Monday, November 26, 2007
Are The 07' Bulls Any Different From the 07' Cubs?
For any team that has high expectations, a slow start always finds a place for blame to be established. While it's hard to compare a slow start with basketball to football, it is easier to compare it with baseball. And what team better to compare the Bulls against, than a team who played only a couple months ago who also had lofty expectations, started slow, then managed to catch up, only to lose in the first round of the playoffs? Yep, your good ole 2007 Chicago Cubs. While it's true the Bulls are notorious for their terrible starts, this team just strikes me as a mirror image from the diamond to the court. Let's take a look at how they compare at the Bulls current point, to where the Cubs where after their first month:
CUBS THROUGH APRIL: 0-6 in one-run games, 1-9 in one to two-run games. In short, a team that couldn't score when it needed to which players blamed on the cold weather.
BULLS THROUGH NOVEMBER: 2-10 overall, averaging 86.5 ppg,with a -10.0 ppg differential which = WORST IN THE NBA. In short, another team who can't score.
PLAYERS WE EXPECTED MORE OUT OF IN THEIR FIRST MONTH:
CUBS: ALFONSO SORIANO/BULLS: LUOL DENG: Soriano spent most of April not doing jackshit except striking out and nursing whatever injuries he had. He hit a few homers, and that was about it. Considering his price tag, you would have liked to seen a bit more to help so the Cubbies could come out of the blocks better.
As for Luol, whatever killer instincts we as Bulls fans would think to have seen by now is all but forgotten; a strange dream we can keep thinking could have happened at some point only to realize it was fiction. That's exactly what Deng has been; an afterthought thus far this season. He hasn't learned to take over games, he seems passive at times, and I don't know that he has made more of an impact then Chris Duhon has (a definite reach, but when you consider expectations, it's a little more down-to-earth).
PLAYERS WHO HAVEN'T SHOWN UP, AND WON'T SHOW UP:
Derrek Lee and Kirk Hinrich: While his RBI's this year were pretty much his average from 2000-05 (only played 50 games in 06'), his home runs were down by eight in 2007 from that span. You could argue he had a better year then usual with 43 doubles, a .317 average, along with 180 hits; but how many games can you remember when he came through in the clutch? Yeah, decent numbers, but look comparatively to his numbers in the NLDS this past year: .333 avg, 0 HR, 0 RBI's, ZERO IMPACT.
Kirk Hinrich is shaping up for an even worse year thus far: 10.9 ppg, .349 fg %, .211 3 pt %, 5.5 apg. All numbers down from his career averages. Outside of his stupid fouls, Hinrich is a ghost on the court, and while his career would indicate he'll bounce back, I don't see any impact that he makes on this team that Gordon or the aforementioned down Deng won't be able to do.
TWO COACHES WHO HAVE NO CLUE WHAT'S GOING ON:PINIELLA/SKILES:
Skiles has no answers, while Lou could barely speak sentences. But honestly, what do you expect these guys to say or do? Skiles can't make them shoot better no matter how many drills he puts them through, while Lou couldn't make the Cubs hit for most of the season. He could have had them practice bunting, but that would have been too much for a major league team to focus on, apparently. The difference in these two lies in experience, which Lou has Skiles lapped over on several times. Lou is also more calm these days, while Scotty looks like he hasn't taken a shit in over two weeks. The Cubs had the advantage of a Brewers team which prematurely finished like 'Special K' in Can't Hardly Wait. The Bulls will not have that luxury, as the Pistons know they better quickly head back to the NBA Finals before getting too old, not to mention the Celtics' early dominance. How does a jump shooting team get better? If you have a thought, please forward to Scott Skiles, he's dying to hear from you (and if you have a constipation remedy, send that one even sooner).
Posted by Dr. C at 7:47 PM