Let me start this off by just saying great job to our team for their effort and attitude against the heat today. This post is going to mainly talk about the future of this team and some things i disagree with.
Okay first off I've heard by many that this team's current build is not a promising one. That our depth will soon be gone and we will be a weaker team, or that we need a 2nd star to truly compete. I completely disagree with that and am actually very exited for what this team can do now and in the next coming off season. I think people often forget just how far into the luxury tax most contending teams are, we are actually very well managed financially almost to a fault i think (cheap owner). Nonetheless the elephant in the room is Boozer's contract, for the most part i like the guy, he doesn't seem like a jerk, or a problem, and is a pretty good player. Still that doesn't mask the fact that he's hurting this team's growth, and it would be best to Amnesty him after this year. Today's game against the Heat to me was very telling on who the Bulls can count on. Noah fought through his rough playing earlier this year and played big when it mattered the most. The refs sure messed that up in the end, but i think we can all agree he is essential to this team. However Noah is constantly making up for Boozer's mistakes on defense and i think that has something to do with our slow starts. I really like the lineup with Noah and Taj. Which brings us to our next problem, resigning Taj.
Taj has shown that he doesn't disappear in big games, he's gritty, he's tough, and a lot of people think he's hit his ceiling. I'll admit i was one of them but i did some thinking and came to the conclusion that, "hey, he's athletic, has a huge wingspan, is very coachable, and has a great attitude. He's become a much better player since Booze has gotten here... so why is he necessarily a finished product?" I really think that he's a more important signing than Asik. The offer given should be somewhere around 7 to 8 million a year for 3 years, and the starting job. Yes i said it i think he can produce just as much as Boozer on offense and dare i say he seems to be a better post player than Boozer at this point in their careers. The defensive side of the floor i don't even have to mention. Let's face it Boozer is not the low post threat we wanted, he's an above average offensive player with a good jumpshot. I think if Taj is offered the starting job he will work on his jumper enough to the point where it's respectable. The bottom line is this team as constructed is not meant for a low post threat, we are going to win with defense, and back court offense.
Now on to Asik... I feel that Asik is already closer to his ceiling than Taj. I'll admit that i was always in the camp that he was a phenomenal prospect and had to be kept at all costs, but i no longer think that. He seems to have very bad conditioning and i don't think it's because he's out of shape, he's had a history of leg and knee injuries, he has very very bad hands, and doesn't have a ton of confidence. Not to mention i don't like his age to skill level ratio. He's been playing pro ball for a very long time and he hasn't developed an even close to respectable offensive game yet. I do however think that he will be VERY overpaid this offseason. In a league where Kwame brown gets seven million, and Deandre gets a huge deal, Asik will definitely get one too. I don't think the bulls should invest in that when we have Noah, who i feel is too special of a player to give up. His contract is also very reasonable compared to other centers.
In reality when players like Howard don't want to come here we have to be smarter and more creative on ways to improve our team. The contracts givin to Brewer, Cj, and Korver, all opened up space for some kind of move this coming offseason. I would like to see more 2 way players added and another creator off the bench. There is no doubt in my mind that players have seen the Bulls play, and how a lot of playing time is given to role players. It must be an appealing place for vets. With a good chance we lose a couple bench guys after this year it would be cool to sign a couple "2 way players". Someone like Andrei Kirilenko, JR Smith, or Kirk Hinrich. Maybe a once top prospect who never had a good situation, or a "low risk, high reward" guy like Yi Jianlian. Or maybe take a chance on a promising big guy who could be had for the minimum like Kyrylo Fasenko. Maybe Thibs wants to bring back a familiar face who always plays hard in Leon Powe. There are tons of options.
As for the 2nd star, i think we have a really special player in Mirotic coming soon. Not many guys can play at the highest level of european basketball at the age he did. Only time will tell though.
The Bulls bench next year could actually be much better than this years. Imagine these linups.
Starters: Rose - Hamilton - Deng - Gibson - Noah
Bench: Hinrich, Jr Smith, Brewer, Yi JianLian - Fasenko
or a more conservative bench like
Bench: CJ, Butler, Kirilenko, Yi Jian Lian, Powe
It feels great that we are an elite team now, we are a dream to many players who want to contribute for a ring, and it just feels great after being a Bulls fan for these last 10 grueling years after Jordan.
ps I'm a wiz on NBA 2k12, for those of you who don't know it's the biggest basketball game on the market and is very realistic. It has a mode called "The Association" where you basically manage a team in every way and go through seasons. It includes player contracts and every player has a different potential and attitude. So guys like Jimmy Butler have a potential rated C, while players like rose have an A. Guys like Boozer are more concerned with money while guys like Nick Collison are more concerned with winning.
I have been considering simulating a couple seasons for the Bulls, maybe until the end of Rose's prime. Then uploading it to youtube to share with you guys. I don't know if you guys would be interested in that so let me know!