Tag Archives: Jimmy Butler

Don’t Worry, Bulls fans

the return

Don’t worry fans, the fourth DRaT member has returned and is done with his two week drought. I have decided to come back with a Bulls article discussing how they are capable of hanging with or even taking down the almighty Miami Heat. Although my fellow co-worker Steve may completely disagree with me, I’m still going to go ahead and give you my reasons why Chicago is a threat this year in the Eastern Conference.

The following are my four reasons why the Bulls can definitely compete with the reigning NBA champs. (I chose not to make the return of Derrick as one of my reasons because that’s a given, you guys)

Reason Number 1- Matchups

Out of the many teams competing with the Heat this next year, I strongly believe the Bulls can matchup with them the best. This Bulls teams is fully capable of guarding the Miami Big 3, which a lot of other teams across the league aren’t able to do.

Luol Deng has proven that he can hang with LeBron James for much of a game. Even though he may not be able to shut him down (we all know no one can really do that), Deng can definitely make him work hard on the offensive end.

Jimmy Buckets also showed us last playoffs that not only can he guard an aging D-Wade, but he too can even guard LBJ for periods of time. Ultimately, this allows the Bulls to give Deng a rest every once in a while, but we all know Thibs don’t give a shit.

Lastly, our heart and soul Joakim Noah can definitely be asked to guard the escaped dinosaur aka Chris Bosh. Noah is quick enough to hang with the stretch fours and can easily get in Bosh’s head.

Reason Number 2- Very Very Strong Defense

Aside from the key individual matchups I stated above, the one dimension that really separates the Bulls from other squads is their team defense. Jimmy B did a fantastic job at guarding James last year, but if you look closer on some plays a lot of it was really due to the whole team’s timely rotations and well-executed double-teams.

I don’t need to tell you this of course, but Coach Thibs has had this defense on point since he has taken over. As a team, they have ranked in the top five each year and show no signs of slowing down. Thibodeau’s system might be very complicated, but when given the right personnel he can slow down just about any team in the league.

Besides the Pacers, Miami rarely sees a team with such defensive strength. When on point, this Chicago team forces the Heat to take many contested jump shots and makes them more of a half court team. Miami thrives on pushing the ball into transition, so if they are prevented from doing so it makes scoring a lot more difficult for them throughout the course of a game.

Reason Number 3- Team Rebounding

AYYY GIMME DAT!

Our slow and outrageously vocal power forward might not be playing up to his current contract, but he can without a doubt rebound the ball at a high level. Boozer, Noah, and Gibson are extremely active on both the offensive and defensive boards, giving teams constant headaches.

Rebounding happens to be one of the Miami’s big weaknesses! If the Bulls are generating second chance points and are ending teams possessions after one shot, they are an extremely difficult team to beat. When the Heat choose to play small ball, it’s difficult for them to close out possessions and also puts a lot of pressure on their superduperstar, James. The Bulls have a clear advantage in the rebounding department; if they exploit it to the fullest, they’re in a position to win games against the Heat.

Reason Number 4- Improvements of Noah and Jimmy

We all knew last season was going to be a wash without Derrick, but two huge things occurred for the organization: Noah showed he is a top center in this league by earning his spot on the All Star team and Jimmy Butler took a huge step forward in his overall development as a player in the NBA.

Personally, I believe this might be the main reason why the Bulls can finally compete with the Heat. As fans, we all are very aware that Chicago is a great rebounding and defensive team that can compete in just about any game. With the improvement to Jo’s all around game and Jimmy Butler solidifying himself as a starter, the Bulls have made big steps as a team in the East.

Noah can now not only effect games on the defensive end like he has in the past, but he can be a force on the offensive end too. Noah’s superior passing skills enable him to find cutters and shooters from the top of the key, making him a very hard player to defend. If Butler can improve his shot even more this off-season, he too will become a huge threat on the offensive end. Teams will have to focus much of their attention on Rose, allowing Butler to have many open looks.

Chicago may finally have what it takes to bring the Heat down and dethrone them as NBA champs.

 

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Bulls Draft Preview: Luol Deng and the Nature of Trade Rumors

Luol Deng

It’s rumor season in the NBA with the draft on Thursday and teams scrambling to move up or down, trying to figure out what needs will be addressed via a new draft class and what will need to be dealt with in free agency. Around this time of year, dozens of reports will come out saying “Team X is talking about Player Y and their first round pick,” and stories like these get NBA junkies salivating and having flashbacks of some monster deal that swung their fantasy league last winter. Unfortunately, most of these leaked rumors are nothing more than that: hearsay, or strategic lying by a club to gauge league-wide interest in a player.

A prime example of this that does not concern the Bulls directly are the reports filed by Chad Ford yesterday (sorry its Insider) that concern a number of topics, including that the Cavs are trying to trade the #1 pick. Ford sites sources saying that Cleveland is kicking the tires on a potential deal that would send the pick and Cleveland’s other first rounder, #19 to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge. This is unlikely to turn into anything, as it seems as though even the top pick will not replace the void in scoring and talent that would be created with an Aldridge departure, and with Lillard looking like the point guard of the future, it doesn’t make sense for the Blazers to blow things up now. So why would Cleveland bother to stir things up? Because they want other teams to know what type of return they are looking for on the pick. If there is another team that truly covets Noel or Oladipo or whoever is the best player in this draft class, they will feel pressure to step up quickly and execute a deal.

So how does this connect to the Bulls?

Chicago is in an interesting position. For the first time in a long while, the Bulls have some depth at the wing spots. Luol Deng, 28, is a two time allstar and is regarded as one of the best defensive players in the league. Deng has led the league in minutes the last two years and is seen as a key cog in the machine that coach Tom Thibodeau has built in his three seasons in Chicago.

The Bulls also have Jimmy Butler, capable of playing shooting guard or small forward, who seems to have the same defensive tenacity and motor that Deng has. His offensive game has greatly improved after just two years in the league, stretching his range out beyond the arc.

While Deng is in the last year of a contract that will pay him about about $14 million next season, Butler is still playing out his cheep rookie deal which still has two years remaining. It does not take a genius economist to figure out who the Bulls want to keep and who they would like to move for future assets. Deng, although polished and well regarded in the locker room, is likely to command a large pay-day after the 2013-14 season, something the cap-strapped Bulls will struggle to accommodate. For the team, it is best to try and move Deng this offseason, preferably before the draft, while his value as a player – and a big salary that will come off the books right on time for the exciting 2014 free agency period – is at its absolute peak.

On Monday ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the Bulls were in talks with the Washington Wizards about swapping Deng for Omeka Okafor and the third pick in the draft. (if this actually happens, which I don’t think it will, how fucking sick would McLemore look at SG? Everyone knows this dude can shoot the fucking lights out. Only knock on him is he might not be assertive enough. Good thing we’ve got that Rose fella to handle late game situations. Did you just get an erection?) Reports coming back in from Washington indicate that, while preliminary discussions were had, by no means was anything serious ever actually discussed. For Washington, even in this weak year for rookies, the 3rd pick could yield a valuable return with Otto Porter or Victor Oladipo still likely to be on the board, players who could fill the defensive needs that plagued the Wiz last year.

And even though that third pick may be asking a bit much by the Bulls, it sends a message to the rest of the league. Now, everyone knows that Deng is on the market. And at the same time, everyone knows the Bulls aren’t going to give him away for free. They are looking for immediate help, or valuable commodities that will improve the club down the road. A recent report from Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, saying that the Bulls have engaged with Deng and his agent in contract extension talks, is likely a further ploy by the Bulls to pressure teams into making a deal for the former Blue Devil before Thursday’s draft.

The fan in me is obviously saddened by what seems to be an inevitable change. Lu has been a Man’s Man throughout his time in Chicago, battling through injuries, giving 100% effort and improving every year. But this is the nature of the beast, and the long term success of the organization must be the priority of the front office and the fan base, and moving Deng is potentially one of many moves that will bring a title back to the United Center.