Watching Omer Asik hang in there with Dwight "I will plow you" Howard for 31 solid minutes got me to thinking. If he really is making a leap, however big or small it turns out to be, what does that mean for the Chicago Bulls?
1. The Best Frontline in the East
Yeah, I said it. In light of Boston's Perk-for-Green move, Miami's Big Three turning out to be Two Men And A Little Lady and Dwight Howard being only one man (I think), who can top Noah, Boozer, Asik, Taj, Kurt with a dash of Deng? All of a sudden the Bulls can add offensive rebounding to their list of Awesome Elite Skills We Have, next to defense and "chemistry". Noah is the league's best offensive rebounder, possibly after Kevin Love. Boozer is a lot of things, one of which happens to be that he can rebound. One of Taj's best skills is offensive rebounding. Kurt is enforcsurance. That's a good group. You can go to war with that group.
Add in a bonus 25 minutes (31 nearly killed him) of active rebounding 7-footer? Yes please.
Hence, the best frontline in the East. And, the best offensive rebounding team in the league.
My question is: does that extra elite skill overcome their lack of shooting?
2. Might Get Crowded in There
Boozer is struggling. Omer is still learning. Noah just got back. Taj is on the low-minutes diet. These guys haven't all played together before. At times, monkey poo fights have looked more organized. To date, it's Boozer whose numbers have suffered, although perhaps if he'd stop stumbling into people while yelling he might actually score once in awhile. (Is there any doubt he made his FOUL YELL when he tripped over the bag?) I'll be interested to see how Thibs sorts out everyone's roles, but I'm not worried because...
3. Thibs is Coach of The Year
I know, hyperbole. Fair argument. Here is mine:
- The Bulls will win 50+ games, maybe as many as 58. That's around a 15 game improvement.
- The Bulls brought in five free agents and eight players total, counting Omer, C.J, and Rasual. That's a lot of new pieces to sort out on the way to a top 3 (2?) seed.
- Injuries: The fact that the Bulls continued winning without Boozer and Noah will be discussed at length in COY debates.
- Whoelseyagot? - Popovich would be the only other favorite I could understand. But he's won it before, and that counts.
The naysaying voice in my head would point out Bogans. And the failure to develop Jimmy Johns. And Bogans. But if it comes to be that Thibs has "coached up" Asik this well in 50 games, I'd say at least half of the above argument is moot.
The kicker? The chill scene all lined up for MVP/COY articles: Last month's Rose/Thibs Spurs Pre-Game Speech. Since this a media poll, yes that matters.
I still have some questions about Omer. Will Kurt Thomas get pancake butt from sitting on the bench? Will I ever figure out why Asik's free throws are either textbook or ruh-roh and never anything in-between? Why am I so compelled to call Omer by my made-up nickname (The Turkish Plow)?
But one thing I don't wonder about is who will win this year's COY. It's Thibs, going away. Who would have imagined that Omer (The Turkish Plow!) Asik would seal it?