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Bulls Fri Dec 14 2012
We've all gotten burned by Secret Santa gifts in years past. Gift cards to bland-corporate-panini-places like Panera, novelty bottle openers (there's only one way to open a beer bottle), or worst of all your co-worker bakes you something with your name written in frosting. How are you suppose to return or re-gift that? The Bulls organization is filled with millionaires, so what do you get someone that has
everything some things? I've compiled a list of what the employees in the Bulls contingent should ask for in this hypothetical game of Secret Santa. Like in the office version of Secret Santa, the gifts can't be extravagant, they must be a realistic request, so there's no getting the Bulls point-guards Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague razors for their awful facial hair, they won't use them!
Joakim Noah - Stuff his All-Star ballot box stocking.
The first returns from the All-Star game fan vote have been released, and Noah is seventh in the new front-court format, which will take a combination of the top three players in the forward and center positions. Noah is playing at an All-Star level this season but instead of leaving it up to the coaches' vote to get him on the All-Star roster, Bulls fans owe it to him to vote him in as a starter. This is Chicago after all, our political motto is "Vote Early, Vote Often." Fill out your ballot here.
John Paxson and Gar Forman - A trade.
Rip Hamilton could help a rebuilding squad with his expiring contract or fringe playoff team with his veteran leadership. What do most teams with those qualifiers have in common? They have copious amounts of young players, who may be stuck on the bench because their roster has depth in that position. The Bulls could make a run at guys like Derrick Williams in Minnesota, J.J. Redick in Orlando, or Washington's Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton or Trevor Ariza. If Thibodeau is content with playing five players close to 30 minutes a game, it'd be nice to have some youthful legs for the dog days of an April playoff run.
Loul Deng - A break.
Obviously he've played a lot of minutes out of necessity but it's not necessarily a good thing for the Bulls. I hate to get all advanced stats on you, my fellow passionate Bulls fans, but Deng needs help. Deng's turnover per 100 possessions percent is 13.4 this year, compared to career average of 10.6. His PER is at the league average of 15. His offensive and defensive win-shares aren't exactly a gift that keeps on giving, either. If only there was a superstar rehabbing his way to a return, Deng would be in the right role of being the second best (perhaps he's better served as the third best) player on a championship team.
Carlos Boozer - A charitable donation made in his name.
Like a charitable donation, amnesty-ing Boozer would be a (luxury) tax-deductible move. OK, I don't really mean this one, Boozer has been solid as of late. He's averaging almost double-double per tilt, and the Bulls would have a few more losses without him. Let's instead give Boozer a novelty beer bottle opener, since his name is Boozer after all.
Bulls youngsters Marquis Teague and Jimmy Butler - Christmas Vacation.
When we were kids, there was nary a one of us who didn't live for the two-week Christmas break off from school. Butler and Teague have been hitting the books all year long and maybe it's time for them to just go out and play. A lot.
Taj Gibson - A vote of confidence.
Over his last five games Gibson has averaged 16 minutes per game, and only 18 over his last 10. On a team that seemingly has a six-man rotation, Gibson has only been used sparingly. In almost every statistical category, Gibson's averages are the lowest of his career. To get his "swagger" back he's going to have to play a string of matches at 25 minutes a game minimum. However, Coach Thibodeau is more reactionary than precautionary when it comes to time management, so we may not see Gibson in extended minutes until Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah suffer some injury.
Bulls Newcomers Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli - A pat on the back*.
*When they're forced into bigger roles than as the reserve spark plugs they were signed for.
When the team needs to be bailed out due to a starter's injury or inefficiency, Belinelli and Robinson have lended a helping hand. When Robinson plays 20-29 minutes a game he averages 14 points, five assists, and shoots 37% from downtown. Belinelli is scoring 16.7 points, and shooting 39% from beyond the arc, when he plays 20-40 plus minutes a contest. They step-up when they're needed to step-in so a pat on their backs is in order.
Bulls Fans - Something to look forward to.
The never-ending saga of Derrick Rose returning will come to an end in the next few months. Either he'll be shut down, as some postulate, or he'll be back and the Bulls win the title as every commenter on Bulls message board would suggest. No matter what the outcome, it'll all be over soon. Noah and Deng will be better off with Rose back but will fight not to be written off without him. There also is some news out of Europe that Bulls 2011 first round draft pick Nikola Mirotic is playing well in the Euro League. So short term, long term and in the meantime, Bulls fans indeed have something to look forward to.
Alas, as every holiday season teaches us, be grateful for what you have. The Bulls play great team defense most nights. Deng and Noah trade off every other night who's going to have the better game. Stacey King says things that makes you laugh every night. Some nights the offense clicks and impresses. And all I know is that on any night the team is scheduled to play, they will put up a fight, which is all any of us can really ask for.