It's true (and a bit strange, to be honest): BlogABull (including its previous independent blogspot incarnation) is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Rather than merely the usual single self-serving post, this year I've instead decided to extend my self-congratulations through the summer. I'll be picking out some landmark posts through the years for reflection and laughs about the blog and the franchise it's covered in that time. So consider it my thanks to all the readers over the years: needless to say, it's more fun for me with all of you around to share it.
This first installment goes back to the beginning, the summer of 2003. After a 30 win season and a strong finish from Curry and Chandler, I was feeling pretty optimistic about the Bulls. Their offseason priority was looking for some veteran help on the wings, and after flirting with Ira Newble (someone I was enthusiastic for. seriously.) they went to the most veteran-y veteran of them all: Scottie Pippen.
This was originally published 7/20/2003:
So Pippen looks around, sees offers from only the Bulls and Griz, and is now a Bull again. I've said earlier that I wasn't against bringing him back, but I just felt that Paxson wasn't going to get him and wind up losing out on other free agents. But Pax did it, he got the guy he wanted. And how long has it been since the Bulls did that? (oh wait, E-Rob).
But from this quote, it seems like Paxson gets it:
"A lot of people think we're trying to relive the past," Paxson said, insisting he'd talk only in general terms about Pippen. "I'm looking at this as the best move for our future. What Scottie can give us on the floor is immeasurable."
I don't want to hear how this means the Bulls are a desireable organization again, and now they're repenting for mistreating players. They've ALWAYS treated players well. Pippen was brought back because he's a good fit for the team, filling their #1 offseason priority.
I think where Pippen will help the most is at the end of games, where the Bulls let a lot of wins slip away last year. Maybe now we can look forward to the offense running an actual play, instead of giving the ball to Jalen and standing around. Sam Smith says it better than I can:
Forget all the distractions and baggage that come with Pippen. That's just Scottie. There are guys like that. Charles Barkley, too. There were arrests and controversies all the time. They march to a different drummer. But they're players. Real players. The Bulls don't have many of those. Pippen's a winner. Like him or not. Say he rode in Michael Jordan's wake. But he has been in big games making big plays virtually all his career. It's time for the Bulls to have players like that, to get serious.
Pippen is not any long-term answer. But he'll have plenty of questions. When Jamal Crawford is pulling up for a three-pointer after dribbling between his legs eight times. When Eddy Curry is turning into a triple-team and shooting...If Jalen Rose takes a bad shot or six, Pippen will let him know. When Tyson Chandler is running around like a mad turkey, who better than Pippen to set him straight.
There's some sentimental value to all this. And some credibility for the organization. It further distances the Bulls from the lingering notion they resented the players who won for the organization. It's a nice tool to have for future free agents. Maybe the Bulls even retire Pippen's jersey while he's with the organization. But, more important, they put a player on the floor who is a winner, who has performed under pressure and succeeded and who has the credibility to lead others and demand better of them.
::wipes away tear::
Stuff like that makes me forget all the possible problems with this move. I just hope that the Bulls start out hot, or else angry whiny Pip will be back. Anyway, here's a look at the ole' depth chart:
Frontcourt: Marshall, Fizer, E-Rob, Dali, Baxter
Backcourt: Hinrich, Hassell, Mason
(I didn't bother giving depth positions for the bench, since Marshall can play the 3 or 4, Chandler can play center, Hinrich can play 1 or 2, etc.)
That's 13 players, so there are 2 more roster spots. I imagine one will go to a backup center, and its looking like Corie Blount will be back to fill that role. That's a playoff team though, especially in the East. And the expectations should be no lower than that.
Wow, I really was optimistic. I had a feeling these would be fun to read again. :-D