Last night I witnessed live and in Technicolor the end of the 2007-2008 Chicago Bulls. Can’t say that I’m too sad about that. Even though the Bulls won, it was kind of like the matador finally taking the sword to his defeated beast. It’s ova.
Let’s face it, when you can’t make it to the playoffs in the East, you are a joke. Not as much of a joke as the New York Knicks, but I’m not one to pile on. Isiah does enough damage on his own.
So, I spent my Wednesday evening observing the once-proud Bulls playing for nothing. I had to wonder, what happened to the team that was poised to take the “next step” in the East this year? Where did they go?
Truth is, the core is still there. Guys like Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and Chris Duhon are all still main parts. As it turns out, they’re just not as good as everyone thought or hoped.
The one noticeable difference, of course, is Ben Wallace got shipped off in some trade that mattered to me for one day. Note: His jersey T-shirts were 60 percent off at the fan store. I didn’t bite. But if the clearance rack is any indication, Andres Nocioni better watch out for his job.
It’s common knowledge by now (I think the 33-49 record kind of speaks for itself) that this roster can’t win — let alone win big — as it’s currently constructed. I’ve gotten the feeling as the season has moved along that virtually nobody is untouchable. I’m just not going to get into the minutia of could-be roster moves. Not worth the energy. A stick of dynamite is a good place to start, though.
I will, however, submit one man for untouchable status. Listen up, John Paxson
Aaron Gray is my man of the moment. Judging by this game only, to be totally rational, he is a beast. Against the Raptors second team he had 19 points and 22 rebounds! He’s a legit 7-footer! He couldn’t jump over the Chicago phone book if a gun were to his head!
The thing I like best is that he clearly conserves his energy for when it matters. There were several possession where he didn’t even really make it all the way to half court on defense before there was a turnover, at which point he was poised to use an energy burst and get an easy layup. Smart, I like that.
Tyrus Thomas has almost perfected this art as well. Problem is, he doesn’t weigh 270 pounds so he should be able to run down the floor a little faster. Must be those heavy legs at the end of the season. Or maybe he’s just a loaf.
So, there’s my solution. Bust it all up and save the big, slow, athletically-challenged guy playing a wholly overrated position.
Sounds good. Ready, go!