Now that I've got my inexplicable serial vomiting under control after watching the epic struggle between the good guys in red and the Raptors, I've decided it's time to analyze how the Bulls measure up compared to the rest of the league, and in spite of incurring a few minor speed bumps recently on their race to the playoffs, I see many solid reasons for feeling optimistic in the days ahead, not only because of a more favorable schedule, but also because of all the thoroughbreds in Vinny's stable . PaxDorf and crew should hold their collective heads up high for assembling such an array of stellar citizens and potential talent, although some are raw and still in the gestation stage, like JJ and Hunter.
While I admit to holding a slight home team bias, I'm fairly confident most of you would be hard pressed to show me where I'm wrong. Feel free to disagree and offer your own nominees without being overly disagreeable. Using the same standards I applied in making these judgments, I ask only that you stick to the facts and not simply react emotionally. As they say, opinions are like assholes, everybody has one (except those with colostomy bags, of course) but facts speak for themselves. My nominees are, in no particular order...(drum roll please.)
COACH OF THE YEAR - I know, I know...this is an easy one. Vinny Del Negro for turning a ragtag group of disorganized, selfish millionaires into a fine-tuned, well-oiled juggernaut in less than 2 seasons. As he has said so often, "There's no I in winners, or something like that". Who among you aren't dazzled and left breathless when you hear our floor general leading his charges in the heat of battle.."show energy, attack, share, run, pass, defend, rebound, score....and also don't forget to remind me how many time outs we have left". Bravo Vinny. You would make General Patton proud.
MOST DYNAMIC PLAYER - John Salmons whose stellar all around game was on display again against the dinosaurs (-29 +/-) making it very easy for us to ask the few remaining Ben Gordon fans ......what the hell were you so upset about?
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR- another no-brainer. Hands down it's the versatile, heady megastar in the making, Taj Gibson who demonstrates on both ends of the floor, night after night why he is such an invaluable asset and why he's so appreciative to be given this opportunity to excel while still not needing to hog all the credit. As big G, the man who's always in the right spot at the right time (unlike some others we need not mention), so humbly acknowledges, "I HAVE GREAT COACHES," What a class act and to think he's not even 25 yet. Talk about maturity!
He dazzled the home crowd once again Saturday by holding the much overrated Chris Bosch to only 27 points (and he needed 12 shots to get them) and limiting him to 12 boards (5 offensive) in 22 minutes while exploding offensively on the other end by not only making a layup, but also calmly converting all but 3 of his 4 free throws. These feats were efficiently accomplished while committing only 4 turnovers and accumulating a piddling 5 fouls (which, I believe is a season low for our brainy post presence with the magic hands). He also kept his streak alive of going 5 straight games without an assist (which is quite an achievement for such an unselfish team player) and recorded an impressive minus 26 even though the Bulls were crushed by 32.
It was just another day at the office for our Bull's coaches favorite new addition who seems destined to solidify the team's PF position for decades to come based on his meteoric progress, irregardless if their 2010 plans fall thru, which seems highly unlikely due to the dynamic efforts our top notch management team. No wonder so many happy and enthralled Bulls fans are already asking Tyrus who?
MOST UNDERPAID NBA PLAYER - Luol Deng. I know that management doesn't want to exceed the luxury tax, but come on you Scrooges upstairs. Didn't you watch the game? How can the suits not feel cheap and embarrassed for shelling out a paltry 71 million for a Sudanese superstar of his character and clutchiness? Besides lighting up the scoreboard with a robust 9 points in only 30 minutes he pulled down 4 boards in a game where the Bulls were out rebounded 53-32. Now that's what I call grit and supreme effort above and beyond the call of duty. Sure they lost by 32 but while our only remaining English citizen was on the court, he was a minus 19. In a similar analogy, just as the economy has lost over 4 million jobs this year, the unemployment rate went down from 10.2% to 10%. I fully expect to see a similar drop in Luol's +/- when they tangle with the powerhouse Nets.
I think part of the reason for his success is the dude knows how to conserve energy and is a true gentleman as evidenced by his stepping back to allow his opponent to tie his shoes during the game which could have resulted in a nasty fall had he not done so. Players admire and respect that show of courtesy and I hope this example rubs off on other players, especially that rowdy Noah who needs to calm down and get his act together before he gets tossed again.
And while we're discussing tightwads, how about opening up the purse strings and offer a lucrative extension before it's too late to our captain, the indispensable Kurt (or is it Kirk, I'll have to ask Vinny on that one) Hinrich. It's hard enough trying to overcome the losses of Duhon and Hughes. Let's make sure he doesn't jump ship when his meager contract runs out. Isn't it time we learned our lesson from past miscues? Although to be fair, I do want to give Kudos to the bosses for dumping that albatross Gordon who was the main reason the Bulls defense sucked last year. The vast impovement in defense, ball movement and offensive firepower this year can be directly traced to their shrewd decision of letting Mr. "Its All About Me" take a hike. My hat's off to Jerry and company on not wasting money by making this move to get rid of our ball stopping black hole in spite of yammering protests from clueless know-nothing retards posing as fans. Keep up the good work, Gar.
6TH MAN OF THE YEAR- another slam dunk, Lindsey Hunter, who like a fine wine, just keeps getting better with age. By hitting 1 of 6 shots against the lock-down defensive stalwarts on the Raptors, his shooting % shot up 6 points to a hefty .156 although his 3 point accuracy dropped to a season low of .083. But who can argue that his quick feet and court savvy haven't made the Bulls bench the envy of the league? By the way, happy 39th big guy. Like the song about the Queen Mary riverboat says, just keep those wheels turning so the Bulls ship can keep on churning and moving ahead.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER - James Johnson. I have to admit, this call wasn't a cakewalk due to his short tenure with the big boys but I think he's shown enough to warrant this honor. Toronto found out the hard way when he dropped 3 points on them in just 15 minutes of action. Granted he hit on only 1 of 5, but it was a BIG one, a 3 pointer from the twighlight zone, and as all Bulls fans know, those types of shots aren't easy to come by. To be fair, a lot of the credit for his growth has to go to Vinny, who is renowned around the league for teaching, developing, encouraging and inspiring young talent.
BEST CONDITIONED ATHLETE - Brad Miller. His ironman grit and extraordinary stamina has been on display all season. Pretty impressive for a 33 year old big man who racked up a minus 21 in just a short stint last night and actually scored after going 3 straight games without a field goal. I think a large part of the credit has to go to his interminable will power as he no longer takes hits on his bong during half time. Brad's strict discipline should serve as a guideline and a lesson to other players like Ron Artest and our own Joakim Noah.
ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER - Sorry you Rose admirers, but my vote goes to Jannero Pargo. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well for all you stat obsessed fans out there, try putting this tasty morsel on your plate to mull over. Although our diminuitive energizer bunny logged a mere 21 minutes, he still found time to dish out 2 assists while taking only 15 shots, all within Del Negro's picture perfect motion offense. He serves as a great role model for Derrick, although Hunter has also shown him what it takes to walk the path to greatness as well.
CLUTCH CLOSER OF THE YEAR - Aaron Gray. For the 2nd game in a row, our biggest, baddest Bull showed why he was resigned. Although he may be soft and cuddly on the outside, Aaron has proven to be a monster at crunch time by hitting 2 shots in the closing minutes once again. It's easy to see why management considers him our best post player. And just for the record, I have to agree, although Taj would be giving him a run for his money, but unfortunately is never around for the finish since he always fouls out.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER- I'll bet nobody's surprised here. It's got to be Derrick Rose with maybe Kobe or LeBron or Wade a distant 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Again this year, our young, sturdy, steady superstud has had to carry this team on his back (which isn't easy with a 300 pound Aaron Gray). This willingness to take over games accounts for much of our surprising early successes surpassing all expectations. Last night was typical when our sore ankled warrior torched the nets for 9 points and kept his plus/minus to -21.
It shows what good coaching has done day in and day out to help last year's Rookie of the Year blossom into his full potential. Kudos to Vinny whose constant refrain "attack Derrick, attack, share Derrick, share" has turned our baby bull into a roaring tiger and under Del Negro's tutilage, this amazing upward trend can only continue to point skyward. Thanks for all you've brought to the table for so many, coach. I'm sure it means a lot to them as well as to all the knoweledgable blogabullers at this site who constantly echo your praises and marvel at your innovative creativeness and expertise. You deserve a share of this award almost as much as our favorite manflower.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR- this was a real tossup between Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson and Gar Foreman. You conflicted fans can take your pick without hurting my feelings because if it was up to me, I would have all their middle names changed to "Excellence." But picking among a bevy of these solid '10.s' I've got to give the edge to JR whose generosity and ability to pick an A+ front office team, all within a strict budget, has made the last decade a truly memorable one in Bulls annals for the city and the ever growing fan base.
As our former standout GM, Jerry Krause once so aptly put it......."Organizations win championships." So just hang in there and be a little more patient fellow bloggers, because I sense another dynasty building right around the corner. Although you may not live in sunny Arizona like me, but I say wipe away the gloom, ignore those gray skies and let the sunshine in. Remember, it's always darkest before the dawn, cream always rises to the top and who could logically disagree that our group of heavyweights in the Bulls braintrust aren't the "creme de la creme"?
But lets be honest folks, it hasn't been all sunshine, peaches and cream so my final 2 nominations are for PANS rather than Picks.
MOST DISAPPOINTING. Joakim Noah. You would think after playing for a 2 time NCAA championship squad, this awkward, lazy, skinny long haired dolt would have learned something and shown some improvement by now. It has become apparent to me that this loudmouthed blowhard is mostly all show with little substance. I say it's time to cut the cord and either trade him or dump his sorry ass so we can reward the starting job to Aaron Gray who is on the way to becoming one of the league's premier post up players and a defensive presence to be reckoned with thanks to his size and surprisingly graceful moves. I predict, based on the rapid improvement he's demonstrated, the Big A will soon be known around NBA circles as the Barishkinoff of NBA giants.
I say it's time to say bye bye to our clownish scarecrow with the ill fitting garish suits and as far as I'm concerned, now isn't soon enough for me. His outrageous comments directed at the league's number one superman, Lovable, laughing LeBron, was the final straw. The brain-addled pothead's behavior was lewd, crude and totally uncalled for. This disgraceful outburst will take a long time and many mea culpa's to heal the wounds inflicted by our resident jerk, especially to all those delicate feminists who must have been duly pained and insulted when he so casually threw out the "B" word.
Talk about an insensitive sexist boob! I just hope and pray that sensitive souls like Oprah or Rosie O'Donnell weren't watching this vile display. We need to nip this kind of attitude in the bud before it spreads like the swine flu to our more subdued and refined players. Take a hike, Frenchie. We've grown sick and tired of your tired act and please, before you go, how about hustling once in awhile and grabbing a few rebounds. You can't expect Taj and company to do all the dirty work in the trenches while you're too busy trying to pick a fight with our fine NBA officials.
POOREST SPORTSMANSHIP/WORST ATTITUDE/WORSE PLAYER TO EVER DON A PROFESSIONAL UNIFORM - Finally, it goes without saying where our number one festering gangrenous metastisizing cancer lies. Tyrus (bad boy) Thomas. We must rid ourselves of this plague, The only reason I didn't choose him as the most disappointing was because by now, everyone knows this immature, stupifying, clueless excuse for a so-called professional basketball player has failed so miserably, so often, he can no longer disappoint us with his pathetic displays of ineptitude.. We fully expect the worse from Tyrus and he never fails to play down to our lowest expectations. This semi-retarded manchild should just run down to Toy's R Us and buy himself a pogo stick if all he ever wants to do is jump around all night, accomplishing nothing, but please, do it on your own time.
Can anyone out there tell me anything this weak-willed novice has done so far this year to help the team? What really irks me and I'm sure almost all others is....for God's sake, man.....do I even have to say it? He has Never, Never, Never, Ever, Ever, Ever run the court, not even one time in his entire lame career. A spastic cripple shows more heart than this crybaby pouter. No wonder Vinny hates him. How many times has the skipper yelled "Run Tyrus run" and yet you still see him walking slowly practically backwards up and down the court probably just to irritate our wonderful coach who must have the patience of Job to put up with this crappola. If this isn't deliberate, than buy a frigging hearing aid. This immature malcontent should change his middle name to "Defiance." As long as he remains a Bull, their chances of capturing the NBA crown this year are remote to slim to none.
But it's not to late to turn this ship around and run flag number 7 up the rafters high above the United Center this season. The winning formula is called Additon by Subtraction. Simply subtract Tyrus while at the same time, add one strong body to the roster. If this is done, I say the sky's the limit, but we need to act now. I suggest Gar should try to work out a package deal by trading Noah and TT for Ben Wallace, especially since this one time fan favorite seems to be completely rejuvenated in Detroit. We desperately need someone who can rebound, block shots and be a threat in the low post. Who better than steady, reliable Ben to deliver our version of the proverbial hat trick in all those 3 phases of the game.
The deal could further serve as a "Don't Get Mad, Get Even" message and well deserved punishment directed towards the uppity Ben Gordon for having the audacity to jump ship to our arch rivals this year by refusing to take the Bulls more than generous offer of the veterans minimum. Yes, in my heart of hearts I know Detroit wouldn't be stupid enough to fulfill my fantasy by actually doing it. But can you imagine what adding these 2 misfits would do to the Pistons? Talk about becoming the laughingstocks of the NBA. Give me a break. And shame on me for once having a mancrush on this, pardon my French, childish assclown before I finally realized he'll always be a loser and it was way past time to throw in the towel on this turkey.
From now on I'm thinking of changing my mancrush to American Idol runnerup (who got jobbed by the way!) Adam Lambert. This human dynamo can not only bring the energy Vinny craves,but can also dance up a storm and belt out a mean tune of any genre with the best of them, not to mention he's very sexy, can apply makeup better than any supermodel and has hair almost as nice as Vinny's. Even you homophobes out there have to admit Adam is a helluva lot cuter than Dennis Rodman besides being taller than both either Hunter or Pargo. I understand he can dribble and is an absolute standout when it comes to man to man coverage as well.
I realize he has no NBA experience but word on the street says he'll always do whatever it takes to drive hard to get to the hole and will be willing to cover your back if you need to switch. His bubbling personality can lighten up the Bulls somewhat staid locker room and add to comaradarie and team bonding on the road. Who wouldn't want to share a stiff one with the always happy Lambert on those long lonely circus trips?
OK, enough of my rant. I guess it's time for all you Drew Gooden and Nocioni fans to start firing back at me for leaving them off my list. Did I fail to do justice to any others? I wanted to nominate Jerome James for Comeback of the Year based on his rehab reports but I couldn't honestly do that since he is still runs the Bulls sets in his motorized wheelchair. But when he does return, a whole new chapter may someday be written about the Triple Towers of James, Gray and Miller, that is if Vinny will be willing to abandon small-ball.