The Warriors face the Bulls for the first time this season on Friday in a nationally televised game on ESPN. You can be sure a huge chunk of the telecast is going to be dedicated to investigating why it has been such a chaotic season for MJ's old squad thus far. But why wait for them to break down the struggles in Chi-town for you when we've got the top Bulls blogger Matt from Blog-A-Bull?
There's no bull after the jump!
Golden State of Mind: This year's first coaching casualty was Scott Skiles who was let go after the Bulls first 25 games where they went 9-16. Since his firing they've played about .500 ball. Did the Bulls make the right move letting Skiles go and promoting assistant head coach Jim Boylan? Is Boylan the right coach for this team long term? How accountable do you hold the players and management for the poor start compared to Skiles?
Matt (Blog-A-Bull): The simple answer is that the team was floundering and something had to be done. And the blame isn't as important as who's easier to let go, and it's nearly always the coach. Initially, I had thought Skiles was fired because he didn't effectively work in the likes of Thomas, Noah, and Sefolosha enough in the rotation. But Boylan plays those guys even less, and now it's looking like he was chosen because he won't do the "crazy" (that's sarcasm, btw) things that Skiles did, like sit Ben Wallace more and keep Ben Gordon a starter.
This disaster of a season still is mostly because of the players: nearly everyone is playing worse than last season. For Wallace it's expected, but for a team of young players (most notably Hinrich and Gordon) it's completely bizarre. That said, Skiles was not putting them in a good chance to win with his wacky lineup tinkering and once the team started quitting it was time for him to go. But the Boylan era is looking worse.
Golden State of Mind: The Bulls have used back to back lottery pick selections and trades on forwards Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Neither player seems to have that large of a role on the Bulls right now. Why is that? Is there limited and inconsistent playing time deserved? How good are these two young forwards right now? What is their upper and lower limits? Do you think either player is on the trading block?
Matt (Blog-A-Bull): Thomas played a major role down the stretch last season when Andres Nocioni was hurt and earned a starting role. And then Skiles waits all of a half-dozen games into this season to bench him. Noah has the highest PER of any rookie this season, and is near the top for the team, but he can't get consistent minutes either.
Part of it is other options like Joe Smith (having a great season), Nocioni (coach's darling) and Ben Wallace ($60m reasons) 'earning' the playing time. But especially after seeing how this team's been performing with these guys, I don't see the point in not playing Thomas and Noah more. They not only give the franchise a better chance at real success in the future, but the argument can be made they're actually the best options right now.
They're both still young, and famously lacking in terms of knowing and running the plays. But they're not alone and get a far shorter rope then their teammates. Despite their reputations as uncoordinated 'energy' guys, they do have skills and produce when they play, enough to be solid options at this point, and in the future a possibly tremendous frontcourt. It's also possible that their off-court habits derail their development, but I don't think the sporadic minutes help either.
Going into the trade deadline, I don't know if their value is worth enough to make a move now. If there's a real, true, core upgrade to be found then they may use either as a piece, but I don't think they'll be involved in a lateral move.
Golden State of Mind: There haven't been any documented reports of the Warriors being interested in Tyrus Thomas or the Bulls being interested in any players on the Warriors. Thomas however looks like he would be an interesting player to add to this current Warriors cast. Thoughts?
Matt (Blog-A-Bull): Tyrus would rock Nellieball, and most importantly he'd help on the boards. His jumper is improving but probably not enough to keep up with everyone else on the floor, though. But he does have good handle and passing ability for his size. He really is a unique player.
He'd also probably do better in Nellieball because it's less of a structured offensive environment, and it'd also guarantee that he'd be at the 4 (his best position). However, he does tend to loaf when changing ends on the court, so that'd have to change in a running system.
Golden State of Mind: What's your take on the recent Joakim Noah suspensions by the team and his teammates? Are these red flags about Noah being a longterm headache in the league or just overblown growing pains?
Matt (Blog-A-Bull): The suspension by the team was warranted and hopefully an isolated incident. Shouldn't yell at a coach, obviously. However, it's a complete joke that the Bulls 'veterans' are able to decide anything, let alone a suspension on a peer. From what we've seen thus far, give me Noah's personality over Ben Wallace's any day. Save some money too.
All of us wanted to thank Matt for being on our show. He's pretty humble about this, but I think it deserves mention that he's one of the originators of hoops blogging and has been going strong since June of 2003. An unbelievaBULL pioneer!
Bulls. Warriors. ESPN. Friday night hoops!