Archive | June 2014

Chicago Sports Power Ranking

Chicago is one of the four cities in America that has teams in the four major sports within the city limits. The other three are Denver, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. The rich sports history in Chicago has created die hard fans that are loyal to their teams. All five sports teams have enjoyed success, and with 17 championships spanning three centuries Chicago sports has an elite tradition.Finding the city’s favorite team opens up to a lot of debate, but that is the reason for sports.

5. Chicago White Sox

(Photo credit (chicago.cbslocal.com)

The White Sox come in last on the list despite having won a World Series in the past 10 years. The reason that the White Sox are last is because they do not have a strong fan base. The attendance at U.S. Cellular Field is awful to say the least. The team struggles to get more than 20,000 fans to come out to the games. The White Sox’s sell 48 percent of their tickets a game. The fan base chooses not to stay with the team as they try to build a contender on the South Side.

4. Chicago Cubs

(Photo credit washingtonpost.com)

The lovable losers come in fourth not because of their lack of fans, but their lack of winning. Their 356-453 record over the past five years is shows the front offices inability to put a contender together. The Cubs have not won an World Series since 1908 just 43 years after the Civil War took place. The closest the team has gotten to the World Series was in 2003, but the Cubs could not win the game thanks to this play

3. Chicago Bulls.

(Photo credit thedissnba.blogspot.com)

If this blog was posted in 1998 then the Bulls would be at the top of list. The Bulls have won the most championships in the Chicago in the past 25 years. The Michael Jordan era spoiled young Chicago fans into thinking that the Bulls will always be good. Then 1999 happened, and the Bulls had to rebuild. The Bulls did finish their rebuild by drafting Derrick Rose. With a healthy roster they are a challenger to win the Eastern Conference every year.

2. Chicago Blackhawks 

The Blackhawks are the best team in Chicago by far right now. The Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups in the past five years, and have made the playoffs for all five of those years. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are popular among fans in Chicago.  Despite the fact that NHL is not as popular as the NBA, Blackhawks hockey in Chicago is becoming more popular with every victory.

1. Chicago Bears

The Monsters of the Midway have owned Chicago since the 1985 Super Bowl. No matter what the record states the Bears will always have the support of the fans. With football being the most popular sport in the country, the Bears are going to be the most popular team in Chicago for years to come. Popular players and coaches leave constantly, but the fans still stay loyal to the team. The Bears popularity transcends wins and loses they will always own the city.

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Dream NBA Finals 2015: Bulls vs Thunder

The 2014 NBA Finals is a rematch between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. In 2013 the two teams had a thrilling seven game series that Miami won. The chances of these teams meeting again for a third time in a row is unlikely, so the best matchup for next year’s NBA Finals will be Oklahoma City Thunder vs Chicago Bulls. The matchup is intriguing on so many levels, and fans will turn into seeing these two teams.The only way that this NBA Finals matchup even happens is if the Bulls acquire Carmelo Anthony this offseason and Derrick Rose plays at an MVP level.

(Photo credit gamblerspalace.com)

The matchups at each position are must see TV. Kevin Durant and Carmelo Antony are the two best scorers in the NBA today. Durant averaged 32 points a game during the regular season as he won his first MVP. He has the ability to shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. His 6-foot-10 height and his release makes it almost impossible for his shot to be blocked by an opponent. Anthony is two inches shorter, but can match Durant’s scoring on any given night. Anthony averaged 27.4 points per game this year for the Knicks. Anthony can shoot the 3-point shot, but he prefers to shot high percentage midrange shots, and he uses his body to post up smaller defenders if needed.

Neither Anthony nor Durant will guard each other much in the finals, because both teams have a superior defender that can challenge even the best scorers. Jimmy Butler will have to guard Durant most of the series. In his short amount of time in the NBA, Butler has gained a reputation as being a premier defender. He has the ability to play as long as possible to disrupt the offensive flow.

On the other side of the ball, former Bull Thabo Sefolosha will guard Anthony. Selfolosha has a 7-foot-2 wingspan that makes it difficult to drive to the lane against him. He will be entering his ninth year in the league, and in those previous year he has learned techniques that will frustrate Anthony for a seven game series.

(Photo credit dailythunder.com)

The two most explosive guards in the NBA  will square off in one of the best matchups in history. Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook  can do things on the court that no other point guards in the history of the game can do. They attack the rim without fear, and run fast breaks perfectly. Unlike Durant and Anthony, these two player would spend the majority of the time guarding each other the entire series.

Westbrook is very competitive and often attacks the player that recently scored on him. In most games Westbrook’s pure speed is enough to go right past a defender, and get either to the rim or his spot on the court for a shot. However Rose is Westbrook’s equal athletically, and that will force Westbrook to play smarter against the Bulls. If Westbrook tries to blow by Rose every time down the court the Thunder will suffer because the Bulls are a great rebounding team.

(Photo credit dailythunder.com)

The paint will see two of the best post defenders go against each other. Serge Ibaka and Joakim Noah will go make life hard for each other in the post. The two gritty defenders fight for every rebound and loose ball. Ibaka blocks more shots than Noah, but Noah has the advantage of better defensive technique. The Bulls have an advantage in this matchup if you add Taj Gibson into the paint to help Noah battle Ibaka.

The Thunder do have a big body in Kendrick Perkins, but he will not contribute that well because Noah and Gibson are not traditional big men. Perkins can guard centers and power forwards that operate with their backs to the basket. Perkins can use his strength to force those players out of the post. Noah and Gibson face up to the basket more, and use their quickness to get good position against opponents.

The Bulls and Thunder will have one of the best NBA Finals in recent history. The Thunder does have more playoff experience than the Bulls, but the advantage in the paint will be too much for the Thunder to overcome.  The Bulls will win the series in six, and will earn the franchise’s seventh NBA title.

See Red Podcast June 8

The See Red podcast welcomes back Blake Holmes for a discussion about the 1993 Chicago Bulls vs the 2014 Miami Heat in a best of seven series. Also we build our perfect Bulls teams with current NBA players. If there is a topic you want us to discuss please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter @ChristianJ_88.  To listen to the podcast click here.

Unrealistic Trades for the Bulls

ESPN trade Machine is the perfect way to fantasize about having a perfect team. The trade machine puts into consideration salary caps, so people cannot trade LeBron James to the Los Angles Lakers to play with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Since the Bulls were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, this gives Bulls fans a change to remake the roster.

Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler to Golden State for Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes

This trade give the Bulls offensive fire power. Thompson averaged 18.4 points a game with a Golden State team that is high powered offensively. He has incredible 3-point range, and is a better defender than he is given credit for. Thompson is still on his rookie contract therefor the Bulls can afford to get him at a cheaper price, than other players that can match his production. Barnes is an athletic small forward. His game can improve so much that it is no way to predict how good he will be with the right coaching. At 6-foot-8 Barnes can play the role Luol Deng or Jimmy Butler played as a go to defender. Barnes would not be depended on to do much offensively, so he can stay efficient on both sides of the ball.

Carlos Boozer to Oklahoma City for Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams

This is where Boozers massive contract helps the Bulls. He is due $15.3 million for the next two year. That total is close to the amount of two shot blockers in Ibaka and Adams. The two terrorized the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 and Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. They blocked and altered a lot of shots, and forced the Spurs to become a jump shooting team. Ibaka averaged 2.7 blocks per game last year. He also has the ability to hit the 15 foot jump shot with ease. That is the shot that Boozer was brought to Chicago to shoot, but lately he struggled from that distance.

D.J. Augustin and Ronnie Brewer to Nuggets for Nate Robinson 

Mike Dunleavy to San Antonio for Marco Belinelli  

 The Bulls decided to part ways with Belinelli and Robinson to save the team some money. The move costed the Bulls two ball handlers that can create their own shots. Augustin and Dunleavy were good throughout the regular season, but they could not make a impact through the playoffs to get the Bulls out of the first round. Robinson and Belinelli each won games against the Brooklyn Nets last year. Adding those two with Derrick Rose, give the Bulls a lot of room to create different plays on offense.

Is Taj Gibson the Answer?

(Photo credit interaksyon.com)

Taj Gibson was recently told to prepare to start next year. The second place finisher for the NBA sixth man of the year may get pushed into the starting lineup full time. That creates an interesting question among Bulls fans, Is Gibson a starting caliber power forward?

Gibson saw an increase in playing time  this season. Unlike teammate Jimmy Butler, Gibson has made the most out of his increased playing time. Gibson has taken steps forward offensively by learning post moves, and the stats prove it. Gibson has increased his offensive output in all categories. He made the transition from just being a spot up shooter to being able to create shots in the paint.

Gibson impacts the game more on defense. Gibson is very athletic, and he is able to switch pick and rolls easy. The quickness he has makes it difficult for players to take advantage of the pick set for them. Gibson then forces players to pass the ball, because they do not have a clear lane to the rim. The Bulls defensive scheme allows Gibson to help deter layups and other shots in the paint.

The pairing of him and Joakim Noah was the Bulls best lineup in the forth quarter of games. The Bulls would often rely on their ability to rotate quickly to open shooters to frustrate the opposition in close games. The duo is also great in rebounding as a team. One player would block out a player, while the other focuses on the defensive rebound.

The only issue Gibson has on defense is that he struggles guarding the stronger big men in the NBA. Gibson is 6-foot-9 and weighs 225 pounds, which means he weights 20 pounds less than LeBron James. His slender frame allows for him to give up post position to bigger or more skilled centers. That seems bad, but the Bulls help a lot of defense so he is hardly isolated with a great center.

The NBA collectively, with the exception of the Indiana Pacers, are playing smaller. The smaller lineups allow for Gibson to play the role of a power forward/small forward hybrid. He can guard some small forwards with success without needing a lot of help, and he is comfortable enough outside the paint to not foul players on the perimeter.

Despite the fact that other players are available that will boost the Bulls at the power forward position, outside of getting Kevin Love, Gibson is the best option to start next year at power forward. The only question that remains is will Gibson keep improving or have the Bulls witnessed his maximum potential?

See Red MailBag June 7

The more I do this blog the more people want to ask me questions about the Bulls. I wanted to start a tradition like Bill Simmons, and do a mailbag every week. I know a lot of die hard Bulls fans so I decided to respond to a few questions.

Why didn’t Thibs  play (Tony) Snell or Jimmer Fredette more in the playoffs? The Bulls needed some 3-point shooting. Raymond from Chicago

Coach Tom Thibodeau is known for not letting players that do not know his system into games on a regular basis. Fredette was signed towards the end of the season, which made the likelihood of him playing key moments in the postseason out of the question. Tony Snell is a different situation. This is the same formula that Thibs used with Jimmy Butler. During Butler’s rookie year, he only logged 2.8 minutes a game. Snell will play more next year when he learns how to play as a Bull.

What kind of player would Michael Jordan be in today’s NBA? Alexander from Chicago

Jordan would be more dominate than he was during his time playing, because the way that the game is officiated has changed. Players are no longer allowed to hand check players at the top of the key. Jordan would get a lot of fouls called in today’s NBA. He was an 84 percent free throw shooter during his career. Jordan would get to the line as much as James Harden does, and that would add another eight points to his career average. That is a total of at least 38 points per game, so he will be the greatest player by a large margin.

Is Joakim Noah a good center because there are no elite center in the league?  Thomas from Denver

To answer the question you have to look at what Noah does for a team. He is a good at rebounding consistently, and passing the ball in the low post. He is not an offensive threat like Patrick Ewing was, but centers with that kind of skill set are hard to find. Most centers in the history of the league had to protect the rim, rebound, and set screens. If that is the criteria to judge a good center then Noah is a good center regardless.

Do the Bulls really need to get Carmelo Anthony to contend in the Eastern Conference? Or do they just need to get healthy and add role players? Joann from Bollingbrook

The Bulls need to add pieces on the frontcourt and backcourt. The Bulls do not just need Carmelo Anthony to be successful in the Eastern Conference, but they do need offensive weapons and depth. The Bulls need scoring badly they finished last in regular season and playoff scoring. Even with Derrick Rose’s return, the roster needs a superstar to regain their top ranking in the Eastern Conference.

Good Bull/Bad Bull: Joakim Noah is the Best Center in the NBA

Good Bull/Bad Bull is a discussion where the both sides of a topic are argued that pertains to the Bulls. Picture the discussion between the two to rival the good and evil angels that appeared on cartoon characters shoulders. The views and opinions of Good Bull/Bad Bull do not reflect Chicago See Red or any person in particular.

Joakim Noah The newly crowned defensive player of the year has a passion and drive few players in the NBA have. He plays the center position, that position has seen a decline over the years. With Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard as Noah’s main competition at the position, is he the best center in the NBA?

(Photo credit nba.com)

Bad Bull: Hibbert should not be in the discussion at all because of his inconsistency this postseason. No player that scores zero points in the playoffs should be considered the best at anything in the NBA. Noah is a good player, and he deserved to win defensive player of the year, but he is not the best center in the game right now.

The best center is Marc Gasol. The younger Gasol brother is a more complete player than Noah. The 7-foot-1 Gasol is a force in the paint. He uses his 265 pound frame to frustrate players on both sides of the ball. Gasol is a better offensively than Noah. The two point advantage Gasol has does not begin to explain his impact on the Grizzles. Gasol can be successful shooting the 15 foot jump shot. That makes defenses have to guard him when he is away from the basket. That opens lanes up and creates spacing for teammates.

Noah can hit the 15 foot shot, but only if its an emergency. He only shoots 37.7 percent from that distance. Noah also struggles outside the paint. He shoots a worse average of 35.7 from 5-9 feet away from the rim. Noah cannot be the best center if he is the void of offensive moves. Outside of crashing the offensive boards, Noah does not have a move to get him points in key situations. He often just puts his head down, and drive hoping to uses his quickness to get around a defender. Noah is defiantly a good center, but not quite the best.

 

(Photo credit africatopsports.com)

Good Bull: Noah might lack a go to move while on offense to score, but that does not disqualify him from being the best center, Despite the fact that Gasol is more polished offensively, Noah only averages 2 points per game less than him. The reason is because Noah give 100 percent effort on every play. He is always moving fast, and he is relentless on the defensive side of the ball. He can change a game with his help defense. Noah finished sixth this season with 11.3 rebounds, and of those 7.7 came on the defensive side of the ball. Noah ensures that teams have one shot per possession.

Noah is also the only center that is a leader on for a team. In the NBA, the leaders on the team are usually the players with the ball in their hands late in games, but that is not the case for Noah. Noah is the leader of the Bulls, because he gives his all every game. The other players on the Bulls see that, and they play similar. No other center shows the nonstop effort that he shows, or leads a team without leading the team in points. He is a professional, and does not complain about his team in public. No other center is as valuable to his team. The Bulls without Derrick Rose made the playoffs twice, but without Noah the Bulls are a lottery team.

Have the Spurs Passed the Bulls as the Third Best Franchise in League History?

In sports, legacies are defined by winning championships. In baseball the New York Yankees are the best team, because they have won 27 world titles. In football the Pittsburgh Steelers reign supreme with six super bowls won. The same can be said about the NBA. The Boston Celtics are number one with 17 titles,  followed by the Los Angles Lakers with 16. The third place team are the Bulls with six followed by the San Antonio Spurs with four. As far as the all-time list goes the Spurs have surpassed the Bulls.

(Photo credit blogs.wsj.com)

The Spurs are trying to win their fifth NBA titles as they go against the Miami Heat. If the Spurs are successful, the franchise would have won NBA titles in three decades. Only the Lakers and Celtics have completed this feat before. The thing that makes the Spurs run so successful is that they keep their star players. Tim Duncan was a rookie on that 1999 NBA championship team, and 15 years later he is still a key contributor. The addition of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have set a record for playoff wins for a trio.

The Bulls had a dominate stretch in the 1990s that made the franchise popular, but if you take away the eight years that the Bulls were championship contenders the franchise has not been great. The 1984-1988 Bulls won one playoff series, and was swept by the Boston Celtics twice. The 5-12 record in the playoffs is far from the the level of excellence the Spurs have enjoyed.

The Bulls also fell victim to a horrible rebuilding phase. Top players did not want to play for the Tim Floyd coached Bulls. It took the Bulls seven years to contend in the Eastern Conference. The time on top was shorter than expected as the Bulls have not reached the Eastern Conference Finals since the 2010 season.

The Spurs are always a top team in the tougher Western Conference. They have become the benchmark for how teams in the west judge themselves. The Spurs have faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzles, and the Lakers in the playoffs, and advanced past them all. The Spurs have sustained a level of greatness that outlast all of their rivals. The Spurs rivals with the Lakers has faded away, because the Lakers are a lottery team now. The Spurs effortless style sometimes, puts casual NBA fans to sleep. The Spurs execute offense and defense so easy that they can go on big run without fans noticing.

If the Spurs win against the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, then the long standing success would widen the gap between them and the Bulls on the NBA franchise list. The Bulls will forever have one of the most iconic players of all-time, but the decade that Michael Jordan dominated is not long than the 15 years that Duncan has propelled the Spurs into the upper echelon of the NBA.

Worst Case Scenario; The Bulls do not Draft Derrick Rose

Slightly more suspicious that the 2014 NBA draft lottery , the 2008 lottery was a one in which the Bulls defined the odds. With the best player in college being from Chicago, Bulls fans expected that Derrick Rose would be tormenting his hometown for years to come. The ping pong balls fell in the Bulls favor, and despite speculation on who to draft the Bulls selected Rose. The Bulls enjoyed immediate success with Rose, but what would have happened if the Bulls drafted Micheal Beasley instead.

Beasley has solid numbers as a pro, he averages 13.2 points per game and 4.9 rebounds. The problem with him is that he is constantly getting into trouble with the law. That is the reason why he went from Miami to Minnesota to Phoenix and then back to Miami in his short career.  Beasley arrests shows a lack of maturity from the 25 year old player. He has a polished offensive game, but he does not play well on the defensive side of the ball.

Rose on the other hand has stayed out of trouble. The only issue about his character came when he allegedly threw up a gang sign in a photo. He has become a leader on a Bulls team that has gone to the playoffs every year that he has been in the league. He also has made history, by becoming the youngest Most Valuable Player in the NBA.

If the Bulls drafted Beasley with the no. 1 pick in 2008 the small forward would have only played a couple seasons before his maturity ran him out of town. Despite the fact, Chicago does not have the night life that Miami does, but athletes have gotten in trouble here.   Beasley would have not been a model citizen, and the Bulls would have to trade him away similar to what Miami did.

Since Beasley would be a Bull,  The Hat would have drafted Rose with the second overall pick in the draft. The backcourt of Dwyane Wade and Rose would have vaulted the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference immediately. His win shares was 4.8 his rookie year, and increased to 6.0 the year after. Rose’s MVP year he averaged 21 points per game with 8 assist. With Wade, the two teammates would be able to penetrate defenses with ease.

What makes the situation better for Miami is Rose’s contract situation. During the 2010 offseason, Miami was looking to add two max to play with Wade. LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed with the Heat to form the Big Three. With Rose on the roster, the Heat only needed to sign James. James, Wade, and Rose would be a the Big Three in Miami, and with Rose still on his rookie contract the Heat could afford to sign better free agents.

The trio of James, Wade, and Rose would have dominated the Eastern Conference especially the Bulls. The Bulls would have been the void of a player that can take over a game. The Bulls would have a core that consisted of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng, and despite the fact that these players are good enough to start in the NBA they would not be able to challenge the Heat. The Heat with that Lineup would have easily beaten the Dallas Mavericks in the 2010 NBA Finals.

The Heat would be approaching this year’s NBA Finals with the change to win four consecutive titles. That feat has not been completed since the Boston Celtics of 1966. The Heat would have eclipsed every Michael Jordan led team on the all-time list. The cluster of talent on that team would force other teams to add three or even four superstars just to compete with the Heat. The NBA would turn into Major League Baseball, where only the richest teams can win. So by drafting Rose instead of Beasley in the draft, the Bulls saved the NBA.

Top Five Careers Michael Jordan Ruined

He was the greatest of all-time. His highlight reels last longer than some player’s careers. He is the Michael Jordan, and he is the most iconic player in the history of the NBA. Jordan won six NBA championships in the 1990s with the Bulls. He reign of dominance put him in the Hall of Fame. Despite the fact that a lot of his peers are also Hall of Famers, their careers would have been better if Jordan would have decided to play baseball.

5. Scottie Pippen

(Photo credit sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

A teammate of Jordan’s for 10 years, Pippen enjoyed the success of winning six championships with Jordan. Pippen even led the Bulls to a deep playoff run the year Jordan retired. The reason that Jordan ruined his career is that he does not the respect he deserves for being a top 50 player of all-time. In his 17 year career, Pippen averaged 16.1 points per game, and made the All-Star team seven times. He was also on the all defensive team for 10 years. Pippen’s biggest achievement is that he helped win the Bulls first title. Erving “Magic” Johnson was two inches taller than Jordan. The height advantage proved too much for Jordan to handle, and Johnson gained a triple double in Game 1. The next four games Pippen was given the task of guarding Johnson, and he did a great job. The Bulls won the series in five. Without Pippen, Jordan would have to guard the best player on the other team constantly, and probably would not be able to win games in the clutch.

4. Charles Barkley 

(Photo credit nba.com)

The big body of Barkley helped him become a prolific scorer throughout his career. He averaged a double double for 15 years in the NBA. He had a mixture of power and skill that confused defenders in the post. He was an 11 time all-star, and also was a member of the all NBA team 11 times. In the 1992-93 season he won the Most Valuable Player award. The only problem was that he had to face the two time champions Bulls. Jordan put on one of the best playoff performances in the history of the league. He scored 41 points a game against the Suns. The Bulls won the series in six, in thanks to a clutch 3-pointer from John Paxson. Barkley never got back to the finals, and ended his career without a title.

3. Reggie Miller 

(Photo credit nj.com)

 

Life in the Eastern Conference was tough in the 1990s. The Bulls went to six NBA Finals in that decade, and a young Shaquille O’Neal dominated as soon as Jordan retired. One player that suffered a great deal was Miller. Miller enjoyed his best years from 1990-98. Those years he scored around 20 points a game. His teams were never able to advance in far enough to play the Bulls on a regular basis. The Pacers were often knocked out by their long time rivals the New York Knicks. That all changed in 1998 when the Pacers made it to the Eastern Conference to play an old Bulls team. Miller with Rik Smits and Dale Davis looked to work an inside out attack on the Bulls. They forced a Game 7, but could not close the deal and lost that final game 88-83.

2. Patrick Ewing 

(Photo credit simplybasketball.tumbrl.com)

Speaking of life in the Eastern Conference being tough, Ewing is another example. Ewing was a tremendous two way player. He averaged 20 points per game for 12 straight seasons. Ewing also was a three time all NBA defender. The reason that Ewing is so high is because Jordan beat him in the pros and in college. The Knicks and the Bulls played each other six times in the playoffs, and the Bulls won five of those matchups. The only victory for the Knicks came in 1994 when they won a Game 7 while Jordan was playing baseball. The next time the two teams meet in the playoffs the Bulls won in five games.

1. Karl Malone

(Photo credit virgogumbo.blogsport.com)

 

Malone is still one of the best scorer in the history of the NBA. He averaged 25 points per game. Malone scored 4,000 more points than Jordan (Malone played in 400 more games than Jordan). Malone averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for ten straight years with the Jazz, and he won the MVP in 1996-97. That is where he success stops. Two years in a row the Jazz faced off against the Bulls in the NBA Finals and lost. The 1998 lost was the worst. The Jazz had everything working in their favor, the Bulls just played a seven game series while the Jazz swept their series, the Jazz had the home court advantage, and the Bulls were having off the court issues. The Jazz went up in Game 6, and if they won Game 7 was going to be at home in front of a loud crowd. However the shot happened, and the Bulls won their six title. The Jazz would not make it to another NBA finals, and Malone just like most of the list finished his career without a ring thanks to Michael Jordan.