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Chicago Bulls

Trade Analysis: Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Chicago Bulls get: C Andrew Bynum, a future protected first round pick (conveyed via Sacramento Kings), two 2nd round picks (conveyed via Portland Trail Blazers)
Cleveland Cavaliers get: SF Luol Deng
Although it seemed like an eternity, the “Andrew Bynum” saga, as it were, only played out for less than two weeks.
On December 28th, the former oft-injured Lakers All-Star center got himself suspended from a Cleveland team 10 games under .500 for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Sometimes this very vague violation is code for “this guy was being a disruptive asshole in the locker room” or “he was being disrespectful to the coaching staff” or even “this player is not talented enough for us to put up with his BS”. All of those descriptions really mean the same thing, but the baseline qualifier here is very much the last one: the perpetrator in question doesn’t add enough on the court to balance his being a dick.
As a casual observer of Andrew Bynum for his entire career up until last season when he was a part of a four team trade for Dwight Howard, I can attest that nothing has really changed from what I can tell of his antics in Cleveland. He’s always had this strange, faraway stare in his eyes while addressing anyone, which often extends to a disengaged gaze that’s plastered all across his face while he’s on the court. Bynum might not be immature as much as he’s just a very strange fellow, though the end result of either opinion is the same: he can be a hard teammate to get along with and a harder player to coach.
I’m not at all surprised that it didn’t work out for him in Cleveland. With his injury history, organizations are no longer looking at him like a prospect that a team can grow around or needs to be fostered for future production. He’s been extremely erratic on the court, no doubt a side effect of the ravages his multiple knee surgeries and rehabilitations. Drew himself has expressed that he doesn’t know if it’s even possible to get back to his All-NBA form, a statement which has partially led to the situation he’s in now. His infrequent bursts of talent weren’t at all offsetting what a huge pain in the ass he’s been, a situation which the Cavs smartly thought of when constructing his contract this offseason.… Read more...

The Return of the Chicago Bulls or the Return of Derrick Rose? Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Derrick Rose, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
Bench Players: PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Mike Dunleavy, SM Tony Snell, PF Taj Gibson, C Nazr Mohammed, PG Marquis Teague, PF Erik Murphy
Offseason additions: Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell, Erik Murphy
Offseason subtractions: Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton
FACT OR FICTION: The return of Derrick Rose will change the face of the Eastern Conference.
FICTION: The Chicago Bulls 2012-2013 season was nothing short of magical. With their superstar point guard Derrick Rose out the entire season with a torn ACL, no one thought they would have accomplished what they did. Not only were they the 5th seed in the playoffs but they ousted the new and improved Brooklyn Nets and gave the Miami Heat a run for their money while battling literally every injury known to man. Sure they weren’t the prettiest team in the league when it came to offense but if you were to take away a superstar from any other team in the league, I doubt that any of them could have been as good as the Bulls.
With a record of 45-37, Thibodeau’s defensive brilliance took center stage last year. With three players worthy of Defensive Player of the Year, Chicago’s grind out, physical D even stopped Miami’s infamous 27 game win streak. But with Luol Deng leading the team in scoring with 16.5 ppg, the Bulls could never take that next step. Sure the emergence of Jimmy Butler was a welcome addition and Joakim Noah’s ever improving game helped but the Bulls still finished 29th in the league in scoring.… Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Predictions

1) Miami Heat vs. 5) Chicago Bulls
How do the champs make this a clean sweep?
El Mariachi: LeBron James.
Can the beat-up Bulls push this to 5 or 6 games?
KOBEsh: There really isn’t any logical reasoning to this prediction. Everyone on the Bulls is either physically injured or seriously ill. Derrick Rose’s brother continues his rope-a-dope with the NBA fan base at large, a sentence which leaves me wondering “Why the fuck are we listening to Derrick Rose’s brother anyway?”
But the most salient point in defense of Joakim Noah and company? The Chicago Bulls have all the ingredients to beat the Heat–extremely physical defenders, capable shot-blocking bigs that can avoid foul trouble and enough three-point shooting to disrupt a usually sterling Heat perimeter defense. To push this to a 6 game series, Da Bulls must outrebound the Heat by double-digits every single game; after all, this sometimes offensively challenged Chicago unit simply doesn’t have the playmaker to outwit superior defenders like James, Wade and Mario Chalmers on game-to-game basis. More importantly, Jimmy Butler, Marco Bellinelli and Nate Robinson have to continue to shoot in the upper-30% on threes in order to open up the middle for Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. The Heat’s perimeter defense is completely predicated on their athletes moving inside-out so quickly, not on size alone. In order to counter-act that, those three perimeter players must hit shots.
Most importantly, the Bulls know they can beat Miami. Being the team that ended the 27-game streak in a raucous United Center, Chicago has that intangible confidence to combat a Heat squad that quite frankly, most oppositions are afraid of. … Read more...

To play Game 7 or not? Defending Derrick Rose…sort of

(The news for weeks is that Derrick Rose, All-Star and 2011 NBA MVP of the Chicago Bulls, has been playing full throttle after a year-long recovery from a torn ACL. However, his return for the 2012-2013 season has all been squashed; he told Turner Sports this week that his “muscle memory” isn’t getting his body to respond correctly. This all might be a moot point–the Bulls might be competing in their last game of the year tonight, a Game 7 against the Nets in Brooklyn.
To say that Chicago is banged up is an understatement. In addition to Rose, the team won’t have Luol Deng tonight, whose flu infection got him hospitalized not just once, but twice this past week. Rose fill-in PG Kirk Hinrich is questionable with a badly bruised calf, while his fill-in Nate Robinson was reportedly throwing up on the sidelines from illness during Game 6. Center Joakim Noah is suffering from a case of plantar fascitiis that has him playing at around 60-70%. His bench counterpart Taj Gibson is the third Bull to fall to the flu, and barely made the call for Game 6.
With his team almost paralyzed with injury, many have asked that if Derrick Rose is going all-out in practice, shouldn’t he be playing in his team’s most crucial game of the year?
Not having any practical experience in competitive basketball, we went straight to our man El Mariachi, whose teenage years were wrought with knee injuries of every kind. Take it away, bru–should Derrick Rose be playing tonight?)
Every injury a basketball player sustains throughout their career forever affects and changes the way they play the game. Basketball, like most other sports, is about millions of different micro-calculations made by your body every nanosecond. Hand eye coordination, vision, strength, balance, and awareness all while under physical and sometimes psychological distress, take their toll on a player’s body and mind from the jump ball to the final buzzer. Add on top of that an aching heel, weak knee, sore shoulder, or even illness, the body will adapt like the amazing creation it is. And whether it’s subconsciously or deliberate, the body of a player will always over compensate even in the smallest sense of the word.
In my young basketball career I was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans, a degenerative bone condition that took me out of the game for two years. Four surgeries, 10 months on crutches and countless hours of physical therapy later, I was back on the court. But it never was the same.… Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference First Round Predictions

It’s Christmas kids. Except instead of Jesus being born, we’re celebrating a bunch of overpaid athletes play a game we’d all happily do for a fraction of the money. It’s pretty much the same thing, right?
Let’s get right to it–MAMBINO official predictions and commentary from the whole team:
1) Miami Heat vs. 8) Milwaukee Bucks
Why is this a clean sweep for the Heat?

El Mariachi: LeBron James.  …

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Tyrus Thomas

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Tyrus Thomas
Contract: 5 years, $40 million
Signed by:
Charlotte Bobcats
Salary this season: $8 million
2013 Slash Line: 4.8/2.8/0.7 in 18 games
Expires: 2015
You ever had your ass kicked by your dad? Not you know, getting bent over his knee and spanked as a kid. I mean straight up, full-on, gotten beat down by your father?
Probably not. You’re reading a yuppie sports blog about NBA contracts. Of course you haven’t.
But if you had ever faced a horrible situation like that, you’ll know what it’s like to be Tyrus Thomas, our newest nominee (and winner!) for Bad NBA Contract of the Week. Well, not entirely. The guy is making $8 million dollars this year. You’d only kind of know what it’s like.
At the end of the Charlotte Bobcats ill-fated 2011-2012 campaign where they set the record for the worst winning percentage in NBA history, 68 year-old head coach Paul Silas had endured the worst possible situation in his profession. The ‘Cats were an embarrassment for the league and its fans, much less the man leading the team. Silas had seen some staggering losses and losing streaks (plural) extending into 20+ games. Charlotte was severely lacking in talent and for the most part, young players with upside. That is, except for Tyrus Thomas.… Read more...

THE GREAT PODBINO – Episode #2, Part 2: NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Not only that, but about 20 minutes of Knicks chatter from two NY faithful, El Miz and Bockerknocker. Truly a series of can’t-miss rants and hopelessly hopeful musings. Ah, Knicks fans. You endlessly fascinate me.

Also, the PODBINO is now downloadable, so if for some reason you have the strange desire to take our voices on the road with you, you’re free to do so!

Check it!


Also, peep Part 1 if you missed it!…

Derrick Rose Is Not Walking Through That Door – Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Richard Hamilton, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
Key Bench Players: G Marco Belinelli, G Marquis Teague, F Taj Gibson, F Jimmy Butler
Key Additions: G Marco Belinelli, G Kirk Hinrich, C Nazr Mohammed, F Vladimir Radmanovic, G Nate Robinson, G Marquis Teague, F Jimmy Butler
Key Departures: F Ronnie Brewer, G C.J. Watson, G John Lucas, G/F Kyle Korver, and C Omer Asik
To borrow a phrase from Rick Pitino, “Michael Jordan is not walking through that door. Scottie Pippen is not walking through that door. Phil Jackson is not walking through that door.” True, but as much as the names in the starting five and bench are relatively uninspiring, the two most important names in the franchise today were left off. And as long as Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau are in the picture, so are the Bulls.

Of course there is no team that has their season dangling on the word “if” more than the Bulls. When it was announced that Rose was the youngest MVP in the game under seventeen months ago, it was assumed that America would have to count on Rose and the Bulls to be the greatest obstacle for LeBron’s first title. Perhaps the argument that Rose is the greatest obstacle to LeBron still holds water as LeBron handled every competitor he faced last year, but perhaps Rose will never be the same again. As he said earlier this month in regards to coming back, he has literally had to learn to walk again. Estimates have Rose coming back sometime before March, but obviously that is speculative. Regardless of when he comes back, Chicago’s point guard probably won’t be the same player – at least not right away. People might believe that the Bulls will be “trading for an MVP” in adding Rose, but he won’t have the benefits of training camp or in-game competition to build himself up before competing. There are those that believe he may never be the same player again, so don’t expect an MVP caliber player until at least a full calendar year from now.
That being said, the rest of the Bulls are not too shabby. Keep in mind this is a team that went 18-9 in the regular season without Rose last year. Although all of his numbers were down last year, Kirk Hinrich is a capable fill-in for Rose and will be a nice player to eventually come off the

NBA Eastern Conference Preview

The first round of the NBA playoffs does not attract the average fan. The NBA actually made it that way when it mandated that all series would be a best-of-seven deathmatch, instead of the exciting, upset-rich best-of-fives that occurred in the first round. So as KOBEsh mentioned in his Western Conference preview, the better team will win in the vast majority of occurrences. But true Mambinites are legitimate hoopheads, so this year’s first round of the NBA playoffs won’t be any less special. Call us hipsters, because we don’t need the general public to appreciate the drama on the hardwood.

Onto the picks…

1) Chicago Bulls vs. 8) Philadelphia 76ers – Chicago in four

I wanted to get an actual picture of the cereal, but when
Google Images serves me lemons, I make lemonade.

BockerKnocker: The Sixers are an interesting bunch. I liken them to a bowl of Lucky Charms. Now, I haven’t ever eaten Lucky Charms, so the fact that this analogy comes to mind makes me think that I’m quite possibly stealing someone else’s material. Anyways, the perfect spoonful of this particular cereal is when you get the right mix of bran (for lack of a better word) and marshmallow. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. In ‘Delphia, the basketball team can put together fantastic runs. Their perimeter defense, featuring all-world lockdown man Andre Iguodala, will force turnovers and produce plenty of easy baskets. A transition dunk is like the perfect spoonful of cereal. However, when your childlike eyes gaze upon a bowl of Lucky Charms, you pick out the spoonfuls that guarantee you the taste of sugar from those marshmallows. The only problem is that by the end of the bowl, you’re going full bran. The change from good to bad is so sudden that you don’t realize what happens. And that’s what this Sixers team is like in the 4th quarter. There’s no go-to guy in the clutch; their best scorer comes off the bench. They’re either too old (Elton Brand) or too young (Evan Turner) to really make some noise. On the other side of the court, the Chicago Bulls are not being talked about like a normal #1 seed due to all of their injuries. Well guess what? They’re after me Lucky Charms. Get Santa Claus out, because Philly fans will be booing all series long.

Why the 76ers can win 1 game (KOBEsh): I wrote this earlier this season, but the reason why the 76ers had so much early succcess is that every person on the roster fills their roles to the brim. Even in their second half slide, falling to the number 8 spot, the Sixers are still playing All-League defense, limiting opposing teams to 88 points on 42% shooting and 7th in rebounds. Philly has to continue their regular season trends, and then for just one game, one of their scorers has to go off for between 20 and 30 points at home. That’s pretty much all this relatively punchless team can do against a monstrous Chicago attack.

2) Miami Heat vs. 7) YOUR…New York Knickerbockers – Miami in seven

KOBEsh: Oh, you mean besides LeBron James? Well…that’s pretty much it. The Miami role players have been so rancid that the NBA title in June that once seemed a lock, no longer seems guaranteed. While the Knicks seemingly have a defensive stopper for both Wade and Bosh, LeBron’s brilliance is the most prevalent factor that will give the Heatles the series W. As we wrote the other day in our MVP post, LeBron isn’t just great right now; he’s historically great. Even with Carmelo’s inspired play as of … Read more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Coach of the Year

Everyone talks about how the criteria for Most Valuable Player in any sports league has such nebulous criteria for its winner. What makes a person more valuable than another? How do you measure “value”? What makes “value” in the first place? Is it raw skill? How much he helps his team win? The intangibles of his leadership? Or is it a combination of all of those answers? But to what extent does each of those factors weigh? The MVP is such a tricky award, and why the debates every year are more mercilessly available than Bobcats front row tickets.

This is actually the award trophy. It looks like Dora the Explorer made it.

However, as murky as the waters of the MVP are, the award for Coach of Year may rival it.

What makes a Coach of the Year? Does it go to the man who best defies expectations? Or does it go to the man that best lives up to expectations? Is it the coach who faces the most in-season adversity, or the one that never allows his team to face it in the first place? I’ve been watching the NBA for most of my life, and intently for more than a decade, and I still don’t know the answer.

You might not care about this award, and rightfully so. After all, the very integrity of it has been irreparably destroyed just by the mere fact that Sam Mitchell, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Dunleavy have the same amount of awards as Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson and Rick Carlisle (I went on a longer, more detailed rant months ago, which you can check out here). However, that’s why MAMBINO is here, my friends. Much like Nickeback restored order to the credibility of modern rock n’ roll, your favorite, humble sports blog has come to help inform you the best two choices for the 2012 NBA Coach of the Year. You can’t go wrong with either choice, except for the fact that I’m right and BockerKnocker is dead wrong. Check it out!

Gregg Popovich

KOBEsh: The San Antonio Spurs have been left for dead 4 years running. Just a year after their 2007 championship, every prognosticator and critic pronounced the Spurs’ window not just closed, but shattered and replaced by a new, hi-def TV. Timmy was too old, Manu was too hurt and despite the fact that he’s STILL somehow not even 30 today, that Tony Parker would never be good enough to be the star that made a team a contender. What everyone forgot is that they have the best coach in the league at the helm.

If you gave this award to Gregg Popovich every single year, would anyone have a problem with it? I don’t think so. Whether you like him or not, or dismiss the Spurs because of their drab colors, drab superstars or small-town presence, the fact is that Gregg Popovich has been the best coach in the league for over a decade now. 100% true. The Spurs completely overhauled their offense and personnel last season, moving from a slow, half-court oriented offense revolving around Tim Duncan’s post presence, to a more up-tempo, fastbreak style attack. Popovich led a team many thought would finish 7th or 8th in the Conference to the best record in the West, and a number 1 seed. Poised to dominate the playoffs with the Lakers in a down year and the Mavericks without a second star to help Dirk, the Spurs faced their biggest match-up nightmare, as the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies took a buzzsaw to the Spurs’ front line and dispatched them in 6 games.

Coming into 2012 with a hectic, condensed schedule, a shortened training camp and old legs as their primary pieces, everyone predicted the most disastrous results possible for the Spurs (well, except maybe here). Now, here we are, 4 … Read more...