Luol, Duh out. Gordon likely out.
I have a bad feeling about this one. For one thing, the Bulls aren't good at playing basketball. Secondly...actually they're all just derivatives of the first thing. They won a game shorthanded, and I'm not liking the odds of winning two. But at the least knowing that it hinges on the likes of Thabo and Noah makes things interesting.
In honor of the second half of the season, I'll contribute my version of the time-honored ritual: grades.
(Here's John Jackson's assessment, which was the inspiration):
Kirk Hinrich - D: Just completely abysmal until recently. Being a 'shy' captain exemplifies lame demeanor of entire team.
Ben Gordon - C-minus: Extra points for not throwing a shit fit when asked to go to the bench for no reason. I know I threw one.
Luol Deng - C: I'm hoping that his injuries explain away his lack of development as a player since last season. Although he seems willing to try some wrinkles in his game this year, so far it's not working. Like making layups.
Ben Wallace - F-minus-minus-minus-minus: Is no longer a dominant defensive rebounder, and whatever offense he once had has now completely disappeared, as 34.7% from the field, for an interior player, is a monumentally bad season. Bonus negative points for quitting on Skiles, and just quitting in most games. Even more negative points for being the pollster of the Bulls caucus.
Joe Smith - A: Joe Smith has ruled, and despite playing unreasonably heavy minutes, hasn't broken down. It'll be great if that's parlayed into a trade.
Andres Nocioni - C-plus: Probably could get a B, but watching him just pisses me off. Reading the constant glowing remarks about him makes things even worse.
Chris Duhon - F: I'll miss making fun of him when he's gone. To Greece.
Tyrus Thomas - C-plus: He's been completely misused, but that said, his per-minute numbers aren't as good as last year, either. Actually...nearly everything is except his FG%, and he's bizarrely missing dunks (jumper does look better) and committing goaltends. However, if it's a protest against his inept development structure, then A-plus.
Joakim Noah - A-plus: One of the best rookies in the league, one of the best players overall on the team. It's been known a while, but now it's getting re-told as if the veteran shenanigans actually spurred Noah on.
Thabo Sefolosha - C-minus: He's had a handful of good games, but has mostly been garbage this season, whether it was Skiles' fault or not. Negative points for being a test case against young players. (at least a case for those who group underperforming youngins with those who do perform, for no real reason)
Aaron Gray - B-minus: Good for a big, slow...did I mention big? Almost gets the same negative points Noc gets for unreasonable adoration.
Viktor Khryapa - A: No explanation needed.
Adrian Griffin - F: For every rolling hook shot Griffin takes, a baby panda gets decapitated. And he's a piece of crap for the Noah thing. And hypnotizing Pax into a 3-year guaranteed contract.
JamesOn Curry - P
Demetris Nichols - A: I think he had a foul in his minute of action. Nice work.
Bonus grades that Jackson forgot:
Skiles - F
Boylan - F-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus: with more negative points for every postgame interview
Pax - incomplete: Not sure we have a GM
Matt - C-plus: outsourcing game previews, getting into fights with moron commenters, failing to update links section for quite a while. On the positive side, the righteous anger makes the words flow. And that stretch where I started booting out commenters was pretty fun and a boost to the site. (hmmmm)