Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Some Big Ben Bashing

"Still a Second City." Ira Winderman. Sporting News.

Sorry, still not sold -- even with Ben Wallace in Chicago and out of Detroit. My money, at least when it comes to the playoffs, remains on the Pistons.

Question: Who's been "selling" the fact that the Bulls are better than the Pistons? I really don't think anybody believes that at this point.

Detroit returns All-Stars Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups, and Tayshaun Prince could add that designation.

Being an All-Star is relatively meaningless. See Vince Carter circa 2004.

If Rasheed Wallace accepts he has to play more at center, he could do plenty to offset the loss of his namesake. Rasheed has shied from the physical, in-the-paint role since his peak years with the Blazers, but when the Pistons' best possible lineup (not necessarily the one they would start games with) is compared with the Bulls', why is it that Chicago is suddenly so universally viewed as the better team?

I absolutely love that the "Piston's best possible lineup" is "not necessarily the one they would start games with." Flip Saunders for Coach of the Year!

Go ahead, score at home:

I don't think you want me to. But oblige you, I shall.

Rasheed vs. Ben?

Ben, 05-06: 7.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.8 spg, 2.21 bpg.
Rasheed, 05-06: 15.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.6 bpg.

And I think this little stat will explain the scoring discrepancy quite well:

Ben, 05-06: 5.67 FGA/g
Rasheed, 05-06: 13.0 FGA/g

Antonio McDyess vs. Andres Nocioni?

Good thing you concede defeat on this one (further down) or I would have some harsh words indeed.

Prince vs. Luol Deng?

Deng, 05-06: 14.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
Prince, 05-06: 14.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 spg, 0.7 spg, 0.5 bpg

This one's the very definition of a tie... and yet you think Prince wins?

Hamilton vs. Kirk Hinrich? Billups vs. Ben Gordon or Chris Duhon?

Great. Compare the SG with the PG and the PG with the SG. That sure makes a lot of sense. Why didn't we just compare Hamilton with Ben Wallace? Or even better, why not Eric Piatkowski with Kelvin Cato?

This judge's card: 4-1 Pistons, with Nocioni getting a slight nod over McDyess at power forward.

This judge's card: You are crazy. You set out to prove something quite easily provable- that the Pistons are better than the Bulls- and failed disastrously. Why in the world would you even attempt to make individual comparisons? The whole reason the Pistons enjoyed their success was their willingness to share the ball, make the extra pass, and all that other stuff.

Yes, the Bulls have superior depth and the promise of newcomers Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha. But in a playoff situation, depth tends to be mitigated,

Depth tends to be mitigated? Mark Cuban on the phone. He'd like to have a word with you.

and youth almost always takes a back seat.

Ever hear of a guy called Dwyane Wade? Lebron James? Tim Duncan circa 1999?

Ultimately, Chicago remains an all-or-nothing perimeter proposition that plays off feeds from a well-crafted drive-and-kick game.

What's wrong with a drive-and-kick game? Ever hear of Kobe and Shaq? Duncan and Spurs guards?

The Wallace who could have benefited the Bulls the most is Rasheed, with his varied offensive repertoire

Do you seriously think that Chicago tried to get Ben Wallace for his offense? Because... they didn't.

and defensive length.

Rasheed Wallace does not play better defense than Ben Wallace. Almost nobody does. And if you don't believe me, scroll up and read those stats again.

No one doubts the energy, commitment and leadership delivered by Ben Wallace. But the reality is his rebounding average has declined the past three years and his blocked shots average has gone down the past four.

Fair enough. Chicago's certainly taking some sort of risk here with that contract.

The game also is changing. David Stern's push to have defense abolished likely will gain momentum. This certainly is not a time to be playing four on five.

Wow. Wow. Wow. David Stern's push to have defense abolished? Wow. This is the height of idiocy. I suggest you go listen to David Stern the next time he talks. I'm not even going to comment.

With the $60 million spent on Wallace in a four-year commitment that takes the center up to his 36th birthday, the Bulls essentially purchased hope. Considering where the franchise has been since the Jordan era ended, that is a priceless commodity.

And that is bad, how?

But the ultimate challenge for Chicago has not changed.

Would you please define their "Ultimate Challenge?"

The growth into a legitimate contender must come from the youthful perimeter players VP John Paxson has collected.

So their "Ultimate Challenge" is becoming a legitimate contender, then? Fine.

In that respect, Ben Wallace stands as a bridge to the future, a conduit to greater success.


But he hardly is an immediate trigger to a title.

At least they'll succeed in the Ultimate Challenge!