Okay Pippen Peoples, I have a confession to make. I am a New York Knicks fan. I do my work for FanSided covering the Chicago Bulls, but my basketball heart is in the “Mecca” of basketball. Since I am a basketball purist and I have a special love for streetball, my heart will always be in New York. But I have to put my personal feelings aside and be a professional and do the analysis if this game on Sunday. Sigh! Here goes.
Place this scenario in your minds real quick. There are two people. One person has everything in order and does things efficiently. The other person is totally unorganized and procrastinate. One person is on the fast track to success while the other is headed for a dead-end. The difference is that one special something that separates the fates of the two people. Well instead of using these two people, put these two franchises in their place. One franchise has shocked everyone with their success despite all of the constant changes and injuries. This franchise has stayed the course, worked hard, trusted the system that has been implemented and there is disciplined structure that is not evident with a lot of franchises in the NBA. One franchise has shocked everyone with their failures with all of the constant changes and injuries. This franchise has been all over the place, players pointing fingers, coach close to being fired, players getting suspended, bad acquisitions. There is no direction, no answers and if they are not careful, no franchise player.
Pippen Aint Easy is going to show the difference based on certain parts of the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls. After I’m done you will see the serious differences in how these teams are run, for the better or for the worse.
The Owners-Jerry Reinsdorf vs. James Dolan
I’ll admit, I do criticize Jerry Reinsdorf for being cheap…a little bit, okay a lot. But one thing I cannot take from him is that he runs his business efficiently. He put basketball people in places where his goals can be met for the best of the franchise short and long-term. Gar Forman and John Paxson have made calculated decisions that have been successful. They traded Luol Deng out, saved some money and got draft picks knowing that Tom Thibodeau will get the most out of his team regardless. They brought in DJ Augustin in off the street and he has worked out. They did not trade Mike Dunleavy and for the time being that has worked out as well. The front office is working well and the big thing is Reinsdorf has not interfered. Jerry Reinsdorf is well-known for staying out of the day-to-day business and let his people do their jobs
James Dolan on the other hand has overpaid JR Smith, gave his brother a contract (why to this day I’ll never know) and traded for Andrea Bargnani, a guy that will stay 20 feet from the basket no matter what. For some reason he thought the Knicks were championship bound even though he did little to improve the roster. Oh, my fault, they haven’t improved, they’ve gotten worse. The GM Steve Mills has basically been a stiff all year and the Knicks look the same. All basketball decisions have been run by Dolan and it has not been a bed of roses. Don’t you agree?
The leaders in the locker room- Carmelo Anthony vs. Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah is the sole reason this team has not fallen by the waste side. He could have easily called it a season when Luol Deng was traded. Instead he has stood by Tom Thibodeau’s no excuses culture that is in the Bulls locker room. He is revered in the locker room and respected around the league. Everyone knows in this league that your best player must be in tune with his coach. Noah and Thibodeau provide leadership that translated into a winning culture.
Carmelo Anthony drives me insane as a Knicks fan. Last year when the Knicks were winning, you’d best believe he was NOT the leader in the locker room. They were as follows…Rasheed Wallace, since retired, now an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons. Jason Kidd, now the Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets (allegedly). Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin kept everyone in line in the locker room. Now that they are gone, now look at the team. There is no leadership in the locker room. Don’t you just get sick and tired of hearing the same old sound bite from Melo, “We have to figure it out.” Doesn’t that responsibility belong to you and your lame duck coach Mike Woodson? Just sayin?
The Supporting Cast-Everyone else
I don’t have to go past the backcourt of these two teams to make my point. Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler and DJ Augustin have the ultimate professionals this year. They come in and execute. Jimmy Butler filled the spot of Luol Deng when he was traded playing staunch defense and improving his offense. He even stopped shooting threes all the time. Kirk Hinrich even though he was building homes all over Chicago with the bricks he was throwing up, he still stayed within the system and now he has found his stroke. While Hinrich was throwing up his building blocks, Augustin was holding down the fort playing well off the bench. Taj Gibson has shown that he should be a candidate for most improved player. Lance Stephenson gets all of the headlines, but Gibson gets the job done.
JR Smith recently called out his team for having no heart after getting run by the Golden State Warriors Friday night. Really dude? The guy that unties shoes of his opponent, like during the game…twice. Pulls down headbands. (Well at least he did that only once.) What’s next shorts? Smith has been suspended by the NBA, his coach and his jump shot because it has been gone all year-long. Like he plays defense. Remember when he was quoted as saying defense wasn’t his forte? The only offense he has provided these days has been on twitter. I could talk about Raymond Felton saying that his gun charges wouldn’t be a distraction, but for what? We all know he’s either lying or delusional. If you are a Knicks fan pray that he’s lying because if he’s not the Knicks are REALLY in trouble. With JR Smith calling out the team and their defensive struggles you know that made Tyson Chandler real happy. The defense is a dysfunctional, mistrusting partnership that is disintegrating in front of your eyes.
These are the reasons why the Bulls have won eight of nine and why the Knicks have lost eight of nine. These are the reasons why the Bulls are the third seed eyeing the playoffs and why the Knicks are soon to be on the clock. Take a long look at the picture above. Look at Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah and you see they way are positioned. It is a symbol of how their franchises are. Think about it!