Tag Archives: Paul Pierce

Quick Bulls Thought: Preseason Opener

Paul Pierce, Tom Thibodeau, Joakim Noah
(image via Boston.com)

The Bulls were handed a devastating four point loss by the Wizards to end their 12 game preseason winning streak and crushing their preseason title aspirations. Just kidding. Although they did lose. However, it was a really positive opening game for Coach Thibs and co. Let’s break it down

  • Derrick Rose looked great. After last year’s extremely encouraging preseason and subsequently sloppy start to the regular season, I won’t be fooled. Still, this is much much preferred to a Rose who looks visibly rusty. Derrick was 4/7 for 11 points in his 14 minute first half stint. He even knocked down a nice three pointer to quell some of the doubt after his 1/19 performance from behind the line in Spain. Rose and Joakim Noah (coming off offseason knee surgery) both sat out the second half and are questionable for tonight (precautionary reasons).
  • The rookies are here. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic got plenty of minutes in this one, and they made the most of it. McBuckets chipped in eight points on just four shots while Mirotic stole the show in the second half. First he drained two beautiful catch and shoot three pointers. To take thing to another level, Mirotic, a 6’9″ power forward, brought the ball up in transition and drained a three off the dribble. Simply put, it was fucking Dirk-esque.
  • Paul Pierce remains the best. I wanted to actually hate Paul Pierce, but it’s just too fun to enjoy hating him. Pierce clotheslined Jimmy Butler to stop a fast break and was relentlessly running his mouth to Butler during the break. Pierce then poked Joakim Noah in the face when he came over, causing an NBA brawl (no punches thrown). Then, later that night, I’m told from two different sources, Paul Pierce hit up the Horseshoe Casino after the game for some Omaha before finishing at the casino’s bar. I love Paul Pierce.
  • Pau Gasol > Carlos Boozer. Pau wasn’t spectacular, but his line in this game shows the potential he has to offer a lot more than Carlos Boozer. Gasol had eight points, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks in limited minutes. Pau is pretty old, and Thibs could ride him hard. If he can stay healthy, the Bulls will love having the veteran Spaniard.
  • Gibson and Hinrich first off the bench. Shocker here. Thibs brought Taj and Kirk in for Jo and Derrick about midway through the first quarter. While Thibs “nine man rotation” is hardly set in stone at this point, you can expect these two to be the first guys off the bench pretty much all season.
  • Depth is crazy. The Bulls have generally had deep teams under Thibs, partly because he’s so good at turning scrubs into legit defenders and former valet drivers into back-up point guards. This year, however, may be the deepest. With a legit two players at each position, Thibs has an embarrassment of riches. With everyone healthy, Thibodeau has four legit big men. While it may be his preference to work Mirotic in slowly, Thibs will find the minutes for the 23 year old if he shoots like he did last night. Aaron Brooks will push for minutes as well as a legit scoring guard. Tony Snell, who last year was pressed into starting duty several times, barely sniffed the floor. I don’t see much of a future for him in Chicago.
  • The Bulls play the Pistons at 6:30 CT on NBATV tonight. Check it out. Stan Van Gundy is at the helm in Detroit now, so things are looking up. Rose should play, but even if he doesn’t, it’s surprisingly exciting to get a look at the new guys in the fold.

2013-14 NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

(image via brooklynbugle.com)
(image via brooklynbugle.com)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited as hell about the NBA season. After the Finals end, I spend a long time obsessing over hoops, but eventually football starts. For a few weeks, it’s easy to forget about the NBA as we watch juiced out maniacs try to concuss each other every weekend.

Alas, the preseason is now just a couple weeks away and the Bulls open the season in Miami in a little over a month. I’ll be predicting each division’s standings as we approach the opening tip of the 2013-14 season. First up, the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. (Note: I won’t be including predicted records because when the math inevitably adds up wrong I won’t be able to sleep. I’ll just be ranking the teams.)

No new Nets, no new Nets, no no new.
No new Nets, no new Nets, no no new.

1. Brooklyn Nets (Last year: 2nd)- The Nets made the biggest splash this offseason by pulling off the impossible, yet again. After making moves to bring in Joe Johnson’s Contract last year, Russian playboy Mikhail Prokhorov pulled off an incredible trade with Boston to bring in future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Nets gave up nothing of value, and even helped their long-term (key word: long) cap situation by getting rid of Gerald Wallace. They topped that off by signing the extremely useful Andrei Kirilenko for way below market value. Low enough that some were speculating about AK47 and Prokhorov’s ties in Mother Russia. Regardless of whether or not you believe the conspiracy theories, Brooklyn got a lot better and deeper. Anything less than top three finish in the East will be a disappointment, and Pierce and KG are aching for one more ring.

JR3

2. New York Knicks (Last year: 1st)- My fellow DRaT writer Stavi made some waves yesterday with his bold prediction that the Knicks would finish under .500. While I wouldn’t go that far, the Knickerbockers are definitely due to fall off a little from last year. Then, the oldest team in NBA history surprised everyone by winning 54 games. However, the core is another year older and bringing in Andrea Bargnani will only serve to create a logjam among New York’s big men. JR Smith is out for at least a month with a knee injury, and suspended his first five games when he’s able to return. This team still has too much talent to self-destruct completely (unless Carmelo gets hurt for an extended period) but I can’t envision a scenario where they climb back to 54, or even 50 wins.

I would watch a sitcom about Rudy & DeMar.
I would watch a sitcom about Rudy & DeMar.

3. Toronto Raptors (Last year: tied 4th)- This is where the Atlantic Division starts to get poopier. Toronto’s biggest move last year was to bring in Rudy Gay, and it’s a questionable one. However, reigning GM of the Year Masai Ujiri was lured away from Denver over the summer and has already made an impact. Somehow, Toronto pilfered a first round pick from the Knicks for a player they were considering amnesty-ing (Bargnani). Not long after, Detroit offered to take Rudy Gay off Ujiri’s hands but he curiously declined. I thought for sure the Raps would jump at that chance, but Ujiri has earned the right not to be judged on his decisions immediately. Regardless, they’re a very average team with two wings who do the exact same thing in Gay and DeMar DeRozan (four capital letters in one name? Really?). If everything goes right they could sneak into the playoffs, but that would say more about the depth in the Eastern Conference than the talent in Toronto.

MarShon is not looking great.
MarShon is not looking great.

4. Boston Celtics (Last year: 3rd)- Riggin’ for Wiggins baby. Or whatever we’re calling it these days. Since the second KG and Pierce were shipped to Boston for a bunch of nothing, it’s been clear as day the Celtics are tanking away the 2013-14 season. And for good reason: why limp into a first round slaughter from LeBron or D-Rose when the 2014 draft looks so promising? Boston accurately realized what it had to do, and got started but hoarding draft picks from Brooklyn. Seriously, they’ll have two first rounders in three of the next four years, and the opportunity to switch with the Nets in a few years. This team is set up perfectly for an epic rebuild. Furthermore, they hired Butler boy genius coach Brad Stevens, which is just perfect. Stevens can struggle as he learns the NBA strategies because the team doesn’t expect to compete for at least two or three years. I love what they’re doing, even if it’s hard to watch.

I mean...
I mean…

5. Philadelphia 76ers (Last year: tied 4th)- The Sixers are the only team doing a better job tanking than Boston. They got things started by moving Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum, who played zero games last year. New management came in and knew what they had to, shocking the NBA world by moving All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first rounder. Now that’s how you jump-start a rebuild! Now, Philly is set up for a top three pick from itself and a likely low lottery pick from New Orleans in a stacked draft. On top of that, rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will have plenty of opportunity and zero pressure in their first season. Philadelphia is playing the long game, and it’s a beautiful thing.

2013-14 League Pass Legends: The Brooklyn Vets

 

Pierce-Garnett-y-Terry-nets

Brooklyn Nets

After making the much anticipated move into the House that Hova Built, the Nets season played out pretty much like everyone would have predicted. A group of talented, yet ultimately bland guys coasted to the fourth seed in the East, only to get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs despite having the three best players in the series. There was a lot of criticism directed at the Nets last year for perhaps not being the most motivated or intense team in the league.

But this offseason was an exciting one for Brooklyn. No one is going to accuse this team of being gutless this season after the mega trade that brought Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Certified Crazy Person Kevin Garnett to the Nets. They also let go of interim coach PJ Carlesimo, an understandable move after he willingly played 3-on-5 in the playoffs last year as the Bulls completely ignored Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. In his place, the Nets hired the newly retired Jason Kidd to be the team’s head coach.

Why am I excited to watch a lot of Nets games this year? The answer is simple: No team in the league has as many questions surrounding it then Brooklyn. Will they be able to stay healthy? Will Deron Williams and Garnett get along? Will Williams, who is such a stubborn asshole that he forced Jerry Sloan into retirement, get along with a coach who is certain to be hard on his point guard? What kind of a role will Paul Pierce fill on this roster? Do Garnett and Brook Lopez have anything at all in common?

No team has a higher ceiling and lower floor than the Nets. They could finish second in the East, keep Pierce and Garnett fresh for the playoffs by giving extra minutes to Andrei Kirilenko, Andre Blatch and Reggie Evans during the regular season, and become true title contenders when springtime rolls around. But at the same time, this team is really old. They have seven (eight if you count Jerry Stackhouse) players on the roster who are over the age of 30. A couple of injuries, paired with the natural erosion of skills that comes with age, and this team could be a complete mess.

However this Nets season shakes out, I’ll be watching.

Jake Weiner has his eyes on Rip City

Tyler Geocaris can’t wait to see the Pellies

What the F@$# is up with the Celts and Clips? A Textversation

Here at DRaT, we often have group text threads that Stavi doesn’t feel inclined to participate in. What follows is a (slightly edited) transcript of said textversation.

Geo: Rondo + Deandre = bad news. Free throw/shooting is just too poor.

Bicky: Deandre has a terrible contract

Weiner: This clearly benefits Boston. KG is expensive as fuck too and Rivers was leaving. Free picks and they’ll probably unload some bad contracts (terry/lee). If they snag Bledsoe it’s an obvious coup.

Bicky: Don’t think he’s on the table.

Geo: Bledsoe’s a freak but I wouldn’t want him running my squad.

Weiner: Rondo would be the PG. Celts could experiment with Bledsoe’s role or trade him immediately.

Bicky: Listened to a Simmons podcast. He said he thinks the Celts might make a run at JSMOOV

Weiner: LOL RONDO AND JSMOOVE CLANKING JUMPERS

Bicky: ya kinda makes sense why doc wants to get the fuck out.

Geo: I’m gonna miss this Celtics squad. But the Clips will be interesting if the trade goes through.

Weiner: definitely contenders. They could get PP too.

Bicky: CP-(?)-pierce-Blake-KG with a coach who calls plays

Geo: And Crawford!

Weiner: sounds elite to me!

Geo: KG will teach Blake some shit too. That’s a scary team wow.

Bicky: Only thing stopping it is if Clips front office thinks they can get Dwight in a S/T for Blake and Butler or something.

Geo: You guys high on Blake?

Weiner: I think so Geo. Never had a real coach.

Bicky: Kinda weird him and CP don’t get along great though. I know a good coach fixes that, but gotta be a red flag.

Geo: VDN not a real coach? LOL. I like Blake too. Would like to see him work hard for a summer and become more polished. Easier said than done obviously. And I agree Bick. I wonder what the deal is with that. Blake needs to start playing more mad and fuck people up.

Weiner: It’s more of a red flag for CP3. He’s no more of a playoff winner than melo!!

Geo: CALL OUT!