I have little to say about Saturday's game against the Celtics, as I didn't see it. And although it was taped and ready the next day, after reading about yet another game of just 'missing shots', I was decidedly not into that kind of masochism.
But just looking over the comments, recaps, and stats, one thing that's obvious is yet another poor game from Ben Gordon. He's the slow starter, usually, but players of his caliber (or what he believes is his caliber) shouldn't have that built-in excuse. Hinrich's even-worse start has made it a little easier for Gordon's lack of production to be ignored, but on a game where he's repeatedly torched by Rajon Rondo while going 0-fer in the 2nd half it bring his struggles back to the forefront. It's hardly a surprise this team remains the worst offensive team in the league when their best scorer isn't.
So while that's a big problem, on to an independent, yet also damaging one: Tyrus' disappearing minutes. It can be said that the Bulls are on a bit of a roll, winning more and staying closer in losses to the elite teams like Dallas and Boston. But as I said after the Detroit game, it's just a return to the usual, and this team was supposed to be creeping towards elite, not conceding when against it. They need to show improvement, and since little was done this past offseason, the implied message was that the Bulls '06 draft class of Thomas and Sefolosha would play bigger roles.
But instead both Thomas and Sefolosha are nearly out of the rotation. Either Skiles is messing up by not playing them, or Paxson messed up by drafting them. They're two lottery picks on a team that begs for athleticism, and they can't get on the floor. And even if they're trade bait, a trade now at this low of a value is an admitted mistake from Paxson, and a crippling blow for his resume.
On the topic of this being the same old team, I thought this post from Red Kerr on the WGN blog (no idea how it gets from Red's head to the web) was unintentionally illuminating:
Isn't that so Bulls? The 'right time' is bringing a 16 point deficit to 5 in the fourth quarter.
I always pick on Nocioni, which is admittedly silly as he continues to be their best player this season. But I don't because I think he's the problem, it's because when Nocioni's the MVP of a team, it's unsurprising that the team is 6-12. So why be excited about him getting heavy minutes and taking tons of shots?
I had much higher hopes for this team, and I assume Paxson did too. But if his recent draft picks are truly busting, that's his job. Yet I'm thinking from Pax's perspective it's Skiles' job to get them on the floor, so eventually non-blowout losses aren't considered improvement anymore.