Sorry if this is old news for those who spend more time researching the game by the numbers, but I recently surfed my way to 82games.com, This particular ranking of the teams by position seemed to be an accurate predictor of their net result for 2007-2008, and a good expression of what the BaB community expressed in wildly and humorously diverse ways.
We underperformed last year, and should have been one of the marginal playoff teams. We should have been better than 9th worst, but not even close to contending for the title. Look at the teams with the lowest (good) total rankings, and they were the favorites going into the playoffs; finalists, conference, division, etc. In Boston's case, dominant at 3 positions, very good at the other 2. All of the other top 8 teams have a "big three" ranking of 21 or less; Cleveland was the exception, showing that a player being #1 might not indicate just how #1 he really is. Our best "big 3" has a rank of 45.
My takeaway from this was that the Bulls' problems can't be directed simply at your least favorite player, unless you invent a scenario where Pax somehow converts, say, Larry Hughes into LBJ, Kobe, or Howard. They're just not very competitive across the board; look at how far they have to go to get into the ranks of the Denvers and Sixers of the leagues, and those teams still seem to be on the other side of the Grand Canyon from Boston, Detroit, LA and Utah.
No wonder any poster suggestions for how to fix the team gets met with 100 posts why it either won't work or is ludicrously unrealistic. It appears that we're beyond mediocrity at the guards and center, and just ok at the forwards. Hopefully Noah and Rose mature into top 5 rankings at those positions, but that still only makes us marginal. Without citing the particular stats I'd had in mind, I posed this dilemna to HSCS and I liked his response:Rose is a pretty big upgrade
and the Bulls dropped so far defensively last season that there really isn’t a clear need. Thomas and Noah haven’t played enough, and it will be really hard to upgrade on Deng and Gordon for the amount of time the Bulls could lock them up for.
Well, here's hoping that Rose can "make the players around him better"; a LOT better.