COMMENTARY | It is difficult to know exactly what to make of the Chicago Bulls. At times they look like world beaters. Other nights, such as recent games against the Denver Nuggets and a San Antonio Spurs team resting its top three players, the Bulls resemble a disjointed band of misfits-- struggling mightily to perform harmoniously. But even the best teams have bad games, especially with key players fighting through injuries. So, again, it is difficult to know exactly what to make of the Bulls.
Truthfully, it really does not matter what the Bulls currently are or are not, because they are playing without Derrick Rose. Upon his return, things will inevitably change, for better or for worse. But until this happens, which recent reports state will be no sooner than March 1, not many accurate assessments of the team can be made.
Things that stand out however, and will likely remain issues even after Rose joins the team include an inability to consistently stretch the floor and/or provide scoring from the shooting guard position. Look at the reigning champion Miami Heat. Yes, they have one of the greatest, if not the greatest player in the game right now and two additional star athletes; but the Heat surround LeBron James with shooters. Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, James Jones and even Mario Chalmers are waiting on the wings to knock down open shots whenever James drives to the basket or is double-teamed.
This is what Rose and the Bulls need, reliable outside shooters that command the attention of defenders. Though the team has stifling defense as its own calling card, offense remains immensely important-- especially in the playoffs. Perhaps with the February 21 NBA trade deadline looming; the Bulls can acquire a player or two that may help in this department.
Rudy Gay was probably the best player on the trading block. Now that the Toronto Raptors have scooped him up, there may only be a few left that could actually be difference makers for a team with championship aspirations. J.J. Redick is one such player. His range and the fact that he plays the two guard could actually fill both aforementioned voids. And though the Orlando Magic are not actively shopping him, his name has surfaced in trade rumors. Certainly a team going nowhere this season will not reject a suitable offer.
The expiring contract of Rip Hamilton should be enticing as losing teams such as the Magic attempt to clear cap space in an effort to attract potential free agents. Another franchise looking to do so could be the Dallas Mavericks, who really don't have much to offer after dismantling the championship winning squad from two seasons ago; but Shawn Marion is an attractive option for any team. He may not be what the Bulls need but could certainly help overall.
A trade rumor involving Carlos Boozer and Andrea Bargnani has also made its rounds. While a noted three-point shooter such as Bargnani could help with spacing, he is probably not much of an upgrade over Boozer and may struggle even more in coach Tom Thibodeau's intricate defensive schemes. Besides, Booze has come to life this season. Why wait until he is actually playing well to trade him? Or, is his play as of late believed to be fool's gold and dealing him now would be striking while the iron is hot?On the contrary, acquiring the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith for Boozer is a deal worth making, but also highly unlikely. Of the few notable athletes that could probably be obtained via trade before the deadline, Redick is the one the Bulls should target. Then again, maybe they should do nothing. Maybe the team should stand pat, get Rose back and wait until the offseason to reevaluate needs-- Because not much matters without the hometown kid anyway.
Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD.More from this contributor Rip's Last Run?
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