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Guns for Hire: Chicago Bulls off-season needs.

  • Jim Racalto

By Guest Columnist Pat Nicoloff:

First of all, let’s say this. It’s been a helluva year in the Windy City. D-Rose has become a top 10 player in the league,and somehow, they came within sniffing distance of the big dance. Now if they were in the West, they would have lost in the first round, but that’s neither here nor there.
Steps need to be taken in Chicago because this team is not the Thunder. You can’t say, ‘oh, they just need to mature.’ Or,’give this group another year.’ This team has too many flaws.

Number one, they’ve got one guy that can consistently create his own shot. Deng plays well in patches, but he’s more of a glue-guy than a gimmie-the-pill, I’m-a-beast-guy. He’s rock solid, nothing more. If he’s your fourth best player, you maybe in trouble. Sadly, he’s their second best player, in all likelihood. Joakim Noah (I’m not breaking any news here) flat out  can not score unless it’s a put-back. Carlos Boozer goes hot and cold and Keith Bogans may be a nice defender, but he couldn’t score 30 in a dick-around, pick-up game in a suburban neighborhood.

This team needs not one, but several offensive-minded creatures. I don’t care about this ‘heckuva year’ crap. They play in the East. The Suns could have made a deep run in the East. It’s a garbage conference, full of garbage offense with the exception of two or three teams. And it’s not going to remain that way. And once it changes, Chicago better not bring their cute little 85 points every night.

I want buckets. Guys like Noah and Rose will make up for any defensive deficiencies. Look at the Spurs when they kept hoisting the Golden Pumpkin: they had 2 good defenders and a buncha “guys.” Bruce “Handcheck” Bowen covered all the flashy scorers and Tim Duncan boringly contained the big fellas on the block. No one can tell me that Manu Ginobli or Tony Parker’s Euro league flop-and-cry brand of defense did much. Big Shot Bob Horry (view) didn’t even set down his beer on the defensive end.

Here’s the point. Good defenders hide the bad ones. And Chicago has a similar duo. A post defender and a perimeter defender. Now, I don’t want to see them turn into the 90’s Philadelphia 76ers. No more George Lynch jumpers with the game on the line boys. It’s time to bring in some guns.
Good news is that they have tons of cap room to roll with. (Send Otis Smith a thank-you note for blocking the J.J. Reddick offer last year, by the way). Now they just need to avoid signing slobs to terrible deals, so they’re young building blocks aren’t looking to sneak outta town.

Any offense would help and of course, everyone wants that young guy, but that ain’t so easy to do. I like a lot of the names on the “trade market,” such as Rudy Gay, Rudy Fernandez, and Andre Iguodala. And I’m only looking at swing-men/two guards if I’m running things in Chi-town. I think Iggy and Rose would clash stylistically too much, and Iggy wouldn’t add much from the perimeter to space the floor. Gay’s an option if Memphis is interested in Deng, plus another asset, but I don’t see that being realistic. I’d target Rudy Fernandez if I were them. Rudy has never been in a great situation and definitely never been given the chance to stick in a starting lineup long enough to gel. I see him and Rose fitting perfectly in time. He hits three’s and twenty footers and has never walked away from a big shot. He, to me, is a poor man’s Ginobli,while D-Rose is a millionaire’s Tony Parker. Rudy has the swagger and the flash, while D-Rose holds the grit and the drive. Rose’s smooth, even keeled nature would mesh with Rudy’s borderline, arrogant confidence. And I think they would vibe well as compliments.

Unlike the Danny Ferry-like Kyle Korver, Mr. Fernandez can create his own shot and get to the bucket. He hits fall-aways, leaners, and off the dribble dingers. He doesn’t rattle either like Cupcake Korver. Couple bad games doesn’t throw him. He just wants the tick and wants the pumpkin. Chicago can give him that.

I trade Portland a 1st rounder and call that good. From there. I fill out that bench so Korver, Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and the rest of the D-League team never has to pretend to play offense again. Give me some old ring chasers if need be. As long as they’re “fillers”that know they’re there just to rack up round-cuppers. Too many fans forget about the Tim Thomas’ and Jason Terry’s of the NBA world. But when you look up, those kinda guys are under every champagne rainfall.

Add Michael Redd (if he can walk), Jason Richardson even more, or especially J.R. Smith. Just bring some guns to the table next year boys. You can get a pass this year. No one could know how good they’d be and how quick they’d be eyeing the bright lights, but that cute story is over. Now start winning. And every team has their mercenaries that get that done. J.R. Smith and Jason Richardson have more swagger at the bar than Kyle Korver does on the court. Now put them in a spot where they can make it happen, and see how it goes. Some guys wait for these opportunities and some guys run from them. Better put those big shot takers in red real quick fellas.

Oh and Coach “Tibbs,” we get it, but tone down all the gritty stuff in the October this time around. You’re playing for rings now, not respectability.

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Jim Racalto

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