Posts Tagged ‘brandan wright

13
Jul
07

Some of last year’s doormats much improved for ’07-08

The offseason is a time for limitless optimism when looking at your favorite team, or any team for that matter. For most teams the 2007-2008 season won’t go as well as they’re picturing now. For a few teams it will go even better than they’re imagining. We can’t say for certain what will happen but here are 4 teams we expect to improve significantly compared to last season.

Should be better in ’07-’08:

Charlotte Bobcats



The Cats should be much better this season, but it probably won’t be due to
Morrison’s play. He’s likely to see more time on the bench this season.


When the Cats selected Bandan Wright it immediately looked like Michael Jordan placed his UNC affinity above the good of his team. However, a short time later when news came out that Wright was being traded for Jason Richardson things started to look better. Richardson does come with some question marks. Will Richardson get hurt again? Will he play the way he’s played for most of his career and like he did at the end of last year? Or, will we see the same underwhelming player the Warriors saw for the first 3/4 of last season? Sure, it was a risky trade but it’s a risk Charlotte needed to make.

They’ve amassed some exciting young talent in Okafor, Felton and Wallace who has turned out to be an amazing pickup from their expansion draft. Sean May is still a question mark due to his frequent injuries but he could turn out to be very good as well. The problem facing the cats going into this draft is that all of their core players were 25 and under. They needed a veteran to stabilize the team and step up in crunch time. They found one in Richardson. The result looks to be a very well-balanced team. They have a great true point guard in Ray Felton, a Michael Jordanesque player in Richardson (don’t get pissed off, all we’re saying is their STYLES of play are similar), an incredibly athletic slasher in Wallace and a dominant defensive player and post presence in Okafor. If May can stay healthy and add some low post scoring this could be a very, very good team in a year or two.

Portland Trail Blazers


Brandon Roy should have a much easier time
this season with more help around him.

A lot still has to shake out before we know what the ’07-’08 Blazers team will look like. They currently have about 20 players on their roster and a ton of untested rookies whose performance will be hard to project. However, they do have a few core players who will give them a similarly balanced attack to the Bobcats.

Greg Oden had some trouble in summer league but everyone seems to agree that he will still be a great, great player in the NBA. His limited offensive game as of now shouldn’t hurt the team much because fellow post player LaMarcus Aldridge has shown some great offensive talent in summer league to complement his strong rookie season. Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy is a solid all-around player and traditional two guard. All this team needs to become a perennial powerhouse in the next couple of years is a very solid point guard. Many rumors circulated just prior to the draft that the Blazers were shopping Jarrett Jack hard, which raises questions about the guard that add to his so far inconsistent play. However, Oden, Aldridge and Roy combined with the wealth of young talent on the Portland roster should be enough for them to compete right away while looking for an improvement at the point.

Memphis Grizzlies



Rudy Gay will be one piece in a well-balanced attack for Memphis this season.

There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a Grizz fan, especially compare to what you had to be excited about 3 months ago after you didn’t win Oden or Durant.

It looks like Memphis isn’t letting Pau Gasol go anywhere. They picked up Milicic who as we all know still has a lot to prove. However, Darko only just turned 22. New Memphis coach Mark Iavaroni is looking to run an up-tempo offense that should cater to Darko’s skills. He’ll work the high post while Gasol works the low post. They should form an intimidating big man combo and be hard for smaller teams in the league to stop.

Memphis also has sweet shooting 2 guard Mike Miller in the fold, plus #4 overall pick Mike Conley. Conley is looking strong in summer league and likely will get the starting job as a rookie. Finally, add SF Rudy Gay to the mix, coming off a solid if unspectacular rookie season, and the Grizzlies have a very solid starting lineup. The odd man out would seem to be Kyle Lowry, who is also doing very well in summer league. However, the Grizzlies can dangle Lowry as trade bait in order to pick up a scoring spark off the bench from a team that needs a young point guard (Portland?). The bottom line is Memphis should be better right away and have a lot to look forward to years down the line.

Chicago Bulls – You had to know this was coming


Viktor should see more playing time this season and
the Bulls will be better. We’ll see if Khryapa gets credit
for the improvement or if it happens in spit of him.

While the Bulls were anything but a doormat last season, they look like they’ll be significantly better this year. We’re projecting 55+ wins for Chicago in ’07-’08.

The biggest difference this coming year should be the continued development of Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas. Both Deng and Gordon showed significant progress to their games last season. Both are still very young, especially Deng. Look for Gordon to again average in the 20’s with Deng reaching that level as well. Hinrinch will continue his stellar point guard play and should put up similar numbers to his last two seasons.

Tyrus Thomas has been tearing up the Orlando summer league. He’s shown a hugely improved mid-range jumper he developed in the offseason (see below post for details on Tyrus offseason development). Pair his new found shooting ability with his incredible athleticism and he should be in intimidating offensive and defensive force in the league this year.

The Bulls also should have possibly the best bench in the NBA this year. They’ll feature either Andres Nocioni or Tyrus Thomas depending who starts at the 4. Either one should be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Thabo Sefolosha should build on his very solid rookie season while seeing more minutes this year. Joakim Noah is a perfect bench player at this point in his career. While he won’t bring much scoring he will bring a ton of energy and great defense. Chris Duhon, if he’s still on the team the start of the season, is an incredible point guard for a backup. Viktor Khryapa should see more minutes this year with the departure of several former Bulls power forwards and should display the form that made him a starter a couple of years ago in Portland. Seriously, what other team will feature a bench with 5 players who would be a starter on at least one team in the NBA?

Chicago is still lacking that dominant low post scorer that so many teams covet. However, in addition to their deep bench they will also feature one of the league’s premiere defenses. This D, which will be particularly strong in the key – should make up for their relative lack of consistent low post scoring. Ben Wallace, super-blocker Tyrus Thomas, Jaokim Noah and Andres Nocioni will be one of the better defensive rotations at the 4 & 5 positions in recent memory. Last season Luol Deng took one of his weaknesses, his defense, and made it one of his strengths. His long arms and increased defensive awareness have made his a similar defender to Tayshaun Prince. Hinrich was all-defensive second team and will be that or first team this year. Thabo Sefolosh quickly earned a reputation as a “stopper” for subduing Kobe in the regular season and Dwayne Wade in the playoffs. Finally, Duhon is also a superb defender on smaller guards. The Bulls scoring may be inconsistent at times, but their defense, effort and energy never is.

Barring any unforeseen major changes the Bulls will be one of the top 5 teams in the league this year.

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28
Jun
07

Who should your team draft?

In that we’re currently petrified of drafting Spencer Hawes right now we here at NBullsA are going to explain who the Bulls should pick out of the players who realistically could still be there.  Then, we want you to weigh in on who your team, be it the Bulls or another, should pick and why.

With the ninth pick of the 2007 NBA draft the Chicago Bulls should select Joakim Noah . . .

We’re not the biggest Noah fans around here, but based on players that look likely or at least possible to be available he’s the best fit.  Noah is a hard worker who seems to genuinely care about the game of basketball.  He’s not going to be anything close to the low post presence the Bulls need, but as we’ve said before, nobody is at #9.  Chicago absolutely must add another big man to the team and rotation this coming season whether it’s through the draft, free agency or a trade.  PJ Brown will not be a starter anymore (or at least not play more than 15 minutes a game max) if he does re-sign.  Therefore, the Bulls will start Ben Wallace and maybe Tyrus, maybe Nocioni if he re-ups.  They’ll need bench support.  While Noah will never ever be a leading scorer, he’s perfect for energy, defense and rebounding off the bench.  Down the line if Tyrus Thomas’ offense improves enough to have them both on the floor at the same time Noah could take over Ben Wallace starting job. 

 . . .

Joakim will fit in well with the Bulls.  His work ethic and passion for the game will quickly endear him to Paxson and Skiles.  Billy Donovan seemed like a tough coach (in our limited experience watching him) so Noah may be better prepared for a coach like Skiles than some other prospects would be.  Noah’s decreased scoring this past season in comparison to the season before seems to be more of a sign that he’s a willing role player than they are that he regressed in terms of his skill.  As the other now well-publicized Florida stars continued to emerge Noah was willing to do the dirty work.  Again, that makes him a perfect 6th or perhaps 7th man due to his current lack of offense. 

Finally it is entirely realistic that Joakim could be available to the Bulls at #9.  We’re not going to try and compete with all the mock drafts out there, but we’ll quickly outline some believable 1-8 draft picks that could land Noah in the Bulls laps.  Any Wright listed below is Brandan Wright and any Green is Jeff Green.

#1 – Oden          #1 – Oden         #1 – Oden
#2 – Durant       #2 – Durant     #2 – Durant
#3 – Horford      #3 – Yi             #3 – Conley
#4 – Conley        #4 – Brewer    #4 – Horford
#5 – Brewer       #5 – Green      #5 – Yi
#6 – Yi                #6 – Conley      #6 – Green
#7 – Hawes        #7 – Wright      #7 – Brewer
#8 – Wright       #8 – Hawes       #8 – Thornton
#9 – Noah          #9 – Noah         #9 – Noah

Those are three completely plausible scenarios in which Noah is available to the Bulls at #9.  Of course any team above there could grab him, but this shows that him being available at #9 is very possible.




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