"We wanted to dominate these guys for 48 minutes," Brandon Roy told the Associated Press after he and the Trail Blazers sent the Chicago Bulls to Oakland with a 116-74 thrashing to ponder.
Roy led his team with 20 points, going 7-of-13 from the field and 6-of-6 at the free throw stripe. As a team the Trail Blazers hit 42-of-83 shots (50.2 percent) from the field, showing how bad the Bulls defense is.
Andres Nocioni led the deflated visiting team with 13 points, shooting 5-of-13 and 1-of-2 from the free throw line. Both Drew Gooden and Ben Gordon finished the game with 11 points.
Very rarely does a team that shoots 34 percent from the field, 76 percent from the free throw line and 13 percent from three-point range win a game.
Not only did they play horrendously, but they also didn't bother to show up on the glass. The Bulls had 17 offensive rebounds and 16 defensive rebounds (33 total) while the Blazers had 17 offensive but 32 defensive rebounds. The rebound disparity shows the lack of size and effort of the "big guys" on the Bulls.
This team isn't built to be a tough on the boards. The undersized Thomas and Noah are no match for players the likes of Oden, Duncan, Howard and others. The only person on the team that has true size is Aaron Gray, and he wouldn't even be on the roster of some NBA teams.
The best option for this once proud franchise is to start trading and signing players worth their value. Once Hinrich comes back, John Paxson needs to use the depth at the guard position to make a value trade to get a big man within the already tapped salary cap we have.
This game also featured the Bulls' "future," "franchise player," and "rookie of the year candidate"—Derrick Rose. He went an outstanding 1-of-8 from the field (13%). If a player is going to be that which Derrick Rose is being expected to be, then he would have put the team on his back and at least made it respectable.
Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and even Brandon Roy have taken over games that were getting out of hand and created a game out of it, if not won it. He has tried his best to come in and take over the team but there is going to be a learning curve when it comes to leading a whole team that is older than himself. With people like Larry Hughes on the team, I wish Mr. Rose the best of luck in trying to lead this team.
Another guard the Bulls are counting on this season is Ben Gordon. He is 14th in scoring in the league at 21.5 points a game. It is too bad that he is best suited at the sixth man position not a starter. Ben is wildly inconsistent. He will lead the Bulls in scoring one night and then turn around in the next game and barely hit 10 points.
Also, the fact he is a free agent at the end of the year means he will be asking for starter money when it comes time. I suggest using Ben and someone else like a Tyrus Thomas to go after a decent block player. Get the most you can out of him before he hits the road.
Apparently someone also forgot to tell this team that fouls aren't always a good thing, especially since the Bulls have a knack for getting back-to-back fouls. While I watched the the game Wednesday night, I noted a couple instances in which players on the Bulls got stupid fouls less than a minute apart and one at least 20 seconds apart. They ended up with 31 fouls, and Noah fouled out. This shouldn't go unnoticed by an inexperienced coaching staff.
This problem with stupid fouls is that it leads to teams getting a lot more free throw attempts than the Bulls. For instance, the other night the Blazers had 31 free throws attempts to the Bulls' 21 attempts. If a team gets more than a 10 free throw advantage on another team, it usually gives them a big advantage.
Finally, the Chicago Bulls, especially since the '90s, have lacked a locker room leader. Lacking a leader on the team is like lacking King Arthur at his round table, fruitless and unstable.
An example of this is starting to show up amongst the Bulls. Larry Hughes is starting to publicly come out and complain about his playing time on the squad.
Hughes has never been known as a hard worker and, with the logjam of guards on the team, it hasn't shocked me to see him on the bench. Unfortunately, though, it looks like he's been heard. He started Wednesday's game and did try to put up a statement that he should start by going 50 percent from the field. Only scoring eight points, he was fifth on the team in points.
It's doubtful to see Hughes getting much more time on the court with Gordon, Rose, Hunter (recently signed), and Thabo Sefolosha on the team. Also, when Kirk Hinrich gets back that's going to create a major logjam for the club.
The Chicago Bulls was once a proud franchise. The moves to the roster over the last several years havenn't improved the team while other teams have shown major upticks in talent.
A person would have to look no further than Portland for evidence of how smart drafting and trading can increase talent level and prowess for winning. Portland used to be laughed at by fans and now they're a competitive team in a tough Western Conference. They used they're recent draft picks wisely and have signed decent players, which has led to their success.
Chicago on the other hand has gone the other direction. Bad draft picks, trades and signings have led to the disappointment that they have become. Shooting, rebounds, fouls, and lack of a leader in the locker room are reasons why the Bulls have fallen from glory.