Posts Tagged ‘Kirk Hinrich’

What the Hawks need to do to get their Mojo back

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Before sending Mike Bibby [PG], Maurice Evans [G/F] and Jordan Crawford [G] to the Washington Wizards, prior to the NBA’s deadline, in exchange for Kirk Hinrich [G] and Hilton Armstrong [PF/C], the Atlanta Hawks [40-32/.556] were firmly ensconced in the top half of the Eastern Conference with a Won-Loss Record of 34-23/.596.

Since that deal was made, however, the Hawks have been in a fairly rapid decent [i.e. W-L Rec/6-9/.400], and are now in danger of relinquishing the No. 5 position in the East to the hard-charging Philadelphia 76ers [37-34/.521].

Unlike assorted others in the on-line hoops community, who believe that the Hawks are in total disarray right now …

————————————————————————————————-

The Atlanta Hawks are falling apart

The team is in a freefall mostly because it isn’t shooting as well as it used to. Joe Johnson still has his moments but he isn’t the sort of offensive force to build around, and while newly-added Kirk Hinrich is actually making nearly half of his three-pointers as a Hawk, everyone else seems to be falling short.

Worse? Everyone else seems to be falling into a bit of a funk. On record.

Joe Johnson?

The Hawks have no “sense of pride, a sense of urgency. … We should play for one another, but yet still we don’t.” And that “countless” players-only meetings meant to stir the echoes have “meant nothing.”

Al Horford?

“We just have to be mentally stronger.”

Coach Larry Drew?

His team is “a little fragile right now,” and the Hawks “have got to heal, more so mentally than physically.”

Josh Smith?

“When you don’t help each other, it gets contagious. We just didn’t show any kind of resistance.”

————————————————————————————————-

this corner of the blogosphere can see a clear way out for the Hawks, if they will just remain calm and search for the right answer to their current set of problems, from within the cozy confines of their own roster of players.

If the Hawks go with the following rotation in their next game [Sat Mar 26, vs New Jersey]:

STARTERS
PG, Jeff Teague [i.e. their best play-making PG]
OG, Joe Johnson
SF, Marvin Williams
PF, Josh Smith
C, Al Horford

KEY SUBS
G, Jamal Crawford [i.e. their best "scorer" off the bench]
G, Kirk Hinrich [i.e. their best "defensive Guard" off the bench]
SF, Damien Wilkins
PF, Josh Powell [i.e. their best "mid-range shooting Big" off the bench]
C, Zaza Pachulia [i.e. their best "rebounding/defensive Big" off the bench]

RESERVES
PF/C, Etan Thomas
C, Jason Collins

EXTRAS/OUTS
SF, Pape Sy
PF/C, Hilton Armstrong

and, therefore, use MORE of their avalibale players … as opposed to scaling back the number of players they use in their regular rotation, which is precisely the major mistake that Larry Drew [Head Coach] has made, since the trade for Kirk Hinrich was completed … it should come as no surprise, at all, to see this team register a very badly needed W.

Once the Hawks can right their ship, by getting this W, and establishing a clear rotation, as outlined above, Atlanta should then be able to string together a modest 3-game winning streak:

Sat Mar 26 vs New Jersey, W?
Sun Mar 27 @ Cleveland, W?
Wed Mar 30 vs Orlando, W?

before taking on the Boston Celtics, at home, on April Fool’s Day.

Although the Hawks have only played at a .400 clip since the trade deadline, it should be noted that:

3-0, vs. sub-.500 [at the time of the game]

Fri Feb 25, @ GSW, W
Tue Mar 15, vs MIL, W
Sun Mar 20, vs DET, W

3-9, vs. plus-.500 [at the time of the game]

Sun Feb 27, @ POR, W
Mon Feb 28, @ DEN, L
Wed Mar 02, vs CHI, W
Fri Mar 04, vs OKC, L
Sun Mar 06, vs NYK, L
Tue Feb 08, vs LAL, L
Fri Mar 11, @ CHI, L
Sat Mar 12, vs POR, W
Wed Mar 16, vs DEN, L
Fri Mar 18, vs MIA, L
Tue Mar 22, vs CHI, L
Wed Mar 23, @ PHI, L

i. They have played an extremely difficult schedule of games;

and,

ii. Each one of their losses has been to a team in the top half of the league standings … with a great deal at stake, at the time of the game;

while,

iii. Atlanta has basically been in cruise-control since the end of January:

Hawks W-L Record, Month-By-Month

October, 3-0
November, 8-7
December, 10-7
January, 9-4
February [before the trade deadline], 4-5

secure in the knowledge that their team is probably not good enough to move into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference AND not bad enough to fall completely out of playoff contention.

As long as Larry Drew can keep his wits about him for the rest of the regular season schedule … and settle on the rotation suggested here … the Hawks should be able to regain their footing and re-establish themselves as the 5th best team in the East this season.

Credit where credit is due, in Chicago

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Despite what some might have you think …

———————————————

Rose leading charge for Bulls

Derrick Rose may not make the All-Star team, especially since the votes were all in before the Bulls’ win Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, but he’s finally emerging as a star. His impressive performance on the road against the Thunder — 13-of-23 from the floor (56.5 percent), seven assists, just two turnovers — was the latest in a series of virtuoso efforts.

It seems that the only thing that was holding him back the first month and a half of the season was the ankle injury he suffered in training camp. Check out his monthly splits:

  • November: 16.2 points, 5. 3 assists, 46.4 percent shooting
  • December: 20.4 points, 6.1 assists, 45.0 percent shooting
  • January: 23.5 points, 6.5 assists, 51.4 percent shooting

Thanks to Rose, the Bulls are 12-5 in their past 17 games, including 10 road games. Out of the blue, Chicago stands in complete control of the No. 8 seed in the East and in position to surge as high as No. 5 by the end of the season.

———————————————

the recently improved performance of the Bulls has not been rooted, soley, in the increased scoring production of their 2nd-yr PG, considering:

I. The shift of Kirk Hinrich into the Starting OG position;

II. The shift of John Salmons into the Sixth Man Role [i.e. coming off the bench];

III. The return of Tyrus Thomas, from the injured list …

Tyrus Thomas
Regular Season  - Game Log

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

Oppo

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

Off

Def

Tot

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

@ OKC

W 96-86

0

18:32

 

6

8

75.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

1

100.0

 

3

2

5

 

1

5

1

2

3

13

@ SAS

W 98-93

0

21:33

 

1

4

25.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

5

7

 

0

1

1

2

0

2

@ HOU

W 104-97

0

23:35

 

3

5

60.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

4

4

 

1

2

0

6

4

7

@ PHO

W 115-104

0

20:56

 

1

7

14.3

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

7

7

 

2

0

1

2

0

3

@ LAC

L 97-104

0

36:19

 

8

11

72.7

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

4

50.0

 

0

6

6

 

1

1

2

3

6

18

@ GSW

L 97-114

0

19:48

 

2

7

28.6

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

8

9

 

0

1

0

1

6

4

WAS

W 121-119

0

27:33

 

1

1

100.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

2

100.0

 

2

2

4

 

0

0

0

2

3

4

@ BOS

W 96-83

0

17:15

 

2

8

25.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

4

25.0

 

6

1

7

 

1

1

4

0

3

5

DET

W 120-87

0

26:09

 

3

6

50.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

1

100.0

 

2

4

6

 

1

0

6

2

1

7

MIN

W 110-96

0

21:42

 

3

7

42.9

 

0

0

N/A

 

3

4

75.0

 

0

5

5

 

0

6

2

3

5

9

@ MIL

L 93-96

0

29:19

 

1

4

25.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

5

5

 

2

1

1

1

2

4

@ CHA

L 108-113

0

22:48

 

2

5

40.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

6

33.3

 

1

4

5

 

3

1

1

2

2

6

OKC

L 85-98

0

20:37

 

3

12

25.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

1

100.0

 

3

3

6

 

2

3

0

1

2

7

ORL

W 101-93

0

14:59

 

3

7

42.9

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

4

5

 

1

2

1

0

4

6

Oppo

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

Off

Def

Tot

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

@ DET

W 98-87

0

27:31

 

4

6

66.7

 

0

0

N/A

 

11

14

78.6

 

4

3

7

 

2

3

2

1

1

19

IND

W 104-95

0

31:08

 

2

10

20.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

4

4

100.0

 

2

13

15

 

3

5

1

3

1

8

NOR

W 96-85

0

32:15

 

10

17

58.8

 

0

1

0.0

 

1

3

33.3

 

0

9

9

 

2

3

1

2

2

21

each of which coincided with the Bulls’ game against New Orleans [Dec 26];

and,

IV. The continued solid play of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Brad Miller, since the start of the season.

The truth of the matter is that during this specific stretch of games played, the Bulls’ head coach … the once-beleaguerd Vinnie Del Negro … not Derrick Rose [PG], has actually been the person most responsible for Chicago’s improved W-L record.

What the Bulls can do to weather the storm

Monday, December 14th, 2009

In an effort to build further on a specific request which was made of yours truly this past weekend …

This is the recap which Kelly Dwyer [BDL] posted concerning Saturday’s Chicago Bulls/Boston Celtics game:

Behind the Box Score, where the C’s outclassed the Bulls

This is the specific comment [#9] which yours truly then contributed:

KD,

PART ONE

When I was an active contributor to the Blog-a-Bull comment section 2 seasons ago, I did my best to inform the regulars there that Chicago’s problems at that time were NOT rooted in the poor [shot-happy] play of one Ben Gordon and that, instead, what the Bulls needed to do was:

1. Use Ben Gordon as their Starting Point Guard;

2. Use Thabo Sefolosha as their Starting Off Guard;

3. Use Luol Deng as their Starting Small Forward;

4. Use Tyrus Thomas as their Starting Power Forward;

5. Use Joakim Noah as their Starting Center; and,

6. Trade Kirk Hinrich, in return for either: A. The Scoring Player they needed to bring off their bench; or, B. An Interior Scoring Center.

Unfortunately …

7. Most Bulls fans were under the delusional impression that Captain Kirk was a better NBA player than Gentle Ben;

8. Ben Gordon was incapable of succeeding as a Prime-time PG, in the NBA, and was the player who Chicago needed to trade, in order to improve their prospects for the future.

If the Bulls would have done what I suggested and then Derrick Rose fell into their lap in the 2008 NBA Draft, they would not be where they are today.

—————————–

PART TWO

How to fix the Bulls’ problems right now?

1. Cut Lindsey Hunter

2. Sign Von Wafer.

3. Scale back Derrick Rose’s MPG to 32.

4. Increase Pargo’s MPG to 16, as the Primary Back-up PG.

5. Sign a post-up Guard-Forward like, Bonzi Wells.

6. Use Aaron Gray as their Starting Center [until Tyrus is healthy].

7. Use Joakim Noah as their Starting Power Forward [until Tyrus is healthy].

8. Use the following rotation:

STARTERS
Rose + Wafer + Deng + Noah + Gray

KEY SUBS
Pargo + Hinrich + Salmons + Gibson + Miller

RESERVES
Wells + Johnson

That 12 man team, right there, would be good enough to make the playoffs in the EC this season.

Cheers

——————————————–

Then, this is the follow-up comment [#13] submitted by Keith Singer:

Hi Khandor,

You’ve done an excellent job of analyzing the Bull’s problems and made intelligent suggestions. Here are a few thoughts for you. Please respond on the forum or via e-mail, your choice (ksinger@kasesq.com).

1. Ben Gordon- Bulls management may have undervalued the contributions of Ben Gordon or they may have recognized his talents but decided that the asking price was too high. They probably felt that Gordon was too small to guard some 2’s and his defense was sub-par. They obviously thought that Salmons would step in and continue his production of last year. Personally, I felt Salmons would drop off closer to his career numbers. His defense was expected to be better than Gordon’s but that D has been disappointing. They probably felt that the cap space saved would be better spent on a free agent in 2010 than on Gordon. We won’t be able to assess the wisdom of their choice until the summer.

2. Derrick Rose- I think they expected a big season from Rose; they couldn’t have known that he would experience an ankle injury. Part of the failure of the current team is the sub-par year that Rose has experienced, thus far.

3. Tyrus Thomas- They couldn’t have anticipated the injury to Tyrus Thomas. I think they believed that Thomas would have been the starting PF all year. Yes, Taj Gibson is a rookie and looked good but Bulls Management expected a career year from Thomas. When Noah is out of position trying to block a shot or overmatched in girth, Thomas could double team or grab a rebound for which Noah would be out of position.

4. Aaron Gray- I think your point about Gray is interesting. I am not sure if Gray is as good as you think. Although I agree with you that he is on the roster and large enough to keep the larger centers out of the lane. We have not seen him play enough but giving him a chance is not a bad idea. Look at the Dallas Mavericks, they are utilizing a platoon system with Dampier and Drew Gooden. That could work with Noah and Gray as well.

5. Kirk Hinrich- I agree that Kirk Hinrich is overrated. He has had a sub-par season thus far. He was touted for his shooting and defense; both aspects of his game have been missing. The Bulls did sign a back up in Pargo, however he is a scorer more than a pass first point guard.

6. Von Wafer- It is tantalizing to think about his potential and how he could help the Bulls or any other team for that matter. However, you must remember the problems that Rick Adelman had with him. Adelman has proven that he is a fantastic coach but could not get Wafer to listen and learn his system. Other point guards are available like Brevin Knight who was a pass first point guard. I don’t know about his conditioning and ability to play today.

7. Bonzi Wells- An inside scorer would help the Bulls but Bonzi Wells caused trouble wherever he went. They would be better served looking for a post up player in 2010 free agency.

I think you make some good points and the Bulls certainly have their work to do the rest of the year and over the summer to improve. They are definitely not playing at the same level as the Celtics; but remember the Celtics are an older team. They Bulls should be building a younger team that will compete for a championship in future when the Celtics are rebuilding. Regarding the article by Kelly Dwyer, I couldn’t agree more. Luol Deng played well while the rest of the team was not as talented and not as well prepared as the Celtics. The Bulls do have their work to do but they do have cap money to spend in 2010.

Best regards,

Keith Singer, Esq.

——————————————–

Hopefully, Keith [and KD] won’t mind too much if we shift the discussion over to this location … i.e. to allow it room to grow in a place where it will be easier to moderate and ensure that other interested parties can have direct access to it without first having to sort through a series of unrelated comments.

Keith,

The answers to your specific questions are as follows:

1. Chicago’s management … and a great many of the Bulls fans … have been wrong about the specific skill-set which Ben Gordon brings to the table in the NBA game.

Yes, Ben Gordon is a shorter Off Guard, when it comes to checking some of the taller #2/3′s in the NBA.

However …

I. Ben Gordon is not considered a shorter player when he’s used defensively to check the Point Guard position. If he’s allowed to use his height/size to advantage … i.e. by gapping … and not required by his coach to apply “turn-the-screws” defensive pressure at all times, Ben Gordon is a capable defender at the PG position.

II. If/when Ben Gordon plays beside Derrick Rose, they become almost inter-changeable, at the PG and OG positions, minimizing any height advantage an opponent’s taller OG might have … due to the fact that the opponent’s guard tandem would then have to:

i. Cope with the Bulls’ ad hoc ”Switchability”, on defense, while still maintaining a physically solid player [Gordon/6-3, 200; Rose/6-3, 190] against their scoring/shooting guard [e.g. Ray Allen/6-5, 205; or, Kobe Bryant/6-6, 205]; and,

ii. Cope with the Bulls’ ad hoc “ability to generate high percentage shots which stem from dribble penetration” by either Rose or Gordon, for both [A] themselves and/or [B] their less dynamic teammates.

iii. Cope with the Bull’s ensuing height/size advantage at the Point Guard position, while attempting to Rebound and Defend against Rose and Gordon.

On Offense, Gordon’s specific skill-set [i.e. his ability to create his own shot and stretch the defense with long range 3's] is a terrific pairing with Rose’s ability to dribble penetrate.

III. On offense, when Derrick Rose is out of the game …

If Ben Gordon is used at the PG position, what’s required is:

* 1st, to get the ball out of his hands

[e.g. with a simple pass to either wing]

* 2nd, to get the ball back into his hands, in a scoring position, from a designated action which also allows his teammates to touch the ball

[e.g. with a simple UCLA cut/back screen to the block; and a straight-forward "Single-Double" action, Ben Gordon becomes a devastating scoring Combo Guard, in the mode of Vinny "The Microwave" Johnson.]

Used in this fashion, Ben Gordon is a High Level NBA player … who is worth every penny of a large, long term contract.

Chicago made a BIG MISTAKE in letting him go this past summer.

[Please Note: While there's a great deal to like about the specific skill-set which John Salmons has, as a Big Guard, when the starting SF on your team is Luol Deng ... who specializes in the mid-range game, as well, without really being able to stretch the D with the 3, or slash to the hoop in a first-class way ... then, it is simply not a good fit using him for major minutes beside a PG like Derrick Rose, who struggles with his perimeter jump-shot and a Center like Joakim Noah, who is not a high precentage back-to-the-basket scorer, or an efficient mid-range jump-shooter.]

2. Yes, Derrick Rose’s ankle injury has significantly reduced his overall effectiveness, so far this season … but, primarily it’s because Chicago has not yet replaced Ben Gordon’s ability to stretch the defense with long range 3′s and create open shots for himself and/or his teammates. If Rose still had this type of player beside him in the line-up for major minutes, his limited agility/mobility/explosiveness/etc. would not be such a detriment to the Bulls.

3. Yes, losing an athletic, energetic and exuberant Power Forward like Tyrus Thomas, for a major stretch of games, has been a huge factor in the Bulls’ poor play this season. In partnership with terrific overall athletes like Rose, Gordon and Noah [i.e shot-blocker #1A], last season Thomas [i.e. shot-blocker #1] gave Chicago 4 starting players who were each capable of Rebounding and Defending multiple positions on the floor during any given possession … which is a major advantage for a team.

4. It’s a total fallacy that a player needs to have a high degree of “NBA talent” in order to play effectively at the Center position. What matters most is:

- Does a player have the speed and quickness and stamina required to run the floor consistently in transition?

- Does a player have a solid frame with adequate size [i.e. some combination of girth, strength and length]?

- Does a player have a solid aptitude for the game [i.e. the ability to read the game and play with/off his teammates]?

- Does a player have solid eam attitude [i.e. unselfishness]?

- Does a player have a specific type of shot which he can make on a consistent basis [i.e. Catch & Shoot mid-range jump-shot; Drop-step power lay-up; Turn-around jump-shot; etc.]

- Does a player have the ability to pass the ball with his back to the basket? 

If the answers to these questions are, “Yes”, then the player can succeed playing the Center position in the NBA. 

The two simple equations look like this:

OPTION #1. The less “NBA athletic” talent a player has at the C position the more “NBA athletic” talent his 4 teammates must be.

OPTION #2. The more “NBA athletic” talent a player has at the C position the less “NBA athletic” talent his 4 teammates can be.

Aaron Gray [C, 7-0, 270] is plenty “good enough” to be used for spot minutes in the NBA.

5. Kirk Hinrich simply hasn’t been the same player since he lost his spot with the USA National Team.

IMO, no other player who participated with the USA national teams that failed to win Gold Medals at the 2002 and 2006 World Championships, and the 2004 Olympic Games, has been [psycho-emotionally] “damaged” more by those specific losses … and the impression which they created across the NBA … than Captain Kirk. It’s a real shame, too, as prior to his experience with that team … where his confidence was shot … he was on track to have an outstanding pro career, as a highly versatile Combo Guard, who could do a little bit of everything fairly well without excelling at any specific aspect of the game.

6. Von Wafer can be a difficult player to handle … but, only if your roster is filled with other players who are just as good or better than he is, as an explosive scorer at the wing position. This is not the situation with the Bulls current line-up.

7. Bonzi Wells … signed to a 1-yr, NBA veteran’s minimum contract … would not be a difficult player for the Bulls’ to incorporate at this time. When he knows his role, and is actually used in that role, exclusively, he becomes a very valuable post-up scorer for a team like Chicago, without a high percentage post-up player on its current roster. To get the Bulls to next season, without being totally embarrassed this year, he becomes a decent, inexpensive add that effectively addresses a specific short term need.

Thanks for your feedback! :-)

Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Game 8

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

re: How an astute NBA observer might expect the first part of the schedule to unfold for the Raptors this year

Game 8– vs Chicago [Wed Nov 11]

 

RAPTORS

ADV

BULLS

PG

Calderon

à

PG

Rose

OG

DeRozan *

à

OG

Hinrich

SF

Turkoglu $^

=

SF

Deng

PF

Bosh

ß

PF

Thomas

C

Bargnani

=

C

Noah 

 

 

 

PG

Jack #

ß

PG

Pargo $

OG

Belinelli ^

=

OG

Salmons

SF

Wright ^

=

SF

Johnson *

PF

Evans ^

ß

PF

Gibson *

C

Nesterovic $

=

C

Miller

 

 

 

G/F

Douby

=

G

Hunter

PF

Johnson ^

=

C

Gray

 

 

 

HC

Triano

à

HC

Del Negro

 

 

 

+3

OUTCOME

+3

Legend: ADV – Individual match-up advantage; * - 2009 NBA Draftee; ^ - Acquired via trade; # – Restricted free agent; #M – Restricted free agent, matched offer; $ – Unrestricted free agent; $R – Unrestricted free agent, re-signed; $^ – Acquired via Sign & Trade; Italics – Returning player.

The Bulls will be a significantly bigger team than they were for much of last season, substituting Luol Deng at the #3/SF position in place of John Salmons, shifting Salmons to the #2/OG position in place of Ben Gordon, and then introducing 2 athletic 1st Round Draft Picks … each with good size at their position … into their rotation at the back-up #3/SF-#4/PF and #4/PF positions, i.e. James Johnson [No. 16, overall] and Taj Gibson [No. 26, overall], respectively. Last year’s arrival of Derrick Rose [PG, 2008 No. 1, overall, Draft Pick], in conjunction with Joakim Noah [C, 2007 No. 9, overall Draft Pick] and Tyrus Thomas [PF, 2006 No. 4, overall Draft Pick], means that Chicago now has a collection of talented young players that can rival the other up-and-coming teams across the NBA. Given the invaluable experience the Bulls gained from their epic 1st Round playoff loss to the Celtics, this team is going to be a dangerous squad this year … but, one which is still going to suffer periods of inconsistency considering the youth on the roster. Playing their 3rd game in 5 days and the 2nd half of a back-2-back, Chicago should be in a vulnerable position for this game … with the Raptors in desperate need of a home-court victory to get back on the right track after their disappointing road trip. 

Raptors expected W-L Record: W, 3-5

ROI … Surprises comes in different forms, in the NBA

Monday, July 6th, 2009

* Tyler Hansbrough makes his summer league debut. Those who think that Larry Bird made a mistake with the No. 13 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft are going to be in for a surprise this season.

* Colangelo works fast and hard to get Turkoglu. Hedo is many things but a player who “creates” shots working off the dribble he is not. Expect THAT from him, without the benefit of a pick and you’ll be in for disappointment Raptors fans.

* What’s next? As the old adage goes: “Some of the best deals a team ever makes are the ones it doesn’t make, in the first place.” Solace for Blazers fans in the aftermath of winning losing the Hedo Turkoglu Sweepstakes.

* Buyer Beware! Things are not always as they first appear to be, when it comes to advantageous signings during the NBA’s free agency period.  

* Nick Collison says Thunder is ready for the next step. Sleep on Oklahoma City this coming season at your own peril.

Game 82 for the Raptors, plus the Kapono Effect

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 109, BULLS 98
Complete Game Info

———-

Earlier this season, Scott G., an astute NBA observer with a backgound in the game as a former university player, asked if this corner might be able to unearth some more information about what was casually referred to here as The Jason Kapono Effect on this year’s Toronto Raptors.

Although some might find it hard to believe, yours truly is a rather busy camper these days and doesn’t have nearly as much time available to devote to an in-depth statistical analysis of all-things Raptors, especially, in a season like this one … which has seen the team plummet to 13th place in the EC Standings.

Still, whenever possible, it’s a pleasure to provide a brief glimpse of something specific like this for a first-class individual like Scott G., if the opportunity presents itself, admittedly, in a limited way.

Such was the occasion last night, for the Raptors’ final game of the 2008-2009 season, versus the Chicago Bulls [7th place in the EC].

This is how the game played out for the Raptors:

 

TORONTO RAPTORS’ SHIFT TRACKER

Wed Apr 15 2009 at Chicago Bulls

 

#

Time

1

2

3

4

5

Diff

1st Quarter

1

08:42

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

O’Bryant

+13

2

01:30

Calderon

Parker

Marion

MBonsu

Bosh

0

3

01:09

Ukic

Parker

Marion

MBonsu

Bosh

+1

4

00:39

Ukic

Parker

Marion

MBonsu

O’Bryant

0

2nd Quarter

5

01:46

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

MBonsu

O’Bryant

-2

6

02:59

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

Bosh

O’Bryant

+4

7

00:54

Calderon

Kapono

Graham

Marion

Bosh

-5

8

01:57

Calderon

Parker

Kapono

Marion

Bosh

-7

9

03:37

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

O’Bryant

+3

10

00:25

Calderon

Parker

Graham

Marion

Bosh

+4

11

00:22

Calderon

Ukic

Graham

Marion

Bosh

0

3rd Quarter

12

06:21

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

O’Bryant

+1

13

02:13

Calderon

Parker

Marion

Bosh

Voskuhl

0

14

01:39

Ukic

Parker

Marion

Bosh

Voskuhl

+2

15

00:47

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

Bosh

Voskuhl

0

4th Quarter

16

03:04

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

Marion

O’Bryant

+1

17

03:30

Calderon

Kapono

Graham

Marion

Bosh

-5

18

05:05

Calderon

Parker

Kapono

Marion

Bosh

+1

19

00:21

Calderon

Parker

Kapono

Graham

O’Bryant

-1

 

LEGEND:

Bold – Player subbed into game; Italics – Player shifted to different position.

 

and this is how things looked from a “Best Raptors” and “Best Bulls” on the floor perspective, according to the rudimentary k-PER [i.e. khandor's Player Efficiency Rating] which was explained here last week:

Bulls  98

Raptors  109

 

Player

MIN

kPER

D-Rose

43

+28

J-Noah

31

+21

B-Miller

30

+20

Ty-Thomas

30

+17

B-Gordon

36

+9

L-Johnson

4

+2

Ti-Thomas

19

+2

J-Salmons

29

-3

K-Hinrich

17

-6

A-Gray

DNP

L-Hunter

DNP

A-Roberson

DNP

L-Deng

DNP

J-James

DNP

D-Nelson

DNP

TOTAL

 

90

 

Player

MIN

kPER

S-Marion

42

+43

J-Calderon

36

+23

C-Bosh

42

+20

A-Parker

35

+10

P-O’Bryant

27

+8

J-Kapono

20

+7

R-Ukic

12

+4

J-Voskuhl

6

+3

J-Graham

14

+1

P-MBonsu

5

-5

Q-Doubyl

DNP

M-Banks

DNP

N-Jawai

DNP

K-Humphries

DNP

A-Bargnani

DNP

TOTAL

 

114

 

If you examine these two indexes thoroughly what you should be able to see for yourself are the following facts:

The Raptors played without Andrea Bargnani last night.

The Raptors finished +23 when Chris Bosh played Power Forward [20:42].
The Raptaors finished -11 when Chris Bosh played Center [14:52].
The Raptors finished -1 when Chris Bosh was on the bench [05:50].

When Chris Bosh played Center AND Jason Kapono was on the floor … for 11:26 … the Raptors finished -16.

When Chris Bosh played Center AND Jason Kapono was NOT on the floor … for 03:26 … the Raptors finished +5.

———-

Preliminary Conclusions

When the Raptors play without Andrea Bargnani in their line-up AND play Chris Bosh at Center AND do NOT have Jason Kapono on the floor in a 5-Man Unit with CB4 they may be a solid team in the EC that is capable of competing effectively with squads like the Chicago Bulls.

Pointing Toward The Future

Some other enterprising young person should take the time to study initial data like this and then track the “cumulative negative effect” it has on a NBA team when a non-rebounder/defender who is also an infrequent shooter and does not get to the Free Throw very much at all … like Jason Kapono … is on the court for as much as 20 minutes per game, beside a finesse Center like Chris Bosh and finesse Point Guards like Jose Calderon and/or Roko Ukic and/or Anthony parker.

What they might find is that this type of comparative analysis actually yields a statistically significant finding … with the benefit of a representative sample size … which indicates that the Raptors are simply WASTING THEIR AVAILABLE RESOURCES by employing a player like Jason Kapono in this way.

From the perspective of this corner … although these old eyes could always be mistaken about this … a formal research study of that particular type doesn’t appear to be necessary. ;-)

What the Bulls’ rotation should be, if healthy

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

The following is an excerpt of something which Kelly Dwyer wrote today, pertaining to the recent goings-on with the Bulls’ starting line-up:

Behind the box score, where the Bulls are mixed up
Give the Bulls coaching staff credit. Starting Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, [Tyrus] Thomas and [Joakim] Noah means that the Bulls are starting their five best players, at appropriate positions. For those who have been complaining about this for years, it is a wonderful thing to behold.

… which promptly set the wheels in motion in this corner, thinking about whether or not this statement is, in fact, accurate.

———-

Q1. Are Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah the Bulls’ five best players, at the respective positions they should be playing in the Starting Unit for Chicago?

A1. No, they are not.

———-

How come?

At the moment, Chicago is 18-25/.419, 4th in the Central Division and 10th, in the EC, overall.

Derrick Rose [6-3, 190] is, by far, the best PG on the Bulls’ roster. He SHOULD BE starting games for this team.

Ben Gordon [6-3, 200] is NOT the best OG on the Bulls’ roster, although he is a solid Combination Guard. He should NOT BE starting games for this team.

Luol Deng [6-9, 220] is NOT the best SF on the Bulls’ roster, although he is a solid mid-range jump shooter. He should NOT BE starting games for this team.

Tyrus Thomas [6-9, 215] is NOT the best PF on the Bulls’ roster, although he is exceptionally athletic. He should NOT BE starting games for this team.

Joakim Noah [6-11, 232] is the best C on the Bulls’ roster. HE SHOULD BE starting games for this team.

Only 2 of these players are the best Bulls at each of their respective positions, and who SHOULD BE starting games for this team.

In contrast to these perceptions of Gordon, Deng and Thomas …

Who are the Bulls’ best OG, SF and PF right now that SHOULD BE starting games for Chicago?

OG - Larry Hughes [6-5, 184] … by far their best Scorer/Defender with good Size
SF - Thabo Sefolosha [6-7, 215] … by far their best Defender & Rebounder with good Size
PF – Drew Gooden [6-10, 242] … by far their best Glue Guy with good Size.

What specific roles should Gordon, Deng and Thomas be playing instead for the Bulls right now?

Gordon SHOULD BE coming in off the bench, as a Score-first replacement for either Rose or Sefolosha, with the 2nd Unit.

Deng SHOULD BE coming in off the bench, as a Score-first replacement for Hughes, with the 2nd Unit.

Thomas SHOULD BE coming in off the bench, as an athletic Defender/Rebounder/High Energy replacement for Gooden, with the 2nd Unit … as should Aaron Gray [7-0, 270], a Low Post Presence replacement for Joakim Noah.

This would then give Chicago the following 9-Man Rotation:

STARTERS – Rose/PG + Sefolosha/Wing + Hughes/Wing + Gooden/Big + Noah/Big

KEY BENCH SUBS - Gordon/G + Deng/F + Thomas/Big + Gray/Big

RESERVES – Lindsey Hunter [PG, 6-2, 195], Kirk Hinrich [PG/OG, 6-3, 190] & Andres Nocioni [SF/PF, 6-7, 225]

EXTRAS – Cedric Simmons [6-9, 235] & Michael Ruffin [6-8, 248]

… which would do a better job of balancing out the individual strengths and weaknesses of the players on their overall roster [i.e. in terms of Rebounding, Defense and Shared Team Offense] and provide order for a squad that would then be good enough to qualify for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season.

Raucous 10-man gang in Chicago

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Q1. Who are now the key players for Da Bulls? 

A1. Ben Gordon (PG), Thabo Sefolosha (OG), Nocioni (SF), Gooden (PF), Joakim Noah (C), Larry Hughes (G/F), Luol Deng (F), Tyrus Thomas (PF/C), Gray (C) and either Duhon (PG) or Hinrich (PG). 

If you take a closer, detailed look at this

from the 05:39 mark of the 1st Quarter, when Ben Gordon (playing at the PG spot) subs in for Kirk Hinrich (CHI 10, Uta 14) … to the 10:11 mark of the 2nd Quarter, when Hinrich subs back in for Thabo Sefolosha (CHI 31, Uta 23) …

you can see quite clearly

what the future holds

for this collection of

Bulls …

with ‘the right’ coach in place.

Running of Da Bulls

The ‘game ball’ is now firmly in the hands of John Paxson/GM.

If … he makes the right choice, re: the next head coach in Chicago … LOOK OUT! … Da Bulls will be back in business, in a major way, as ‘PrimeTime Contendas’ in the East for the next decade. 

Da Bulls’ problem is no more

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

If ‘Da Bulls’ decide to play ‘up-tempo’ basketball, ’4 out/1 in’ style … Run, Run, Run … Is there (now) another team in the league with more depth, athleticism, ‘scoring’, and rebounding – at each of the 5 spots on the floor – than this ‘Group of 15′ for Chicago?

2007-08 Roster 
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB   FROM YRS
6 Shannon Brown  G  6-4 211 11/29/1985   Michigan State 1
20 JamesOn Curry  G  6-3 190 01/07/1986   Oklahoma State R
9 Luol Deng – C  F  6-9 220 04/16/1985   Duke 3
21 Chris Duhon  G  6-1 185 08/31/1982   Duke 3
90 Drew Gooden  F  6-10 250 09/24/1981   Kansas 5
7 Ben Gordon  G  6-3 200 04/04/1983   Connecticut 3
34 Aaron Gray  C  7-0 270 12/07/1984   Pittsburgh R
12 Kirk Hinrich – C  G  6-3 190 01/02/1981   Kansas 4
32 Larry Hughes  G  6-5 185 01/23/1979   St. Louis 9
35 Demetris Nichols  F  6-8 216 09/04/1984   Syracuse R
13 Joakim Noah  F  6-11 232 02/25/1985   Florida R
5 Andres Nocioni  F  6-7 225 11/30/1979   Argentina 3
2 Thabo Sefolosha  G  6-7 215 05/02/1984   Switzerland 1
15 Cedric Simmons  F  6-9 235 01/03/1986   North Carolina State 1
24 Tyrus Thomas  F  6-8 215 08/17/1986   Louisiana State 1

Maybe … only 1.

The problem with Da Bulls … is no more!

Despite their disasterous start this season – and keyed by the trades from yesterday - the Chicago Bulls are now poised to (once again) make the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Kudos to their GM, John MacBeth Paxson.