Moving Day is here!

December 22, 2008

Since its inception, Khandor’s Sports Blog [KSB] has been located right here, as part of the wordpress.com community.

The wordpress.com platform has served its purpose and allowed the blog to get its feet wet, take its first baby steps and, recently, to begin to reach a slightly wider target group.

As the ride continues, however, the time is here to switch gears a bit and give the blog a fuller independence from the shared wordpress.com platform. 

Hopefully, the benefits will out-weigh the risks and this shift will initiate the next step in the gradual evolution of KSB.

——————————————————–

The blog’s new location is:

khandor’s sports blog

——————————————————–

Thanks to all for helping to make this possible.

Hope to see you there soon!

Keep On Truck’n :-)

The reason the Raptors cannot Rebound the ball

December 19, 2008

In contrast to what you might read elsewhere on the net,

e.g. Raptors Rebounding Woes Continue

in the NBA, the inability to REBOUND the basketball on a consistent basis, as a TEAM, is not a “Concentration” issue; nor is it an issue of “failing to get into [opponents’] bodies”.

At this level of competition …

A team’s ability to REBOUND successfully is a “Personnel” issue. Period.

Relative to the position they are playing:

“++” Rebounders are major contributers;
“+” Rebounders are positive contributers;
“0” Rebounders are neither positive nor negative contributers; and,
“-” Rebounders are negative contributers.

When you look at the Raptors’ roster, this is what you see:

PG /Calderon 0
OG/Kapono -
SF/Moon +
PF/Bosh +
C/O’Neal 0
———————
PG/Ukic 0
OG/Parker 0
SF/Graham +
PF/Humpries +
C/Bargnani -
———————
PG/Solomon 0
OG/Adams 0
PF/Jawai 0
C/Voskuhl -

A good Rebounding team in the NBA needs to have at least three [3] “+” Rebounders on the court at all times.

With their current roster, the Raptors do not fit into this category … plain and simple … because:

1. Specifically, given the “+” Rebounders they DO have on this team, the Raptors are choosing to play the WRONG players in combination with one another, so far this season;

and,

2. In general, there are NOT ENOUGH “+” Rebounders on the Raptors’ roster in the first place.

Until the Raptors fix THIS issue they will not be able to solve their Rebounding problem.

Oh, Thunder Road

December 19, 2008

Raptors fans …

So you’re scared and you’re thinking
That maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me …

Going into tonight’s game, which of these two player rosters would you prefer, if you were a working GM in the NBA?

Oklahoma Thunder Active Roster
 No. Player Pos Ht Wt DOB Exp College
 4 Collison, Nick FC 6-9 255 10/26/80  5 Kansas
 35 Durant, Kevin GF 6-9 215 9/29/88  1 Texas
 22 Green, Jeff F 6-9 235 8/8/86  1 Georgetown
 51 Hill, Steven FC 7-0 245 11/14/85  R Arkansas
 34 Mason, Desmond GF 6-5 222 10/11/77  8 Oklahoma State
 27 Petro, Johan C 7-0 247 1/27/86  3 None
 18 Sene, Mouhamed C 6-11 230 5/12/86  2 None
 7 Smith, Joe PF 6-10 225 7/26/75  13 Maryland
 31 Swift, Robert C 7-1 270 12/3/85  4 None
 25 Watson, Earl PG 6-1 185 6/12/79  7 UCLA
 5 Weaver, Kyle G 6-6 201 2/18/86  R Washington State
 0 Westbrook, Russell PG 6-3 190 11/12/88  R UCLA
 3 White, D.J.  + PF 6-9 251 8/31/86  R Indiana
 54 Wilcox, Chris FC 6-10 235 9/3/82  6 Maryland
 21 Wilkins, Damien GF 6-6 225 1/11/80  4 Georgia
 Toronto Raptors Active Roster

 

 No. Player Pos Ht Wt DOB Exp College
 3 Adams, Hassan GF 6-4 230 6/20/84  2 Arizona
 7 Bargnani, Andrea FC 7-0 260 10/26/85  2 None
 4 Bosh, Chris FC 6-10 230 3/24/84  5 Georgia Tech
 8 Calderon, Jose PG 6-3 205 9/28/81  3 None
 14 Graham, Joey GF 6-7 230 6/11/82  3 Oklahoma State
 43 Humphries, Kris F 6-9 255 2/6/85  4 Minnesota
 21 Jawai, Nathan FC 6-10 285 10/10/86  R Midland College
 24 Kapono, Jason GF 6-8 215 2/4/81  5 UCLA
 33 Moon, Jamario SF 6-8 200 6/13/80  1 Meridian (MS) CC
 6 O’Neal, Jermaine FC 6-11 260 10/13/78  12 None
 18 Parker, Anthony GF 6-6 215 6/19/75  11 Bradley
 5 Solomon, Will PG 6-1 180 7/20/78  7 Clemson
 1 Ukic, Roko G 6-5 190 12/5/84  R None
 23 Voskuhl, Jake C 6-11 255 11/1/77  8 Connecticut
 

 + – Player injured

——————————————-

One is $12.7 million over the Salary Cap; the other is $1.1 million under the Cap.

One has an average age of 24.7; the other an average age of 26.6.

One has 2 No. 1 [overall] NBA Draft Picks on it; the other has 1.

Both are led by first-time, interim head coaches.

Objectively speaking, when you’re hard-pressed to distinguish between the authentic talent levels of two teams in the NBA with respective W-L records as far apart as these … i.e. Toronto is 10-15, .400; Oklahoma is 2-24, .077 … it does not portend well for the squad with the higher win percentage, if it’s also playing away from home.

As the first game in a 6-stop Western road trip, this is now a crucial get for the Raptors. 

* Win tonight … and the up-coming match-ups against the Clippers, Kings and the Warriors will not look nearly so daunting.

* Lose tonight … and the Dinos will be staring straight into the abyss of a calamitous 10-game losing streak:

Sun Dec 14 vs New Orleans/15-7, .682 – LOSS
Mon Dec 15 vs New Jersey/12-12, .500 – LOSS
Wed Dec 17 vs Dallas/14-10, .583 – LOSS
Fr Dec 19 at Oklahoma City/2-24, 0.77 – ?
Sat Dec 20 at San Antonio/15-10, .600 – ? [L]
Mon Dec 22 at LA Clippers/7-18, .280 – ?
Fri Dec 26 at Sacramento/7-19, .269 – ?
Sat Dec 27 at Portland/17-10, .630 – ? [L]
Mon Dec 29 at Golden State/7-19, .269 – ?
Wed Dec 31 vs Denver/17-8, .680 – ? [L]

from which they might not be able recover this season.

On the road, in the NBA, is where a team – especially one that’s struggling – finds out exactly what it’s made of … and, whether it should either:

A. Sit tight, [and] take hold

or

B. Trade in these wings on some wheels.

Key early season games for the Raptors
Key early season games for the Raptors: Part II

Come Jan 01 2009, the Raptors will have their answer.

————–

“The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free.”

Thunder Road [Bruce Springstein]

What it’s all about …

December 19, 2008

Those who are able to watch this video clip and then try to blame the Captain of the Toronto Raptors for the current state of affairs with this team simply indicate their own lack of basketball acumen and sophistication: 

Although this young man can definitely score the ball, in this League, he is not a Prime Time scorer, per se.

What he is, at 24 years of age, in his 5th NBA season, is wise beyond his years, and made of championship material.

1. Find him the right teammates to play beside … like Jose Calderon, for example;

2. Use him at his best position, which is CENTER;

3. Make him focus on his individual strengths, as a person and a player … which include his intelligence, his imagination, his curiousity, his sense of team, his Rebounding, his off-the-ball Defense, his Shot-blocking, his transition game, his quickness and his agility;

4. Help him to better understand his place within the history of the game, and where it is he fits today within the panoramic landscape of Big Men … like Russell, Reed, Cowens, Hayes, Walton, Sikma, Abdul-Jabbar, Moses, Parrish, Laimbeer, Olajuwon, Robinson and Duncan … each one an unique center-piece for a championship team;

and what you will end up with is an extended run in the upper echelon of the NBA … if you really do know what you’re doing, in terms of building a TOP NOTCH organization, from the gound floor up, in the world’s best professional basketball league.

Fail to heed these words, however … and, instead, ask/demand/expect of him to be something which he is not … and it will simply be Just Another Lost Opportunity for the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.

Players like this … with this sort of ability, stability and strength of character … only come around every so often Where Amazing Happens!

Oh, no court for old men

December 19, 2008

It’s not quite what you might think it’s about … for example, 

but, hopefully, you get as much of a chuckle from this blog entry as these old bones did. ;-)

——————————————-

Oh, I’m back at it
There’s nothing quite like a pickup game. Let me rephrase that. There’s nothing quite like an old-man pickup game. Usually, when I go to a nearby court looking for a game, there are a few teenagers, a few guys in their twenties and thirties, and a token forty year old. But they are all relatively good ballplayers. A few of them played high school ball and maybe even one of them played in college. Those are good games. Evenly matched, competitive and fun.

But every Thursday night at 8 o’clock for the past few years, I have been going to a local church to play a game of pickup basketball with a few fellas. Right now you’re saying: “Hey that sounds like fun Sean”. LET ME FINISH THE STORY! OKAY! Anyway, this little pickup game I play in has more than one catch. There are a few actually. Catch one: The floor of the “court” is carpeted. That’s right, carpet. Granted, it’s thin carpet. The kind you would find on the floor of your basement. But it’s not a basement. It’s a court. What were the people at this church thinking? When I see a carpet on the floor, I don’t think “Lets put up some baskets for a game of hoops”. It makes everything you do when you play THAT much harder. Defending, jumping, even passing. Its so damn frustrating. At least its not shag carpeting.

——————————————-

Do yourself a favour … Click & read the whole thing. :-)

Where the Tonight Show meets multiple sets of Big Threes

December 18, 2008

Let’s play a quick game of Classic Concentration.

What do you end up with when add together …

The Tohight Show

Karnac the Magnificent

                                                           +
Steve, Chevy & Martin

Steve, Chevy & Martin

                                                           +
Where Amazing Happens

Where Amazing Happens

                                                          =
                                                         ???
—————————————————————————

Hilarity & Hoops all wrapped up into one. :-)

==========================================

Courtesy of BDL

One-on-One: Ernie johnson talks TV, being press secretary

Ernie Johnson is hilarious. It may not come across that way all the time on “Inside the NBA,” but when you sit down and talk to him, it’s easy to see why he has become one of the most popular broadcasters on television. Johnson has a wicked sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously, which are both reasons why the show continues to have success.

This is the final Q and A in a series of interviews I conducted with the show’s personalities (Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith) during my behind the scenes look at the “Inside” set in Atlanta.

Ball Don’t Lie: TNT says that basketball’s biggest night is on Thursday. How can basketball’s biggest night only have two games?

Ernie Johnson: Well, sometimes it’s three. (Laughs) Because it’s exclusive, that’s why it’s the biggest. It may appear to be a misnomer … but no, it’s basketball’s biggest night because it’s the only night that has Charles and Kenny.

BDL: Do you think there is any part of “Inside the NBA” that could be better?

EJ: (Pauses) So, you’re asking what would I change about the show?

BDL: Yeah.

EJ: Nothing. I really wouldn’t. I’m older than these other guys, so I grew up watching Carson, they’re totally different shows, but one of the great things I liked about Johnny Carson when I was growing up was the fact that while he was funny, he was really great when some of his stuff wasn’t funny, or the jokes didn’t go over, and he played it off so well, he wasn’t afraid to [say], “We’ll take a shot at this and see what happens.”

And I think that’s kind of [the same attitude] with Tim Kiely the [Inside] producer and all of us. It’s like, “Yeah, we’ll try something.” And if it’s not funny, fine, but we’re not just gonna sit there and do a cookie-cutter show, that you know what’s coming if you watch it once, you say, “I know what’s gonna happen next Thursday, this is the way they do things.” You never know …

BDL: You never know what’s going to happen around here.

EJ: No, and that’s the beauty of the show. A lot of times even when something doesn’t work it’s like, “That was bad, that didn’t work at all,” but it was funny because we didn’t play it off seriously like, “Oh, well that wasn’t funny, we’re sorry. Is it funny that we weren’t funny … yeah. Not everything has to be hit out of the park; it’s just great sometimes the guys react.

==========================================

Bar none … this corner’s favourite show on television today:

Ernie, Kenny & Charles

Ernie, Kenny & Charles

by a country mile.

——————————————————–

“What he really meant … “ :-)

——————————

For Everything Else there’s Mastercard!

Two for the road … straight to the Halls of Fame

December 17, 2008

This corner would simply like to echo the sentiments of Dave Perkins, one of Canada’s very best [long-standing] sports writers, regarding the majestic careers of …

A first ballot HoFamer

A first ballot HoFamer

                                                 and
Best of her generation

Best of her generation

Two class-act athletes step off

re: Sorenstam

“You might need to go back to Mickey Wright or Babe Didrikson Zaharias to find her match – and even then you might not. “

re: Maddux

“While win totals are far from the best way to evaluate starters, 355 is an awfully impressive number. Factor in his durability, ERA, baserunners-allowed stats – not to mention all those Gold Gloves – and he was at the top of his era’s class.”

Each was a Master craftsperson when it came to understanding, How Exactly The Game SHOULD be played … and it was a simple pleasure to watch them work their magic.

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA [2008-2009]: Part I

December 16, 2008

The 2008-2009 NBA regular season schedule has reached the 1/4 pole, as all 30 teams have played at least 20 games. Given the history of this league and …

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

… it is helpful to evaluate where they rank against one another at this juncture.

QUALITY RATING & QUALITY INDEX RANKING

NBA 2008-2009
[as of Mon Dec 15 2008]

Team

W/L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Cavaliers

20/4

.833

1

1

3

5

1

2

 

Celtics

23/2

.920

3

2

1

6

2

1

 

Hornets

13/7

.650

6

3

10

19

3

 

4

Blazers

15/10

.600

10

9

1

20

T-4

 

7

Rockets

15/9

.625

8

5

7

20

T-4

 

5

Lakers

20/3

.870

2

14

6

22

6

 

1

Spurs

15/8

.652

7

6

11

24

7

 

3

76ers

10/14

.417

16

8

4

28

 

11

 

Jazz

15/11

.577

9

11

9

29

8

 

8

Mavericks

13/10

.625

11

16

7

34

 

 

9

 

Nuggets

17/7

.708

4

15

16

35

9

 

2

Hawks

15/9

.625

12

7

17

36

10

4

 

Magic

19/6

.760

5

10

24

39

11

3

 

Bucks

11/15

.423

18

17

5

40

 

10

 

Pistons

13/9

.591

14

12

22

48

12

5

 

Suns

15/10

.600

13

22

14

49

13

 

6

Bobcats

7/18

.280

24

4

22

50

 

14

 

Heat

12/12

.500

15

13

25

53

14

7

 

Nets

12/11

.522

20

24

12

56

15

6

 

Bulls

11/12

.478

17

21

18

56

16

8

 

 

Pacers

8/16

.333

21

25

13

59

 

13

 

Grizzlies

9/15

.375

22

18

19

59

 

 

10

Timberwolves

4/20

.167

28

23

14

65

 

 

14

Clippers

6/17

.261

25

19

25

69

 

 

13

Raptors

10/14

.417

23

20

30

73

 

12

 

Thunder

2/23

.080

30

26

20

76

 

 

15

Knicks

11/13

.458

19

29

28

76

 

9

 

Kings

7/18

.280

29

28

20

77

 

 

11

Wizards

4/18

.182

27

27

27

81

 

15

 

Warriors

7/18

.261

26

30

29

85

 

 

12

Legend:
W-L – Won Loss Record; Win% - Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Rank; PAR – Points Allowed Rank; RDR – Rebound Differential Rank; QR – Quality Rating; QIR – Quality Index Ranking; EC – Eastern Conference Playoff Position; WC – Western Conference Playoff Position 

Note:
1. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion and Finalist has had a QR ≤ 34.
2. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion has had a QIR ≤ #9.
3. Since 2000-2001 7 of the 8 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

Take note of where your favourite team stands today … and where it will need to get to, over the course of the next five months, in order to be considered a legit contender for the 2009 NBA Championship.

GAME REVIEW: Raptors vs Nets [Dec 15]

December 16, 2008

NBA games can change dramatically depending upon the substitutions a team makes, or not, and the combination of players it has on the court, at any point in time, versus an opponent’s specific 5-Man Unit.

Such was the case last night when the Raptors faced the Nets.

At the 05:00 mark of the 3rd Quarter, New Jersey led Toronto by a single point, 58-57, when the following series of substitutions were made for each team:

SUBSTITUTIONS, TIME, SCORE & RAPTORS’ +/-

[Raptors vs Nets, Mon Dec 15 2008]

Nets

3rd Q

Raptors

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

Time
Score

+/-

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

DH

VC

BS

RA

JB

05:00

58-57

-1

JC

JK

JM

AB

CB

KD

VC

TH

 

 

03:25

60-64

+4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02:32

60-66

+6

 

AP

 

JG

AB

 

 

 

 

 

00:10

63-70
+7

 

 

JK

JG

 

 

4th Q

 

DH

KD

 

 

 

12:00

63-70
+7

RU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09:18

66-72

+6

JC

 

 

CB

JO

 

 

 

 

 

08:48

70-72

+2

 

JK

JM

 

 

 

VC

 

 

 

06:21

74-72

-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05:39

74-72

-2

 

 

JG

AB

CB

 

 

 

 

 

03:26

84-74

-10

 

 

JM

CB

JO

 

 

 

 

 

02:44

88-74

-14

 

 

AP

 

 

Legend:

AB – Andrea Bargnani; AP – Anthony Parker; BL – Brook Lopez; BS – Bobby Simmons; CB – Chris Bosh; DH – Devin Harris; JB – Josh Boone; JC – Jose Calderon; JG – Joey Graham; JK – Jason Kapono; JM – Jamario Mooon; JO – Jermaine O’Neal; KD – Keyon Dooling; RA – Ryan Anderson; RU – Roko Ukic; TH – Trenton Hassell; VC – Vince Carter

When the bleeding finally stopped for the Raptors, at the 02:44 mark of the 4th period, the Nets had established a 14-point margin that eventually proved to be insurmountable for the home team.

Closeer examination of these events reveals a number of interesting things about the mechanics of last night’s contest.

———————————————————–

After relinquishing the lead to the Raptors’ 5-Man Unit of …

Calderon-Kapono-Moon-Bargnani-Bosh,

the Nets made their first key substitution at the 03:25 mark of the 3rd Q, when they replaced Harris/PG & Simmons/SF with Dooling and Hassell, respectively, although they were trailing by 4 points [60-64], at the time.

What this substitution did was change The End of the 3rd Quarter/Beginning of the 4th Quarter Match-ups for each of the teams at the PG position.

Despite playing without their starting PG, the Nets were able to stay within striking distance of the Raptors, while buying valuable rest time for Harris to begin the 4th Quarter versus Ukic, the back-up PG for the Raptors.

Conversely, the Raptors made their first key substitution at the 02:32 of the 3rd Quarter when they replaced Kapono/OG and Bosh/C with Parker & Graham, respectively, while leading the Nets by 6 points, 60-66.

What this substitution did was create a most unusual line-up for Toronto that has rarely, if ever, seen the court this season [either under Sam Mitchell or Jay Triano]:

Calderon-Parker-Moon-Graham-Bargnani

It was this unit which failed to open up a wider working margin for the Raptors versus the Nets, playing without Harris.

Then, at the 3rd Quarter interval, was when both teams made their second set of key substitutions:

New Jersey … used Harris & Dooling together, in conjunction with Lopez, Anderson & Hassell; while resting Carter.

Toronto … replaced Calderon with Ukic, and kept their other four players [who finished the 3rd Quarter] on the court.

What these two sets of subs did was:

1. Prevent the Raptors from establishing a wider working margin over the Nets, while New Jersey was buying rest time for Carter;

2. Establish Harris [who scored the first 5 points of the quarter playing versus the Raptors’ back-up PG] as the Offensive Focus for the Nets during this segment of the game.

The third key substitution for the Nets was made at the 06:21 mark of the 4th Quarter when they replaced Dooling/OG with Carter, who was rested for the stretch run, after the Nets had already regained the lead from the Raptors, primarily, on the back of Harris and Lopez.

The third key susbstitution for the Raptors was made at the 05:39 mark of the 4th Quarter when they replaced Moon/SF & O’Neal/C with Graham/SF & Bargnani/PF, respectively, shifted Bosh to the Center position, in conjunction with Calderon and Kapono [who played all 12 minutes of the 4th Quarter]. 

It was this line-up that was outscored 10-2 by the Nets between the 05:39 and 03:26 marks of the 4th Quarter, which allowed New Jersey to establish a 10 point lead on the Raptors, 84-74.

The fourth key substitution for the Raptors was at the 03:26 mark of the 4th Quarter when Toronto replaced Bargnani/PF & Graham/SF with O’Neal & Moon, respectively, after which the Nets increased their lead to 14 points, 88-74.

In fact, it was during these two specific segments of the game that the following  16 Key Possession Outcomes occurred and determined the eventual Winner/Loser of this match-up:

KEY POSSESSION OUTCOMES

[Raptors vs Nets, Mon Dec 15 2008]

 

Nets

4th Q

Time

Score

+/-

 

Raptors

 

05:39

74-72

-2

 

#1. Carter, Made Driving Layup [2+1], Fouled by Bargnani

05:31
77-72

-5

 

 

05:12

#2. Kapono, Missed J3

#3. Harris Made Two FT’s [1+1], Fouled by Graham

04:48

79-72

-7

 

 

04:42

79-74

-5

#4. Calderon, Made Two FT’s [1+1], Fouled by Lopez

#5. Carter Missed J2

04:22

 

 

04:17

#6. Calderon, Turnover/4

#7. Harris J2 [2]

04:06

81-74

-7

 

 

03:52

#8. Kapono, Missed J3

#9. Anderson, Made J3 [3]

03:33

84-74

-10

 

 

03:26

Time-out/20

 

03:18

#10. Bosh, Missed Driving Layup

 

03:15

#11. O’Neal, O-Reb, Missed Two FT’s, Fouled by Anderson

 

03:13

#12. Bosh, O-Reb, Missed Tap-in

#13. Lopez, Missed Layup, Blocked shot by O’Neal

03:00

 

#14. Anderson, O-Reb, Made Tap-in [2]

02:55

86-74

-12

 

 

02:48

#15. Calderon, Turnover/5

#16. Anderson, Made Two FT’s, Fouled by Moon [1+1]

02:44

88-74

-14

 

Time-out/Full

02:44

 

i.e. New Jersey converted 6 of their 8 Possessions [75.0%] into 14 points; while Toronto converted only 1 of their 8 Possessions [12.5 %] into 2 points. 

Of particular interest to this corner are the following facts:

* The Raptors LOST the Battle of the Boards last night, 38 to 54. 

* During these 8 Possessions the Raptors’ output consisted of:

  • 2 Missed J3’s by Kapono
    2 Missed Layup/Tap-in Attempts by Bosh
    2 Turnovers by Calderon
    1 Set of 2 Missed FT’s by O’Neal
    1 Set of 2 Made FT’s by Calderon

* During these two key segments of the game, the Raptors chose to ignore the line-up they used last week versus the Pacers to close out their first victory under Jay Triano, i.e. Calderon-Moon-Graham-Bosh-O’Neal, that is by far the best REBOUNDING & Team Defense 5-Man Unit which Toronto can put on the floor.

———————————————————–

In general …

How a team uses its substitutes, at important moments within a specific NBA game, can be a crucial factor toward determining the eventual Winner/Loser of that contest.

Such was the case last night, at the ACC, when the Raptors forgot just how vital REBOUNDING & Team Defense are … especially, during the 4th Quarter of a close game, in this league, versus a dangerous opponent.

Gooden … plenty … good enough

December 12, 2008
Co-Captain for the Bulls

Co-Captain for the Bulls

As an elite level NBA player, this corner of the net does not have a real appreciation for the individual game of the Bulls’ current #90, who is not the type of PF these eyes prefer, on a regular basis, e.g. like The Worm, Worthy, McHale and Lucas.

That said …

There are several reasons why Chicago seems to play better when he’s on the court this season …

Bulls’ Best 5-Man Units [2008-2009]

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Bulls’ Joakim Noah frustrated with individual play
One day after Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro doled out some uncharacteristically stern words regarding Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas, fellow big man Drew Gooden said it was unfair to compare the former high draft picks to rookie wunderkind Derrick Rose.

“[Rose] was handed the ball and told, ‘Lead this team.’ ” said Gooden. “I don’t think it’s fair to say Tyrus and Joakim should match what Derrick is doing. It takes more time for certain people. … You have different roles.”

Del Negro said that Noah and Thomas must focus better and work harder.

“It takes a while,” Gooden said. “I went through my growing pains. There’s not one guy in this league who hasn’t.

“This is a job. This is a work atmosphere [compared to] going to college and playing basketball basically for your education. This is your living and this is a business.

“[Noah and Thomas] understand it. … They will grasp it sooner or later. … They’re still young. They have a lot of potential.”

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not the least of which is the fact that he’s a first-class teammate, who says stuff like this ^^^, in support of his younger struggling and still largely erratic teammates. 

If the Baby Bulls do actually end up “getting it”, sometime during the latter half of this season, they just might be able to sneak into the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Related: The Better Half in the NBA – Day 1


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