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Talking Hoops Pt. 1

by Ricky O'Donnell on November 6, 2007 at 8:32PM

Over at Depressed Fan, Brian has started a new series of back-and-fourth conversation called Talking Hoops. Head over to his post to see how this is all working. Here's the first two questions he gave me:

1.  OK, I'll get the softball out of the way. Kobe in Chicago, yeah or nay? How much are you willing to give up to get him? Do you need him? Do you like him?

I already addressed this in an earlier post, but here it goes again. Kobe Bryant is easily the best basketball player in the world and no one else is even close. He’s the league’s top perimeter defender whenever he needs to be, and his offensive game is more complete then anyone since MJ. The Bulls would be dumb, dumb, dumb not to do everything in their powers to trade for him. As I’ve maintained all along, I do not think Kobe will get traded this season, or will ever be a Bull. It appears the time for a deal to Chicago has already passed.

If it were up to me, this is what I would offer to get him: Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace and two future first round draft picks. Obviously, the Bulls should be everything in their power to keep Deng at all costs, but if it comes to it, I would have no problem including him in his deal. Look at it this way: with Bryant on the roster, Ben Gordon becomes irrelevant. Scoring is the only thing Gordon brings to the table, and Kobe would handle that duty by himself. There would be no need for a 6’1 shooting guard who can’t defend or play the point. So that loss would not really affect the Bulls at all. Wallace is probably someone Kobe would want to play with, but the fact of the matter is he has a huge contract and is far too flawed offensively. Joakim Noah would step right in and give the Bulls at least 85% of what Wallace would this season. Then there’s Deng, the man everyone wants to keep. I love him as much as anyone, but if Deng is the only real asset you’re losing in a trade for Kobe, I can deal with it. Deng and Kobe would be great together, but I don't think Deng's ceiling is as high as some Bulls fans do. Sure, he's good, but will he ever be a top 15 NBA player? I don't think so. There is nothing wrong with that because this league is littered with stars, but in my opinion, Deng will never develop into a primary scoring option on a championship level team.

2. To me, and pretty much anyone else who is not a Bulls' fan, Kirk Hinrich looks like a whiny bitch who can't stay out of foul trouble. Is this sour grapes on our part, or does he rub Bulls fans the wrong way too?

Hinrich draws a lot of mixed reviews from Bulls fans. I think he’s their second best player, and suffers because of the makeup of the team. Hinrich is a true point guard, a player who can run an offense and knock down a jumpshot, whether from midrange or behind the 3-point line. He’s also a fantastic defender who gives up insurmountable size to the opposition’s best perimeter scorer. You want Kirk Hinrich to stop complaining about fouls? Ok, tell him to stop guarding LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Paul Pierce. Gordon’s presence on the Bulls gives Hinrich a less than ideal and nearly impossible task: guard the other team’s best offensive player every night, and when Gordon isn’t in the game, or when he’s not hot, be the team’s primary scoring option as a two-guard. Few players could successfully pull off this role, and Hinrich has his troubles with it.

Put Kirk on a different team and I believe he flourishes (which is why I wouldn’t want to include him in a Kobe deal, unless it came down to him or Deng). Take a team like the Charlotte Bobcats for example. With Hinrich at point guard, Gerald Wallace and J-Rich at the wings, and an inside scorer like Emeka Okefor, I believe Hinrich would be an all-star. Wallace would always draw the toughest defensive assignment, and Hinrich would be the fourth scoring option. He’d set up Okefor and Richardson, and could make a team like that play 5x better. Unfortunately, that isn’t the current situation with the Bulls, with an extremely flawed shooting guard and center and no real inside scorer. Does Kirk Hinrich complain a lot? Sure, but you would too in his situation.

Now onto questions for the other bloggers on the network.

Pacers questions for The GM:

1.    You’re team has some nice parts in Jermaine O’Neal, Danny Granger, and even Mike Dunleavy, but is in desperate need of a go-to perimeter scorer. That being said, as a Pacers fan, would you be upset if you’re team got off to a bad start and then tanked the season. With OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, and a facilitator like Derrick Rose all likely in this upcoming draft class, how would you feel if Indiana lost on purpose (assuming they don’t continue to play as well as they have so far.)

2. Danny Granger was a guy I like a lot coming out of New Mexico. How good can he be, and what has he showed you since arriving in Indiana?

Knicks questions to SML:

1. We Bulls fans are familiar with Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry from their time here, and also with former Whitney Young and DePaul star Quentin Richardson. How have those players done since arriving in New York?

2. I love the idea of putting Randolph and Curry on the court together. They’re pretty much the exact same player, with similar bodies (I would say Randolph shoots and rebounds a little better, Curry is better in the low post), how do you think this pairing will work in New York?

3. How has former DePaul star Wilson Chandler looked so far in his brief time with the Knicks?

76ers questions to Brian:

1. It’s been nearly a year since it ended- how do you feel about the Allen Iverson Era in Philadelphia?

2. Can Lou Williams be a star in this league? He came out of high school straight to the NBA as a lightning quick guard who’s a little undersized and wasn’t a great shooter. How he progressed through the years for the 76ers?

Bulls questions to Jack Cobra:

1. Tyrus Thomas does some amazing things on the basketball court- look no further than his game against Philadelphia earlier this year as an example. How good can he be? Could be develop into a Shawn Marion type of all around beast, or does he lack the basketball IQ to ever reach that level?

2. You already have writers on your site named Jack Cobra, Bruce Paine, and Buck Rampage. Who’s next, Lance Uppercut?

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