and tracking all other former Bulls - if you must...
But before we get into that lets get these few things out of the way first:
1. I asked matt if it was "ok" to make this thread. He said it was cool.
2. Thabo just lost all his confidence somewhere within the first few weeks of his time here in the Skiles era and a few games here and there aside where he actually went out and just "played" instead of thought too much about what to do out there he was pretty brutal to watch for most casual fans-to even many slightly obsessive fans that do NOT care to look for budding potential in the little things a player can do-and prefer to just see ball go in the hoop.
3. we are not trying to recreate history here nor antagonize anyone-merely have a space for some extra-dialogue.
Ok---we good? Cool...on to some glowing metaphors and strapping hyperbole about the player that could have at least partially filled Scottie Pippen's size 15's.
Thabo never once got consistent minutes here. And frankly, how could he? This was not really any coaches fault. When he was drafted we already had the likes of Kirk Hinrich (C), Luol deng, Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon, Andres Nocioni, and Adrian Griffin in front of him. We also brought in Larry Hughes as well. There was no real place for him to play and learn and allow the game to slow down for him without sacrificing minutes from a player that already knows what they are doing out there.
Another major problem with playing thabo any major minutes or even the 2 failed "starting role" campaigns is that he was put on the floor often with Tyrus, Noah, ben wallace, Chris Duhon, Lindsey hunter, and Kirk Hinrich. Which took away from Thabo's greatest strenght on offense. Thabo is your classic facilitator...he is the guy that is always thinking pass first. But a deft passer needs finishers and until the last month or so tyrus was more of a fumbler than a finisher. Same for Noah. Same for ben Wallace. The only "finishers" we started with thabo in the first 6 games were Rose and Deng. And deng couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in that first month.
These are not excuses. Just some reflections.
Last year, when thabo got very consistent minutes when Hinrich, Gordon, and deng were all injured and the Bulls beat Utah, lost by a basket to Portland (where thabo completely outplayed Brtandon roy) I posted a long winded scottie pippen camparison with scottie's scond year...few players have even been that close to scottie overall floor game. Scottie was a decent hair length quicker with his first step than thabo and had a quicker and higher verticle so it will be rare for a player to ever again average 3 steal and 1 block. Some will get close...Tyrus Thomas might actually get close to it or be in the 2 steals-2-3 blocks ballpark. But thabo was right there with around 2.5 steal and .9 blocks over a 15 game stretch while averaging around 13 ppg and 6 rebound and 3.5 assists. And in the rare instance that Thabo felt he could play through mistakes he usually would put up very solid numbers eventhough his shooting and scoring was still shaky- yet very respectable for a 2nd-3rd year guy that got little minutes and had confidence issues.
So with that all that said, here are some reason why trade Thabo was a mistake:
1. He makes peanuts compared to deng, noc, Hughes, Hinrich, and what gordon wants. We are entering a cap restrictive era. the next CBA will crucify teams that have a luol deng on their team for 12 million per year over 6 years...the same way the previous cba crucified the knicks and magic for the Houston and Hill contracts except this time there will be no escape clause.
2. Noc and Hughes were traded...it was deng and/or Hinrich that should have been shipped out too instead of thabo. deng was my choice to send packing and lots of teams would have jumped at it. deng is as injury prone as tmac and danning manning. dude is plain brittle...he will be labled an injury risk shortly if not already and very difficult to move. i personally would have moved him because a better player in the making was right there in Thabo sefolosha for a fraction of the cost.
3. We prolly could have re-signed Thabo for 4-5 million and locked him up for 6 years the same way we did pip back in the day. That's a special part of the beauty of "late-bloomers" they never get paid. Mle is usually their ceiling. Raja Bell, Doug Christie, Bruce Bowen, John Salmons-all late bllomers that never saw much more than the mle but you can WIN with these kinds of guys. Thabo will be one of these kinds of palyers and prolly better than them all-offense and defense considered.
4. As it stands right now we will lose Gordon for sure purely based on space under the tax to resign him. I'm not a fan. and i would move him back to 6th man as soon as I signed him and start him only when there is a good match up or innjury forces but Gordon is still one of the most efficient scorers in the entire league-in fact that the league has ever seen. And if you bring Gordon off the bench again he will abuse second units and get to the line way more than he does now...Those scrubs will be forced to foul him. By keeping deng over Thabo we will lose the ability to resign Gordon. Big Mistake!
5. same for Hinrich as Deng. There is very little deng can do that thabo cant do as well. At least Kirk is an excellent ball handler and can run a ultra conservative offense and plays excellent defense. Bit still...I'll take thabo at back up PG for 7 million less per season any day of the week. Especially cuz all we need is 6-7 minutes per game.
6. thabo has 5 game with the Thunder. the frickin thunder! They won 13 games all season before he got there. they are 2-2 with him as a starter and an over time loss to the Mavs by 1 basket. could have been 3-1 easily. The last 3 games have been with their 27 ppg scorer!-who was essentially replaced by thabo!
Thabo was thrown into action with a new team within 1 day of being traded so i dont count his first game. You should NOT even count his second game either as he had been with the team a total of 4 days.
But for the last 3 games he is averaging:
14 ppg, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, .7 blocks, shooting 43% 3 pt shooting. and 50% from the floor overall. with only 1.3 turn overs. Better than Ben Gordon efficiency shooting the ball (which wont remain-we all know but still). Better rebounding than deng! (which will keep up). Less turnover than Duhon which will keep up as Thabo, when comfortable is not a turnover machine at all. and thabo was our best defender and a great NBA defender in the making.
Then go look at what the opposing SG's and SF's shot over the last 3 games. I fully expect this trend to continue. This what John paxson envisioned when he paid 1.5 million to trade up for sefolosha. This is/was exactly what Derrick rose needs. Robin to derricks batman was already on the team.
As a die hard Bulls fan and season ticket holder desperate to sell off some of my tix this was a tough blow for me. I know Thabo is going to continue to grow as one of those super duper role players like Pippen was...one of those "star" type of role palyers that plays on winning teams and does the little things to win games.
He will be missed by few fans though. I know most here and elsewhere are Gordon fans or Hinrich fans and Rose fans. But the thread is up...to track the one that got away.