19
Jul
07

Thursday Bulls notes

ESPN’s John Hollinger ranked the Bulls as the 12th Most Improved Team this offseason.  His list:

1. – Houston  
2. – Charlotte
3. – Phoenix
4. – New York
5. – Atlanta                        
6. – Boston
7. – Memphis
8. – Washington
9. – New Orleans
10. – Sacramento
11. – Los Angeles
12. – Chicago

(added Joakim Noah and Joe Smith; lost P.J. Brown)
Maybe power forward isn't the weak spot on the roster anymore.
Already possessing a promising stud at the position in Tyrus
Thomas, the Bulls added the energy of Noah and the veteran
smarts of Smith to their roster, shoring up a spot manned by a
fading Brown last season. No, none of these guys can score in
the post, which is where the Bulls really could use help, but
they'll add another jolt of energy to the frontcourt. Plus,
they give Chicago yet more assets to throw into a trade for the
likes of Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol.

We’d probably place Chicago a few spots higher on the list, but overall it’s an interesting take on team changes so far.  The bright side for Bulls fans is that 9 out of the 11 teams on the list above the Bulls had significantly worse records in ’06-’07 than Chicago did.  Everyone knows the Suns are going to be good.  Yes, the Rockets will probably now legitimately join the upper echelon in the West.  But this list also indicates the Bulls will stay atop the power rankings of Eastern Conference teams.

  • Joe Smith says he has a legit post-up game.  “Posting up is what got me here, from college to my first few years in the league. I started developing the mid-range game when I started playing with Kevin Garnett [in Minnesota] because he was the main post-up guy. I had to spread the defense a bit. But I still feel comfortable with what I can do with my back to the basket.  In Philly last year, they used me a lot on the block, and I was able to get things accomplished whether it was for myself or drawing the double team and finding open guys,” Smith said. “I have a lot of confidence in what I can do on the block as well as what I can do away from the block.”
  • Hinrich will be at the USA Basketball camp in Vegas but he’ll have to compete with Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams to keep his spot on the team.  Luol Deng will play on the British national team this summer and in the ’08 olympics.  Thabo Sefolosha, the only player from Switzerland in the NBA, will do the same for the Swiss team.  Nocioni will not participate this summer on the Argentine team because his leg has not gained enough strength yet after his recovery from plantar fasciitis.  Rumors have circulated that Ben Gordon would also play for Britain as he was born in London and spent the first three weeks of his life there.  Nothing official has been reported.
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