The Chicago Bulls have had trouble scoring for a while now, relying on their defensive excellence as they make playoff pushes in the wake of injuries.
But for general manager Gar Forman and the rest of the Chi-Town front office, it’s time to make some changes. So long as Tom Thibodeau is running the show on the sidelines, the defense is going to be fantastic in the Windy City.
Now, more offense is needed, and the Bulls have a plan.
“Chicago is aggressively trying to move its two first-round picks, according to rival executives,” reports Chris Mannix for Sports Illustrated. “The Bulls are believed to be looking for either a veteran scorer or the chance to move up in the draft to select a young wing player with scoring potential.”
Weeks prior to the June 26 festivities, the Bulls hold the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in the 2014 NBA draft, the former coming from the Charlotte Hornets as payment for the Tyrus Thomas trade back in 2010.
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With Derrick Rose set to return from injury, Tony Snell carving out a larger role in the Chicago rotation and European big man Nikola Mirotic potentially joining the team after finishing up his career with Real Madrid, the Bulls already have enough incoming boosts. They don’t need to add two rookies, even in a class this stacked with quality talent.
Trading up and acquiring a young wing player like Michigan’s Nik Stauskas or Michigan State’s Gary Harris would be beneficial, but not quite as helpful as landing that veteran scorer that Mannix references. This is a team that should be trying to win right now, after all.
According to Basketball-Reference, the Bulls scored just 102.5 points per 100 possessions during the 2013-14 campaign, leaving them ahead of only the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. They relied far too heavily on mid-range jumpers, and the addition of a scoring wing would not only help increase the success rate of those shots, but also make the three-point bomb more of a weapon.
“A huge part of the Bulls’ struggles on offense was their poor outside shooting,” writes Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey. “They were 24th in the league in three-point percentage at 34.8 and 27th in threes made per game at 6.2.”
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82games.com shows that the wing positions—typically the lineup slots most responsible for outside shooting—were the weakest ones for the Chicago offense. While power forward and center produced respective player efficiency ratings of 15.9 and 19.2, the PERs for shooting guard and small forward were 13.2 and 12.9, both decidedly below the league average of 15.
That’s not going to cut it.
So does “veteran scorer” mean Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James?
Probably not, though Chicago certainly wouldn’t complain about receiving that kind of offseason upgrade if either superstar opted out and seriously considered joining the Bulls. Realistically, this perennial playoff squad is looking at adding a mid-level player who can serve as a secondary scoring threat, as that’s about the most two non-lottery picks could get, even in a strong draft class.
Nonetheless, a Thibodeau-coached Chicago team with more offensive capability is a scary concept for the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Actually, scratch that. It’s a terrifying thought for the whole NBA.
Top 10 Dirtiest NBA Players of All Time
Basketball is a mental game as much as it is a physical game. And one of the best ways to get under your opponents skin is by being dirty. Maybe it is a subtle elbow to the chest, maybe you stick out your knee a little on a pick or maybe you lock arms with another player for a rebound, but there are a whole host of ways of being dirty.
Nothing infuriates an opposing player like cheap and bush league tactics. For many younger basketball players, and many veterans for that matter, keeping poised and even keeled is an asset that many do not have, and the dirtiest players in the NBA know this. If everyone was able to keep their emotions in check and never retaliate, than the game wouldn’t be as dirty as it is, but the allure of frustrating someone only promotes dirtiness.
This is a list of the top ten dirtiest players of all-time. Some of these players were superstars and some of them were role players, but what they all share in common is the ability to break the rules and often times get away with it. Had these players been penalized every time they were dirty, they probably would have stopped. But these players excelled at the art of being dirty. They were the best at getting under their opponents skin and they were the best at gaining a competitive edge over their opponents.
Teams never want to play against dirty players, but these are the types of players that you want on your team. They are the types of players that you hate to play against and the types of players that give your team an edge and attitude.
You don’t become the greatest player of all-time by being the cleanest player of all-time. Michael Jordandid everything that he could to gain a competitive advantage, whether it was legal or not. Jordan was about winning, not about being a boy scout.
In fact, he was just as dirty on offense as he was on defense. Of course, Jordan’s most infamous play was when he pushed off Bryon Russell of the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. That play was clearly an offensive foul, but it was a superstar no-call that no referee in their right mind would call with the game winding down.
Don’t let the cover fool you. While John Stockton may look like a boy scout with his parted hair and high shorts, he was one of the dirtiest players in the league during the ’90’s. Even the loud-mouthed Gary Payton referred to Stockton as one of the dirtiest players in the league.
Cheap elbows and grabbing jerseys were a regular part of Stockton’s game. It is what made him one of the best passers and defenders in the game. Stockton wasn’t tall and he wasn’t athletic, but he was one of the toughest players that the NBA has ever seen. But you don’t get a reputation for being tough without being a little dirty.
For some reason, Reggie Evans has no regard for the bro-code. Evans did what no man is allowed to do when he grabbed Chris Kaman’s private parts. Evans literally put his hand up Kaman’s shorts and grabbed his private parts.
This is beyond a dirty play, but it is also the reason why Evans has been able to carve out a niche in the NBA. Players are afraid of him. He’s big, he’s mean, and he’s the guy that you don’t want to mess with. Why would you want to go up against a player that loves to bang in the paint for every rebound, tries to initiate contact, and on occasion, could grab your private parts?
If Metta World Peace is willing to punch a fan in the stands, imagine what he is capable of doing to players that he is competing against. The tough guy from Queens Bridge has choked opponents by the neck, grabbed and pulled jerseys, and elbowed James Harden so hard in the head that he was unconscious for a little bit. Metta has never been intimidated by anyone and is by far one of the dirtiest defenders that the NBA has ever seen.
Karl Malone was a big man and he didn’t hesitate to use his elbows to his advantage. Malone squeezed the ball with his elbows after ever rebound and swung them around while he pivoted. But this wasn’t Malone’s dirtiest tactic. Malone was the master of slapping the ball out of your hands with lightning speed. There is no doubt that Malone had the quickest hands in the league, but referees never knew if he swiped at the ball or if he swiped at the opponents hands and arms. If you were going up against Malone, chances are that you were going to leave with his hand print on your arm somewhere.
The New York Knicks were the bad boys of the ‘90s and Charles Oakley was the enforcer. Oak was never the most athletic guy on the court and his midrange jumper kept you honest, but it was his toughness that made gritty New Yorkers so proud. Oakley wasn’t afraid of anyone. Even Michael Jordan knew that if he drove into the paint and Oakley was there, he was going to end up on the floor one way or another. This was New York Knicks basketball. There were no free paths to the lane and if you dared to enter, you’d be fouled and fouled hard.
Dennis Rodman was no fool. Rodman was the guru of getting under your skin. There is no official statistic for this, but Rodman probably drew more technicals against him than any other player in NBA history. Rodman knew how to piss players off and that was one of his most underrated skill sets. Rodman was often accused of not playing basketball and engaging in histrionics, but it was his theatrical performances that made opposing players so frustrated.
Rodman did a karate kick with every rebound, interlocked arms with every box out and threw his body around like it was a dummy. Rodman felt no pain and that is why he didn’t hesitate to dish it out.
The Bad Boys Pistons of the 1980’s were all dirty and Rick Mahorn was one of their main culprits. Some players are soft by nature and resist contact, but the big man in Detroit was anything but tissue paper. Some even nominated Mahorn as the baddest boy of them all and the one that paved the way for Dennis Rodman’s future. Mahorn may not have been a prolific scorer, but he made it up for it with his veteran sass and know-how.
The San Antonio Spurs best perimeter defender was not in the league for his offense, but his defense. In fact, Bruce Bowen was so inconsistent on offense that he shot better from 3-point land than he did from the free throw line.
So, Bowen built his NBA resume upon defense. The 6’6 small forward was a menace on defense. He grabbed, he pushed, he flopped, and he irritated like the best of them. But his dirtiest move was placing his feet underneath the feet of jump shooters. As soon as a jump shooter elevated, Bowen slid his feet under theirs so that they would be afraid of landing on his feet and breaking their ankles. Everyone that has ever played basketball knows that this is probably the dirtiest play in basketball and Bowen was the best at it.
Bill Laimbeer was the posterboy of the Bad Boys Pistons. The original prototype of a big man that could hit threes, Laimbeer could also hit you in the chest and sometimes in the face. The Pistons were tough and Laimbeer made sure they lived up to that reputation. Laimbeer was a bully on the court and he didn’t care. All he cared about was winning.
It is what made him a four-time NBA All-Star and a champion on the court. Laimbeer is the quintessential example that nice guys finish last and dirty guys finish first.
The Warriors fired head coach Mark Jackson on Tuesday following a 51-win season and a hard-fought, seven-game playoff loss to the Clippers.
Rumblings of dysfunction surfaced right before the playoffs, when two of Jackson’s assistants were dismissed in a 10-day span. The writing was on the wall, and for Jackson, the ax would soon fall.
“I will say this. You did know a lot, but you also heard a lot of lies,” Jackson said Wednesday morning on Dan Patrick’s radio show. “There’s a way to do things, and when people lie against you, and people make up stories, at the end of the day, the evidence against it will be how you conduct yourself. The evidence against it will be how you talk to people, how you treat people, how you handle adversity. I’m going to walk and take the high road.”
Jackson said even if his team had prevailed over the Clippers, it wouldn’t have changed his fate when he sat down with owner Joe Lacob.
“I’m at peace, and I’ll tell you the truth: If we advance, do I still have a job? I’m not really sure, because at the end of the day, we both walked into the meeting and we both were frustrated,” he said. “That’s [what] the crazy thing was. Nothing was leaked on my side, because I felt the same way and I had issues. Going into that office, my mind was made up. It wasn’t a one-way decision.”
Jackson was asked whether he had heard from the Knicks, who have a head coaching vacancy after Phil Jackson fired Mike Woodson two weeks ago.
“No, [I have not been contacted by the Knicks],” Jackson responded. “I don’t know what to expect. I look forward to the next chapter and next assignment. I’m a guy that fully trusts God and knows that it all works out. I think the difference now as opposed to three years ago is, I’ve proven that I can coach. I’m not a guy that’s begging for an opportunity to show that I can coach.”
Jackson sounded rueful leaving behind a very strong foundation for the team’s next coach. The Warriors won 51 games in a stacked Western Conference and boast one of the more electric backcourts in the game in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He likened helping build the team to the birth of a baby.
“The baby was carried for nine months or, [in this case], for three years,” he said. “They watched the labor pains in the hospital, and somebody else is going to sit there and be able to grab the head of the baby when it’s born. I think I went through all of that, and now the process is, this is a championship-caliber team.”
The first sign of trouble for Jackson came in late March, when assistant coach Brian Scalabrine was reassigned to the team’s D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz because of what Jackson termed a “difference in philosophies.” Just 10 days later, the team fired assistant Darren Erman after he was caught allegedly recording conversations in coaches’ meetings and between coaches and players without their knowledge.
“I don’t believe that [it was a conflict between me and the front office],” Jackson said. “I understand everything that they’re saying, [but] at the end of the day, I’m a guy that believes you stay in your lane. I’m respectful to everybody. … It was a [taxing], draining season, and obviously, people [were] well aware of it. My players were aware of it.”
The Indiana Pacers found themselves schooled by the up-and-coming Washington Wizards in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series on Monday. The Pacers, which had been super dominant early in the season, suddenly look like a team on a free-fall. Now, a latest rumour circulating in the Internet could be the key to finding out the Pacers’ implosion. And it apparently involves two superstars caught in an infidelity controversy.
NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks
Baller Alert reported on Monday that a follower told them about an alleged cheating going on betweenAll-Star wingman Paul George and center Roy Hibbert. The report claimed that George was caught sleeping with Hibbert’s wife or fiancée.
The source on Baller Mail claimed the infidelity within the Pacers locker room have really affected the psyche of Hibbert, who has been playing the worst stretch of his basketball career this postseason.
Moreover, the same issue also ignited the reported scuffle between Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner in the middle of the Pacers’ first round series with the Atlanta Hawks.
“Do you remember when Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner got into that fight? It was all over Roy Hibbert and Paul George. Lance has been getting all the blame for the Pacers off nights and during that day at practice Lance says ‘y’all need to look at Roy’s ass, he’s been off ever since he found out PG was f****** his b****’,” the source stated in his Baller Mail on Baller Alert.
“That’s when Evan got mad at him for exposing that in front of everybody and that sparked the fight. Roy just walked away without saying anything but ever since then it’s been a bigger downfall in his performance on the court.”
“I don’t know for sure, but that might also be the connection to PG’s house getting broken into because all of a sudden now he doesn’t want investigators involved. Supposedly PG and Hibbert’s wife have been carrying on through instagram for a while before they ended up having sex. She felt guilty and told Hibbert and that’s how he found out originally. It’s bad because PG and Hibbert were really friends.”
Validity of the Report
The report indicated that the woman involved was not really Hibbert’s wife or fiancée, but was merely a jump off of the NBA star. However, the Pacers center was reportedly not happy with George’s actions, which might have probably caused the team’s collapse as of late.
This is not the first time George is rumoured to be involved in this kind of issue. Several months ago, the Pacers star was also reported to have impregnated a Miami stripper while dating Doc Rivers’ daughter and falling prey to a catfish scandal.
Whether or not this latest news is true, the Pacers have to get their acts together or else early vacation is upon them.