to get in a trade?

Enjoy - the game tonight can be viewed as a canvas for summer decision-making!  

SBNation Indiana Pacer blog,

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