Title inspired by my late night viewing of The Bullwinkle Show lol..
When Boozer went down before Preseason, I was expecting nothing more than a team trying to tread water until his return. .500 was the ceiling of my expectations, suffice to say that the team has surpassed those expectations, even though there is time for that to be proven wrong between now and his return. I feel like the team is legit, and I'm not the only one with that opinion.
When you add our early success, with the pending return of Boozer, and the way the Eastern Conference has been shaping up early, it has to give you a quiet sense of optimism that this team can truly be EC title contenders THIS year. Miami hasn't jelled nearly as fast as everyone expected, and looks like a team that can be taken advantage of with a good PG and quality bigs (Hello, DRose, Noah, and Booz!!). Boston has looked good, but lose their floor general, Rondo, for a while and those hamstrings can be pains in the butt to heal. Orlando has looked shaky, but have gotten wins off of Howard and Nelson. Atlanta doesn't really look like they will be matching their seasons of the last couple of years. And Milwaukee, and Charlotte are both off to bad starts.
I've jumped off the "Trade for Melo" Bandwagon, I think Deng has proven that he can be an excellent SF in this system and a worthy 3rd/4th option in the offense, but he isn't a 2nd option and I think that has also become clear. With that said, I'd much rather have Deng at $9 mil/year, than Melo at close to $20 mil/year, especially if it means keeping Noah.
To me the best way to make this team better, and IMO become legit Eastern Conference title contenders is to make our starting lineup a complete lineup. Which means adding a SG that can take over the spot. Bogans and Brewer are a good platoon at SG, but we need someone who can do or at least come close to matching their combined skills in one person. A person who is capable of getting a couple of 20-something nights, on the nights when Deng disappears to supplement D.Rose and Boozer. A guy who can be depended on to compete and play good solid D on the big-time SG's he'll face, while at the same time being able to put some pressure back on them on the offensive side. There was a recent article by Sam Smith listing and detailing the SG's most likely available on the trade block, if you haven't read it, here it is: Bulls May Need Better Shooting Guard to Make Run
The 3 names on that list that stick out to me are O.J. Mayo, Rudy Fernandez, and Marcus Thornton. Basically because all three can be had for on rookie contracts, which means they'll be cheap (for the time being) and still young enough to grow with this team. Thornton, would be the cheapest, he could be had for our own 1st rounder, I would think, but he doesn't really seem like the complete SG I'm looking for in this type of trade, because his D isn't good enough. He would be a great complement to Bogans or Brewer though. I think the realization about Brandon Roy's bad knees has raised Rudy's price tag, and if they weren't going for out 1st and JJ before, who knows what they'll ask for now. That leaves Mayo, you may have noticed that I've been pimping his name around the site for some time now. I just think he is the perfect piece to this puzzle. I'll explain after the jump...
OJ Mayo is the SG that Gar Paxsdorf should be coming up with creative ways to get (just like I have been). He would be the perfect 3rd / 4th option on this team. It would take the pressure off of Deng to have to get those mid-teens to low 20's games EVERY night, so when he disappears and we all know he will, we have someone who we can realistically rely on. Instead of hoping Taj, or God forbid Bogans or Brewer come up with a big night.
-- You say he's only 6'4.. I say our starting SG now is only an inch taller, and has less quickness. Mayo plays physical D and can definitely get his shot off. He also has a 6'6 wingspan, so he's no chump.
-- You say he's only shooting 39%.. I say he's in one of the worst offenses in the league, this observation is just off the eyeball test, no actual stats to back up my claim. But when ever I see Grizz games or highlights everything seems one-on-one. It's either dumping the ball in the post to Z-Bo or Baby Gasol where it never returns or Gay out on the wing in ISO. I can't help but think that his shooting percentage would rise on a team that has more ball movement. He is a 44% shooter and hitting 38% of his 3's career-wise. Even with the bad start, he's still averaging 13.6/ game and shooting 37% from behind the arc, wouldn't you love to have that out in our starting lineup?
-- You say the guy is a punk.. I say he "was" a punk. I've heard about the selfish behavior and the infractions at USC, but I think that's behind him. Take a look at this article, it paints a totally different picture than the one that you typically hear regarding Mayo. I found this snippet, especially interesting:
These days, Mayo is the last player you can accuse of not caring about his team. When asked what he hopes to accomplish in his third year, individual accolades don't even cross his mind.
"My main thing is I just want to help my team get to the playoffs," Mayo said. "I think it's about that time. We're all getting tired of having an early end to the season after eighty-two games and we feel that this is the year that we can become a postseason team and just get better. I want to be able to contribute in all areas. I'm here for my team and I'll bring my hard hat into work every day."
Doesn't he sound like the "grimy" type of player, D.Rose is always talking about ?
-- Lastly, you'll probably say, so if he's so good and this emerging leader why would Memphis give him up?.. I answer that question by saying that he's going to be the odd man out. He, Z-Bo, and Baby Gasol will all be up for free agency in the next 2 years. They have already signed Rudy Gay and Mike Conley to big money extensions, I can't see all 3 guys getting the money they want. And they have no bigs to offset the loss of Z-Bo or Gasol, but they do have SG's to offset the loss of Mayo in Tony Allen, Xavier Henry, and Greivis Vasquez.
So here's my newest hair-brained plan to get him (and a couple of others) on to our Chicago Bulls. Stay with me because this one is a little complicated.
4-Team Trade involving Chicago, Memphis, Sacramento, and Indiana:
Bulls Get: SG / SF Dahntay Jones from Indy, Jason Thompson from Sac, and OJ Mayo from Mem, with a 2nd round pick from Sac and 2nd round pick from Indy
Pacers Get: SG Francisco Garcia from Sac, C Hamed Haddadi from Mem, and PF Brian Scalabrine from Chi, with Bulls 1st round pick
Grizz Get: PG Beno Udrih and SF / PF Donte Greene from Sac, with Bulls 1st round pick (Charlotte's pick) Kings Get: PG TJ Ford from Indy, SG / SF Ronnie Brewer, SF James Johnson, and PF / C Kurt Thomas from Chi, and Sam Young from Mem