[From the FanPosts: Thanks to T-Boogie for starting us with some picks and rationales. Throw in your opinion, and maybe we can reach some consensus picks.... Consensus on BaB! Hahahahahahahaha. ;-) wjb]
We seem to be low on discussion material as we find ourselves in that awkward time frame in between the end of our season and the NBA draft. Therefore, I decided to share my picks for individual awards for the Bulls this season. I have also posted several other articles on my other Bulls blog, if anyone needs more reading material at work. Without further delay, here are my picks for the best performances from Bulls players this year.
Most Improved: Joakim Noah
Honorable Mention: Tyrus Thomas
Noah's rookie season was full of drama, underwhelming performances, and repeated incidents that brought his maturity into question. Since then, Noah has improved on all fronts by leaps and bounds. Noah struggled a bit early on, but he was one of the most consistent players by the end of the season. Noah's rebound rate went from good to tremendous, he grew as a defender, and he seems to have put his immature past behind him. Noah's progress was outstanding, and we can only hope that he continues to improve at such a fast rate.
Offensive P.O.Y.: Ben Gordon
Honorable Mention: Derrick Rose
Gordon led the team in points per game (20.7) and 3's per game (2.1), adding instant offense on a consistent basis. In clutch situations, the offensive scheme was basically get Gordon the ball and hope he could put points on the board, and he filled that role admirably. The Bulls will really miss Gordon if he leaves, as his play basically guarantees loads of points and clutch shooting. No matter what situation Gordon finds himself in, he manages to score consistently. Easily the most consistent offensive performer of the season, and, in my mind, the undisputed offensive player of the year for the Bulls.
Defensive P.O.Y.: Tyrus Thomas
Honorable Mention: Joakim Noah
Inconsistency has been the buzzword with Tyrus, but his defense was stellar this season. A constant threat for blocking shots, Tyrus was one of the few players that seemed to understand how to play help defense. Tyrus covered small forwards, power forwards, and even centers occasionally, and he played solid defense against all three positions. Tyrus' athleticism makes him an elite shot blocker, and, with some more offensive improvement and some more (dare I say it) consistency, Tyrus could eventually live up to that much-hyped potential.
6th Man Award: Kirk Hinrich & Brad Miller
This was a difficult decision, and I chose the cop-out option of giving both Hinrich and Miller the award. Hinrich missed a sizable portion of the year due to a thumb injury, and Miller didn't come into the Bulls program until the trade deadline, but both provided valuable production off the bench. Hinrich has to be the top backup point guard in the league, and his defense took the Bulls to another level after his return. The addition of Miller (and John Salmons' impressive offensive contributions) helped the Bulls end the season very well, and his physical play helped the Bulls reel in more rebounds. Both Hinrich and Miller helped spread the floor with their exceptional outside shooting, and, even though both players are paid too much to be backups (and, quite frankly,m they're both good enough to start on many teams), they provided the Bulls with some vital assistance off the bench, logging big minutes and making big plays..
Player of the Year:
1st Place: Ben Gordon
2nd Place: Derrick Rose
3rd Place: Joakim Noah
What I've already said above about BG, combined with his improved (although still not above average, with the exception of his stellar job on Allen in the playoffs) defense and consistency makes Gordon my MVP for the Bulls this year. Ben was almost always good for at least 20 points per game, and he was pretty much the only one (Salmons also did an admirable job when called upon, but not with BG's consistency) I trusted with the ball in the dying seconds of close games (that 36.3 points per game and 56.9 eFG% in clutch situations is hard to replace, to say the least). Gordon was pretty much the entire offense with games on the line, and he more or less thrived under that pressure.
Rose did a great job for a rookie, demonstrating phenomenal poise, a good midrange jumper, excellent interior finishing and quickness, superior vision and passing, and respectable rebounding for a young, rookie point guard. His exceptional gifts undoubtedly make him the franchise's most important player, but, when his poor defense and slumps are factored into the decision, he was a step behind Gordon this season.
Noah played his role exceptionally well after a rough start, aggressively crashing the boards and finishing strong near the hoop. Noah has always been a good defender, and he improved his D on the bigger, more physical centers, but his help defense and scoring skills still need work. Nevertheless, Noah completely dodged the vaunted “sophomore slump” and provided the Bulls with solid production down low.
What are your picks for the individual accolades of the 08-09 Bulls? I'd like to hear your opinions below, as I'm sure my opinions don't reflect the consensus opinion.