- Nazr Mohammed might have had the lowest expectations (and biggest hole to fill) of the new bench, but this preseason he's shown to be far from done. I won't say he's proven enough to elicit this kind of praise from Doug Thonus at Bulls Confidential:
Mohammed is showing how much difference it makes to have a guy who can throw the ball in the hoop from five feet away even if there's a guy in front of him. He just muscles up shot after shot and continues to score efficiently. The defensive presence isn't the same, but Mohammed's actually providing more post presence thanever has and might be the Bulls best low post scorer since .
I doubt the Bulls can go to Mohammed for heavy minutes, and I also doubt he'd be effective in a high volume role, but much likehe plays well within his limits. Knows his strengths and delivers consistent quality basketball. If Mohammed keeps up his level of play, then he'll help this team more than Asik would have.
Well, Nazr is averaging 9 points with 7.5rebounds in his 20 mpg this preseason. 48.5% shooting isn't that 'efficient', but he does look competent when the gets the ball down low and is good on the offensive glass. I think Asik's offensive issues were a bit overblown (he'd stay within his limits enough and the dropped passes were just more memorable) and Nazr has to be a vast improvement on that end to make up for the decrease in defense in rebounding with Asik's departure. He's been better than expected (clearly, if I'm already posting about overblown praise!), so hopefully his last season in OKC was an offensive aberration (he shot 55% and 52% the previous two seasons) and not an age-fueled final decline.
- Speaking of love affairs, had to have a chuckle at Scott Skiles talking about Kirk Hinrich. It certainly lends credence to the mutually assured destruction that was the Bucks-Bulls bidding war over the guy. And Skiles was nice to keep our memes going, mentioning Hinrich's house in the area.
- As the Bulls had today off, no update on Hinrich's thumb injury. It's probably insignificant, but the Bulls are filthy liars with this stuff so you never really can tell. In the post-game presser someone asked about Luol Deng tweaking an ankle late in the game and Thibs sported a sly grin as he said dismissively "I think he's ok...". Between the injury updates and clandestine attitude towards preseason lineup changes, it has to get quite annoying when actually trying to cover this team.
- Both Bucksketball and BrewHoop mentioned the oddity of Thibs bringing back the starters for the 4th quarter. Not that it's necessarily a bad idea (it's not playing guys all 48 minutes or anything), but I think it does relatively raise the stakes for the preseason. With the way Thibs coaches, when the Bulls look poor in the preseason you can't write it off as lack of effort as you could with other teams.