We are quickly approaching the halfway point of the NBA season and what do we as Bulls fans have to show for it?
A lackluster team that cannot finish out games? A group of selfish players that seem to be playing for the money, not the love of the game? We have four categories of players on this team: Selfish and egotistical players, Unpolished and disrespectful players, players that are underperforming, and a ROY candidate.
The selfish and egotistical players, aka Larry Hughes and Ben Gordon, seem to have forgotten why they put a basketball jersey on in the first place. I’m sure if you went to any rec center and asked the players if they would sign a five-year, $50 million contract to play for the Bulls, they would do it in a heartbeat.
Yet Ben Gordon rejected the Bulls' offer of 5-50 because he wanted more. HE WANTED TO BE THE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER ON THE BULLS! That means he was looking for at least $12 million a year since Hughes is getting nearly 11.9 million a year. These players are pouting on the sidelines and demanding money that they don’t deserve.
The unpolished and disrespectful players, aka Noah and Thomas, show up sporadically. Thomas has a big game one night, then disappears for the next five.
Noah picks fights with Del Negro and his teammates and then goes out and turns the ball over three or four times. Not to mention Noah's lack of rebounding on both ends of the court. These players need to shut up until they can come out every night and contribute towards a win.
The underperforming players, your Luol Deng and Nocioni types, have been doing just that, underperforming. Luol seems to be content now that he has signed a five-year deal and doesn’t need to prove himself as the All-Star small forward the Bulls paid him to be. Nocioni does not deserve to be in the underperforming category, but with Del Negro playing him so randomly, he cannot play up to his potential.
The lone bright spot so far is Rose. He is the favorite to win ROY and will mature into an All-Star soon. I exclude Captain Kirk from any of these categories because of his injury and how well he has played since he has been back.
So here at the halfway point of the season, I rank each position on how they have preformed so far:
Centers: D Noah and Thomas need to show up every night.
Power Forwards: B Gooden is a great player for the Bulls and needs to be re-signed at seasons end.
Small Forwards: C Deng and Noch have potential, but are underperforming.
Shooting Guards: C- I want to give them a D, but Gordon is scoring and Hughes did hit a game winner earlier in the season.
Point Guards: B+ Rose still has a lot to learn, but with Hinrich by his side, he will mature even quicker.
Coach: D- I know you are a rookie head coach, but take control of your players. Noah and Thomas cannot create distractions like they have been that take the focus away from the team. Del Negro needs to do something drastic with the crybabies and the ball hogs or the Bulls will look like a joke in the second half of the season.
I predict the Bulls will trade Hughes and grab the No. 8 spot in the East. Rose will win ROY and will have a rough patch somewhere in the second half of the season when some defense figures out how to contain him.
Overall though, this first half of the season could be worse, the Bulls are just playing lackluster basketball. If they wake up and work as a team, they could potentially be dangerous.