Thursday, January 31, 2013

BULLet Points: The Memo Is Back!

I can't do it in 140 characters anymore. I feel like I'm talking in morse code. I'm one step from writing only in text massage shorthand.

Time for actual prose again. So I'll shake off the rust with a little roundup of where we are...

-The Bulls are on pace for 51 wins right now... without Derrick Rose. On one hand, you have to give it up for Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, who have taken their games to a new level. Boozer was my whipping boy for the last two years, but he has been legitimately good this year. He has actually not been a defensive liability - and I didn't think that was possible. His offense has been invaluable. Further, Luol Deng has always been more respected by the players and coaches on other teams than he has by Bulls fans and local media who couldn't seem to get over by the fact he's not Scottie Pippen. Those who felt that his contract was an albatross didn't understand that what Deng brings to the table matters more on a good team. But on the other hand... with likely two Coach of the Year Awards and a runner-up in his first three seasons, COY may soon have to be re-named the Tom Thibodeau Award. It's hard to argue that he's anything but the game's best coach right now?

-Nate Robinson is a fascinating basketball study. At 5'9", he's just not supposed to be in the NBA. And no team ever seems to think keeping him around is a priority each offseason. At times he's explosive, at other times he looks like he has never played full court 5-on-5 before. But he always has a job, and last night we saw why. While he doesn't play point guard in any conventional sense, the guy can flat-out score points in bunches. In the absence of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have needed someone who could create his own shot and score on his own from time to time, and his periodic outbursts have MATTERED this year. A low-money afterthought late in the process has turned out to be the difference in probably more than a few wins. When Rose comes back, Kirk Hinrich will be the primary backup point guard - and probably play some minutes with Rose. Nate will go back into his "Break Glass In Case Of Emergency" box. But you know come playoff time, where the Bulls are down 10 in the third quarter, the game is being played in the mud, and a jolt of energy is needed...

-Jimmy Butler is one more offseason of tightening up his handle and improving his jump shot away from being an NBA starter. Between his emergence and the emergence of Nikola Mirotic into what many believe is a future NBA All-Star, how good is the Bulls' 2011 draft looking right now?