Szwaja's Sports Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random thoughts from last night's Bulls game in Portland...

The Bulls aren't playing defense like a Scott Skiles team usually plays defense. They will get better, so I'm not too worried. But in a much-improved Eastern Conference they better step up real quick or John Paxson will be hoping for some ping-pong ball luck at the NBA Draft Lottery this summer.

Sebastian Telfair, who the hell do you think you are? I've only seen bits and pieces of Telfair's game, but what I've seen has been pretty impressive. Still, Telfair will never be Jason Kidd. He'll never be John Stockton. Etc. There was Telfair last night making play after play, then deciding it was cool to show up his opponents on the way back down the floor. If you didn't see the game, I'll try and put his actions in words. You know that look 50-Cent has when he kind of pushes his upper lip upward with his lower lip and nods his head. That's what Telfair was doing to Kirk Hinrich and Co. last night. Since you decided to skip out on college all together, Sebastian, learn a few lessons before it's too late: have fun on the floor, but don't act like you're Stephon Marbury, or you'll end up as a cocky, overrated, no-good point guard who can't lead his team to the top of the standings, a la Marbury. Remember, Marbury left New Jersey and they went to the top. Marbury left Phoenix and they went to the top. That's no coincidence, trust me, Sebastian.

It's not about how bad you school Ben Gordon in the seventh game of an 82-game season. It's not about how cool your unnecessary no-look pass to Theo Ratliff looked. It's not about how bad-ass you look while staring down Jannero Pargo as you delay getting back to play defense.

It's all about penetrating past your defender every time you get the chance to do so ... in all 82 games ... and acting like you've done it before. It's about finding the open man. It doesn't have to be pretty. It's about playing defense. If you noticed, Telfair made some things happen on the offensive end of the floor last night, but Hinrich and Gordon made him look like a pansy on the other end.

Speaking of Hinrich, he's not playing very well right now, yet he's still so solid. When he finally starts playing like Captain Kirk, he should fit right in as the out of place white guy on the floor during the second weekend in February.

Andres Nocioni is shaping up as quite the find. All of a sudden, Nocioni is a shooter, to go along with his energy, defense and nastiness. Meanwhile, Luol Deng can't seem to find the nylon when he gets outside 15 feet. Deng is at his best when he's attacking the basket, and he seems to be getting worse as a shooter. You have to wonder if the wrist is still a factor.

Michael Sweetney one-ups Eddy Curry across the board as far as this Bulls fan is concerned. Remember when Skiles was asked last season what Curry had to do to become a better rebounder? "Jump." That was all Skiles had to offer, and I thought it was one of the best, most up-front answers any coach had ever given concerning one of his players. Curry didn't jump. He just kind of watched. Sweetney isn't an All-Star rebounder, but he jumps, throws his arms around and fights. The only thing Curry ever fought for was a call from a referee. Sweets has better touch around the basket, and he can hit the occasional 18-foot jumper. Curry couldn't, and still can't, throw a pass to someone standing 18 feet away. And, lastly, Sweetney can catch the ball. Again, Curry couldn't, and still can't, catch a beach ball if you threw it his way. Right now, I miss Antonio Davis more than I miss Curry.

Then there's the other twin tower of yesteryear, Tyson Chandler, who grabbed seven rebounds and added four points in Portland. Those are some serious $62-million man numbers, huh? And don't forget this telling stat: Chandler averages less than one block per game. We all know TC isn't a scorer, but Pax is paying the man to block shots and grab rebounds. Chandler's not earning his cash right now. The only positive: I don't think we have to worry about him hitting all those incentives in that heavy contract of his.

In closing I'll offer another positive: Sebastian Telfair, yeah, he's not a Bull, so we've got that going for us, Bulls fans. It could be worse. You'll see, trust me.


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