Blog Entry

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Posted on: July 27, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 8:30 pm

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how teams in the Central Division did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Chicago Bulls

Added: Carlos Boozer (sign-and-trade), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), C.J. Watson (trade)
Lost: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (sign-and-trade), Brad Miller (free agency)

Philosophy: "Why have excellent when you can have above-average?"

Well, hey, they didn't get LeBron. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. But they got Carlos Boozer!

And sure, they didn't get Anthony Morrow. Or J.J. Redick (though they tried). But they got Kyle Korver!

And that's pretty much the Bulls summer. The Bulls swung out on the big boys and got the next best thing they could rustle up. Boozer's numbers are good, and he certainly solves a lot of their needs. That's really what it comes down to. All of the Bulls' signings were exactly what they needed, they just weren't the best guys they could get. Carlos Boozer gives them a low-post power forward with offensive versatility. He's just not Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh. Kyle Korver adds three-point shooting,and was a better option than even Anthony Morrow would have been. Ronnie Brewer may have been their best signing. They essentially took Kirk Hinrich, a defensive combo-guard that can't really shoot anymore (I'll never figure out where his shot went), and his considerable salary and moved him for Brewer, a defensive combo-wing that can't shoot.

It's hard to knock the Bulls, since they did at least stay aggressive, and did make moves. And trying to grade them based on expectations in this competitive of a year is tough. But with one of the biggest markets, cap space, and a handful of advantages, you still have to look at their moves and ask "Really?"

Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Added: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (draft)
Lost: LeBron freaking James (sign-and-trade), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency)

Philosophy: "Not with a bang, but with 'The Decision'"

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up .

How do you judge them for this? How do you evaluate them after losing the most important player in franchise history in one of the most embarrassing ways possible? Can you blame them? Can you exonerate them simply because of James' classless behavior? At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a front-office to make the team the best it can be. And in this case, it didn't. Whether there were forces beyond their control or foresight is irrelevant. We are judged by our performances, and the results sadly speak for themselves.

Sessions is a great pick-up, though, and Hollins has some potential outside of the triangle.

Grade: F+

Detroit Pistons

Added: Greg Monroe (draft), Terrico White (draft), Ben Wallace (re-signed)
Lost: none

Philosophy: "Running in place is good for the soul."

Such a wasted opportunity. Rip Hamilton, out there to move, with teams who missed out on the Big 3 needing impact players. Tayshaun Prince, same deal. Rodney Stuckey, conceivably expendable. Instead, Joe Dumars and company elected to simply do nothing. No additions, no trades, no moves. Just the consistency of mediocrity. Perhaps the idea is that things could not go as badly as they did last season. And it's hard to argue against that, with all the injuries. But the problems remain with an ineffective frontcourt and an inconsistent backcourt. There was still a lot Dumars could have pursued, he's pulled off those moves before. But instead he seems convinced that this roster as constructed can get the job done.

The shining light? Greg Monroe looks good. Really good. The kind of low-post player they've needed for years and have been getting by with Kwame Brown for. The wasted opportunity docks them, but their draft was solid enough to save them to a degree.

Grade: C-

Indiana Pacers

Added: Paul George (draft), Lance Stephenson (draft), Magnum Rolle (draft)


"The vague semblance of a plan."

The Pacers did the same amount of stuff that the Pistons did, so they get the same grade right? Sadly, no. Fair is not always equal. The Pacers get a much improved grade from years past thanks to their willingness to go away from what has been their calling card. Instead of opting for big-resume players from major programs in college and veteran marginal free agents, the Pacers went with talent. Best talent available. And now? They have a roster with movable veteran pieces (Ford, Murphy, Foster), with replacements in place for them, and have managed to get involved in multiple talks for Granger without losing leverage.

Lance Stephenson, even if Summer League was a complete mirage, has long-term value to be able to invest in at both the point guard and combo-guard position. George has long-term development potential. Roy Hibbert has been given opportunities to develop and showed signs last year, and they didn't do anything in the draft or free agency to interfere with that. Even Magnum Rolle looks like a decent backup prospect.

I don't really know how to live in a world where I'm about to give this grade, but I'm going to.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks

Added:   John Salmons (re-signed, Drew Gooden (free agency), Corey Maggette (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Darington Hobson (draft), Tiny Gallon (draft)
Lost:   Luke Ridnour (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), Royal Ivey (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)


I love what the Bucks did. I hate what the Bucks did. I totally understand what the Bucks did. I'm completely baffled by what the Bucks did.

Okay, here's what we know.

John Hammond believes this roster can contend. Andrew Bogut, when healthy, can be the cornerstone. Brandon Jennings will only get better. They have movable assets of value. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile and talented at multiple positions. They needed scoring. A high-volume, high-usage, efficient shooter that isn't named Michael Redd Who Has No Legs. So they got Corey Maggette. Nice. That works. Sure, Maggette's a defensive question mark, but we've seen terrible defenders become semi-decent in good systems, and the Bucks have one of the best around. They re-signed Salmons, for a lot less than I thought he would garner in this market. They now have offense and defense.

But in addition to that, the Bucks got gluttonous. Drew Gooden, for the amount of money he was signed for is fairly unforgivable. Three days later, Hammond got Salmons back for a quality price. It was like every move they made, they followed with one on the other end of the sense spectrum. One thing is for certain: the Bucks are good at power forward. After watching Larry Sanders look fairly incredible at Summer League, I'm ready to commit to a bet that the Bucks will lead the league in blocks next season. With Bogut, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and whoever else gets in on the act, I think they have a good shot at that.

The question is if the unbalanced nature of their acquisitions (all high-usage players) will maintain a balance with their defense to ensure they reach last year's performance and exceed it. And on that front, it's a mixed grade.

Grade: B-


Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: August 1, 2010 5:54 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Boozer is a all-star, Seems to be overstating his performance, don't you think?  Yeah, he made two all-star teams in 8 years, the last one three seasons ago.  I don't know if that makes him "an all-star" unless you're calling everyone whoever made an all-star team an all-star.  On the other hand, it's a pretty useless comment.  Amare Stoudemire might be the most overrated guy in the league and he's a much more current and frequent all-star than Boozer.  The Bulls got a nice rebounder and mid-range shooter in Boozer.  He's just not a real low-post creator, and he and Korver just happen to be defensive liabilities as well. 

I like the players the Bulls picked up.  But when you put the whole team picture together they still have some obvious holes.  Maybe their good enough to win their division, but they could really disappoint as well.  Interesting to see how their season progresses.

Since: Jan 15, 2010
Posted on: July 30, 2010 5:51 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

I cannot believe the Pacers were given a better grade for their offseason than the Bulls and to par the Bucks who got Maggette, Gooden and Salmons NBA bench players on any really decent team the same grade as the Bulls. Boozer is a all-star, Korver set NBA record for 3 point percentage in a year. Brewer was a starter on a very good playoff calibur team in the Jazz for a few years and They also signed CJ Watson, and Omer Asik and don't forget they are still pursing another SG might be T-Mac or Rudy Fernandez. So if your going to write an article be realistic and use some common sense the Bulls deserve better rating.

Here is ratings that actually make sense.

Bulls - B+
Pacers - C+
Bucks - B -
Pistons- F
Cavaliers - D

Division standings for 2011

Bulls - 54 -28 1st place
Bucks - 47 -35 2nd place
Cavaliers - 44 -38 3rd place
Pacers - 34-48 - 4th place
Pistions - 28 - 54 - 5th place

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:05 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

So let me get this straight, Indiana, who drafted three draft choices had the best offseason? How much better will the Pacers be as a team next year than they were this year. And no, the Bulls didn't get Amare (thank goodness) they got the guy they wanted in Boozer instead. 
Bottom line is the Bulls went from a team that squeaked into the playoffs to a team that may be in the Eastern finals. They actually improved the most of any team, so how did they not have the best offseason?

Since: Mar 29, 2010
Posted on: July 30, 2010 1:37 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Look out for the Bulls this year.  They got exactly what they needded and still have plenty of cap space to pull off a big trade "if" needed.  I know they didn't sign LeBron, D Wade, or Bosh, which is fine with me. 

I think that everyone seems to be overlooking a guy by the name of Derrick Rose.  He may not have the hype or popularity of the free agents that were available; going into just his 3rd NBA season I invite you to watch this unselfish, highly skilled, humble player quietly shred NBA defenses and fill up stat sheets all year long (barring injury).  If Rose tried on D Wade's shoes, he'd figure out that his feet are too big.

The Bulls are stacked with role players that will know their role and play their part.  Chemistry and team depth are two key components of championship teams that can't be measured on stat sheets. 

What good is having a high horse power engine, without a vehicle to put it in on race day?

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: July 30, 2010 11:46 am

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

 if you compare the Bulls v. Bucks offseasons, it's pretty clear which team got dramatically better and which team has questions marks.The Bucks picked up Gooden, Maggette, Salmons, and drafted Sanders to go with Jennings and Bogut. Meanwhile, the Bulls signed an old man and a bunch of role players. If Redd can stay healthy this year (which I assume is the huge question mark you speak of) I would even say the Bucks might be better than the Bulls. Chicago might be the most overated team right now in the NBA, in Salmons, they lost a vital scorer last year, and Boozer I don't think has gone injury free for a whole season in several years.

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: July 30, 2010 11:39 am

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

The Bulls certainly had a chance at Wade - the guy is from Chicago, and lives there in the off season. If you sell him on Chicago, you get Bosh by default. Instead, you guys got an aging Boozer, and a bunch of mediocre role players. I think Boozers numbers will drop since Rose is much more selfish than Williams, and he isn't a guy that can create for himself by any stretch. I think Amare is overated and his injury concerns are hard to ignore, but you guys clearly went after max guys from the draft on, and got no one. I'd even say a C+ is flattering. If you hadn't clearly been going after the big fish, the grade would undoubtedly been higher though.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: July 30, 2010 10:02 am

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Boozer plays slightly better D than Stoudemire...which doesn't say much. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: July 30, 2010 10:00 am

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Hey Moore. Your entire article is brutal. Your grading is bad and your reasoning is worse. I don't often call out the writer - in fact I never call out the writer...but...if you're getting paid for this, you need to do a better job. If you're not, quit wasting my time with your shoddy analysis. I'll keep reading but I sure hope your next article is thought out properly. Ouch. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

With the acquisitions of Korver, Brewer, and one of the other shooters the Bulls are pursuing, they have developed a very strong perimeter game.  This makes no sense.  They have not "developed a very strong perimeter game".  They added Korver, who obviously helps.  Unfortunately, he's a serious defensive liaibility, but that doesn't change the fact he helps the perimeter offense.  Brewer, on the other hand, can't shoot.  He doesn't have to be defended beyond 10 feet.  That's a negative on the perimeter game.  And the third fantasy player?  How can you say they've improved by including someone they haven't signed?  IF they get another solid shooter, then their chances of contending will skyrocket.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:40 pm

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

They didn't want Amare' so they signed a 19-10 player in Boozer who actually plays defense and can rebounds on a nightly basis. Ha ha!  You said Carlos Boozer plays defense.  What a hoot!

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