With the biggest changes this off-season revolving around the second unit of the Chicago Bulls, I’m going to take you down a journey of comparing and contrasting last year’s Bench Mob, to this years “most likely to end up overseas in a few years” crew.
The Kirk Hinrich vs. CJ Watson debate is about as positive as this article is going to get. Plagued by injuries for the past year, Captain Kirk (Boy does it ever feel good to say that again) had his first statistical outing of his career. Chances are, he picks up his play this year as long as he stays healthy. Luckily, while Kirk’s health is a bit of an “if”, it’s not a huge one.
Overall, compared to CJ Watson, Kirk Hinrich and his ability to play both guard positions is an upgrade to the bench. Unfortunately, this will be the last mention of an upgrade. The Bulls front office gutted the bench mob this summer in what is so far, a failed attempt to stay under the luxury tax.
Starting off with the two players that have been compared endlessly for the past few days, I’ll take a look at what the arrival of Marco Bellinelli does to off-set the departure of Kyle Korver. The way I see it, there
really is no comparison. There is a very good reason for why Kyle Korver gets paid double what Bellinelli does. I wouldn’t chalk this up as replacing a shooter with another shooter. First of all, Kyle is one of the best pure shooters the NBA has to offer. There really is no comparison in that department. On to the more subtle parts of their game now… while Marco is a much better ball-handler, there are instances of the game that Kyle Korver understands better than Marco ever will. Those drop-off passes to Asik/Boozer for easy layups? Gone. Swinging it to an open Deng on the other side of the three-point line? Gone. If Ronnie was still here, finding him for easy baseline cuts? You wouldn’t see that with Marco. While both are essentially specialists, Korver’s advanced basketball IQ gives him the edge.
Grudging on, it’s time to address the timeless Ronnie Brewer vs. Vladimir Radmanovic debate. Vlad-Rad won’t exactly be coming in and spelling Ronnie Brewer’s role, but he is another shooter that the Bulls could use. Chances are, Jimmy Butler will be Luol Deng’s main back-up and Radmanovic will find himself on the court when the Bulls need a quick three, or when Marco is off his game. Given the price, not a bad signing but a definite downgrade from the professional theft also known as Chicago’s finest brew.
And now… the final hurrah. The great Nazr Mohammed steps into the ring to take on the Turkish Hammer, Omer Asik. Ladies and gentleman, it’s going to be a bloodbath. (disclaimer: I might cry)
Let’s see. When it comes to the defensive end… what doesn’t Omer Asik do? He blocks shots at the rim, he switches on to guards and blocks jumpers and you wouldn’t dare try to sneak in an offensive rebound against him. On that side of the ball, standing at seven feet tall, he’s the whole package and then some. On the offensive end, he has a hard time complete dunks. That’s all that needs to be said.
One quality that Nazr and Asik do share, is their notoriously bad hands. While Mohammed doesn’t look like a deer in headlights every time the ball comes his way, he isn’t far off. A redeeming quality Nazr has over Asik is that he can hit that short jumper and find ways to score by doing dirty work. If only he could stay on the floor, he’d be considered a decent scorer in the league. Defensively, he’s the polar opposite to Asik. He’s slow, sluggish and not the best man-defender either. Going into his 15th season, Nazr is what he is.
While the new bench mob (I feel dirty even calling it that) is a clear downgrade to last year’s…. it may help salvage the season by being so horrible that the Bulls are forced to tank. You just know last year’s team would have found a way to sneak Chicago in to the playoffs. Anyways, it’s best that Bulls fans get used to these guys. With Derrick Rose and Luol Deng out for extended periods of time and the injury history shared by Rip Hamilton, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah these guys are going to get plenty of burn.