[Thanks to chgobr for today's game preview -ed.]
As the Bulls face Philadelphia, we have completed over 10% of the season. Teams' true selves are emerging.
The Brand experiment has quickly gone from hype to heartburn.The Philly Daily News reports
Now, the situation has been thrown fully into a blender, as new coach Eddie Jordan doesn't appear to have enough confidence in Brand to have him on the floor in key situations. Brand has not played in the fourth quarter in four of the past five games. In those games, he has averaged only 24 minutes, 7 points and 5.2 rebounds.
A bad move by Stefanski to sign the Duke product? Perhaps.
Too early to tell? Again, perhaps.
This much is obvious: Brand is not the player who came to the Sixers with an average of 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in nine NBA seasons. He probably isn't as unproductive as the player who has averaged only 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game this season. But he is now 30. And maybe finding his old form after the injuries and at his age just isn't possible.
Brand has not finished games despite being paid almost $15 million. Brand's long-term cancer runs through 2012-13 and is over $18 million dollars 2013. The consequences are a team that likely will struggle until after 2013 with more empty seats in Philly. Iguodala has been a contributor but Lou Williams and Thadeus Young have not played to the high expectations. Dalembert is a bust who appears to be impossible to trade.
We have our own issues. A new Bulls team has begun to emerge.
There is a lot to like. This team plays like professionals. Most of them want to win and are good team players. Except for minor Tyrus issues the culture of this team has gone professional. Points against has gone to 92.9 from 102.5 2008-9. This is a remarkable improvement. Ball movement seems improved. Noah seems to be the real deal. Players that really want to win, young talent and an inability to take over games makes Chicago ideal for one of the free 2010 agents.
Hitting shots! We move the ball; find the open man who is excellent at firing up bricks. The main culprits are Hinrich, Pargo and Salmons shooting .346, 351 and .306. This makes you yearn for BG. Despite the urge I still believe we are and will be better off in the long run not signing BG.
Thankfully we do not have the Steven Jackson, Don Nelson, Allen Iverson, New York Knick lunacy going on. With Deng performing up to his contract and with Hinrich's contract contracting, we really have no long-term horrible deals we need to dump to be competitive. No ugly here - a plus for the franchise.
For those of us who
1. thought Kerr was the dumbest Manger in the NBA,
2. who thought Miami would struggle to make the playoffs,
3. who thought Houston would struggle to win 20 games
4. who thought Sacramento would struggle to win 15 games
We appear way off.
The Philly perspective for tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers can be found at Liberty Ballers. This is a back-to-back for Philly as they got mauled 112 - 90 at home by a Deron Williams less Utah Jazz. It really would be nice to go on the road 5 -4.