By Cameron Heffernan
The possible Adam Morrison 2.0 is reportedly signing with the Bulls.
Sources in the NBA say former Brigham Young Star, and bench aficionado for the Sacramento Kings, Jimmer Fredette is prepared to sign with the motley crew of basketball teams, the Chicago Bulls.
Fredette has dwindled in obscurity since his flying high days of tournament glory in 2011. The sharpshooter was drafted 10th overall that summer in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and subsequently traded for scraps to the Kings. In three years with the kings he put up pedestrian numbers in pedestrian minutes, but his percentages at the least, made improvements:
2011 – 61 games played (7 started), 18 minutes per game, 7.6 points per game, with percentages of .386 field goal/.361 from three/.833 free throw.
2012 – 69 gp (0 started), 14 mpg, 7.2 ppg, .421/.417/.859.
2013 – 41 gp (0 started), 11.3 mpg, 5.9 ppg, .475/.493/.895.
So he’s obviously upped his percentages as stated. The real question is: Is that only because his minutes have declined, and thus there are less opportunities to suck? Or is it because he is evolving as a player and this is the same kid who won every major college award including, the Wooden, Oscar Robertson and Naismith awards?
The basketball fan in me wants it to be the latter. especially with how damn good the Bulls have been lately.
In all honesty, this whole thing was so I could gush over the Bulls. This is a team that has a starting five of Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah, and they’re fourth in the Eastern Conference at 32-26, second overall in defense, seventh in rebounding, and last in points per game. They are literally beating teams with only defense.
The Bulls sat at 9-16 after a four game losing streak to Toronto, Orlando, Houston, and OKC. Since then the Bulls have gone 23-10, sent Joakin Noah to the All-Star game, and beat the Splash Brothers of Golden State with their league worst offense. They’re a testament to solid coaching and teamwork. The Pacers, Heat, Thunder, and Spurs, are too, but not the way the injury ridden, originally dumpster dwelling, Bulls are. Derrick Rose isn’t supposed to return this season, well at least till the playoffs, but that still hasn’t stopped this train of paint clogging doom.
This is a team that hasn’t had it’s “best” player since November, traded it’s second best player in January and has had the worst offense in the league. I can’t stress this enough, they only score 93.1/ppg but only allow 92/ppg. In the game in which they beat the Warriors, 103-83, they shut down a team that averages 103 points per game, and that was the second of a back-to-back (they won 107-103 against Atlanta on Tuesday).
Back to Thibodeau and Noah though.
Thibs first: The man is a coaching wizard, the likes not named Greg Popovich, Phil Jackson, or Doc Rivers, have ever seen. Taking this dumpster fire… no, tire fire of a team from “started from the bottom. Now we here,” status, was no small feet. Especially with Mike Dunleavy as your starting small forward, and Carlos Boozer and his spray painted head (not so much this season. Carlos, you learned, and it’s too bad for all of us.) as your wing stoppers is begging for “shots from 10-feet away and wide open,” all day. Thibs is having none of that shit from the looks of it. ‘Da Bulls currently rank as the second best defensive team in the league, only behind the Pacers. Since Thibs start in 2010, his defensive rankings are as follows:
2010 – first with a 62-20 record.
2011 – second with a 50-16 record.
2012 – sixth with no Derrick Rose, barley any Noah and a 45-37 record.
They’ve made the playoffs every year, and made the conference finals in 2010. He’s a coaching god stuck on a frugal franchise and may never lift the O’Brien trophy due to the nonsense of “we don’t want to go over the cap” or “we can’t afford someone that good, so here’s Carlos Boozer and for a time Nate Robinson.”
Then there’s Noah: Joakim is a monster on defesne, always has been and always will be. In the game against the Warriors he only put up eight points to go with a whopping 17 rebounds and seven assists. The guy can’t score and has one of the most unconventional jumps shots ever (like a cross between Wilt’s free throw and Shawn Marion’s three). But sweet Christ is he the living embodiment of what someone means when they say “he’s got Moxy and no one can take that away.” Noah’s stats aren’t the prettiest (12/11.5/4.6 with 1.1 steal and 1.4 blocks per-game, to go with splits of .476 FG/.724 FT) and the MVP chants he got against the Warriors may have been a little unjustified. But if there is an MVP not named LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Paul George it’s that Sideshow Bob lookalike, Joakim Noah.
With the dumpster diving that the Thibs has done with the NBA waiver wire this season – the addition of D.J. Augustin a bit ago – now adding Fredette, will immensely help this offensively inept machine of defense. And hopefully we can see the most amazing run toThe Finals by any team, ever. Ever. When Derrick Rose returns. Oh, and maybe I’ll win the lottery, because Tom Thibodeau is this generations Bizzarro Jerry Sloan. He’s probably never gonna win it but he’ll go down as a specialist who dominated the league when he could. Actually, Sloan had a lot of talent. No way is he doing what Thibs has done. Long live the true King of the North.