Central Division Off-Season Grades; Bulls Get A; Bucks C+?

Britt Robson from SI.com is compiling off-season grades for each division in the NBA.  A few days ago he published his grades for the Central Division.

Chicago Bulls – A

Cleveland Cavaliers – F

Detroit Pistons – D+

Indiana Pacers – D

Milwaukee Bucks – C+

A C+ for the Bucks???  That downright pissed me off when I first saw it, I know I shouldn’t give a crap about off-season grades but we are almost three months away from any games yet.  Even when reading his reasoning for the Bulls getting an A and the Bucks a C+ I don’t like it.

Chicago Bulls A

He likes the addition of Carlos Boozer, which is a solid addition but when you consider the moves they have made in the last year to clear up space for two of the big three, Boozer is a crappy consolation prize.  The Bulls were hoping for Lebron James AND Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer does not provide the same game-changing ability as even Bosh let alone James or both. 

The Bulls  get praised for strengthening their back-court, which they purposely weakened to go after James, Bosh, and/or Dwayne Wade.  The Bulls traded away John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich, and replaced them with Kyle Korverand C.J. Watson.  They were better off with Salmons and Hinrich.

The Bulls also get praised for bringing in Tom Thibodeau to coach.  Nothing against Thibodeau, but hot assistants who have went on to fail as head coaches have been a dime a dozen in this league.  I do not think your off-season grade should be boosted for bringing in an assistant.  We need to see how he deals with being “The Man” before we praise him.

The only mention of anything negative was that the Bulls did not get any of the big three.  That is not enough, the Bulls weakened their team to go after those players and the result is Carlos Boozer and a weaker back court with a rookie head coach.  This feels like a situation where somebody wants to like the Bulls so the writer ignores some negatives and accentuates the positives.  I cannot fathom a grade above B+.  There was also no mention of the Bulls trading away John Salmons to the rival Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks C+

The new excitement around the Bucks is mentioned but it is also mentioned early that this writer is not excited about the Bucks moves.

In the offseason, the front office seized on this momentum to make a series of roster moves that have fans buzzing. (Many of them were detrimental or overrated, but more on that later.) 

The resiging of John Salmons is mentioned, but no positives for the Bucks or negatives for the Bulls are mentioned.  It basically reads, “The Bucks signed Salmons, a player they got from the Bulls, moving on.”  It does not mention that Salmons drove the bus to the playoffs for the Bucks,  just that he helped boost the Bucks to the playoffs.

John Salmons (pictured) came over in a late-season trade with the Bulls and helped boost the Bucks into the playoffs, just as he had done the previous year for Chicago after being acquired from Sacramento. The Bucks are counting on Salmons to continue the shrewd shot selection (which included more penetration in Milwaukee than in Chicago) as the mid-range option between Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut.

The moves to the bottom of the rotation received the most praise of anything, adding Jon Brochman, Larry Sanders, and Keyon Dooling.

GM John Hammond did his best work filling out the roster depth. Forward Jon Brockman, obtained from Sacramento for Darnell Jackson, is a competent banger; rookie forward Larry Sanders, the 15th pick in the draft, is an athletic leaper whom Scott Skiles will develop; and Keyon Dooling is a cheaper (though less-valuable) backup point guard than Luke Ridnour.

The big negatives were Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden.  The writer feels Maggette is too much of a chemistry gamble and Gooden cost too much.  The Bucks need a guy who can get to the line, that is why they gambled on Maggette, if he acts up he will not see the floor.  The Bucks have been desperate for a power forward for years, decades even.  I do not think they overpaid for Gooden, he will be a nice compliment to Bogut.

The losses of Luke Ridnour and Kurt Thomas are also mentioned as negatives.  This is where I could really feel the bias towards the Bulls.  The writer essentially states that Kurt Thomas moving from Milwaukee to Chicago is more of an imact than John Salmons going from Chicago to Milwaukee.  Bullshit!

The writer’s last comment about the Bucks may very well be correct, but I think he looked at these grades with a glass half full for the Bulls, glass half empty for the Bucks.

I am at odds with the consensus that the Bucks really improved this offseason. Without a doubt they have more talent. What’s less certain is whether it will get them more than last season’s 46 wins.

It is the off-season and it is not worth getting worked up at all with articles like these.  I think the Bucks had a better than a C+ off-season and I also think the Bulls had a worse than an A off-season.  Grades will not matter when the regular season starts.

Tags: Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls John Salmons

  • chookchook

    you forgot about the bulls adding ronnie brewer (which is better than salmons) and your kurt thomas along with keith bogans for extra depth and they arent even done yet. you guys added gunner corey maggette who’s only worried about his numbers and journeymen keyon dooling and drew gooden. so im wondering what do you think your grade should be?

  • Justin Malaise

    I think the Bucks should have gotten a solid B. I do not think the Bulls did much better or better at all. Both had good off-seasons but I do not think either is worth an A. I think the Bulls lost a lot with Salmons and Hinrich. Boozer is a plus, but not worth an A, especially when the team was hoping for James/Bosh/Wade in some combination.

    I do not think Ronnie Brewer is better than John Salmons.

    The Bucks got no credit for Chris Douglas Roberts and are really getting hammered for Maggette. I am anxious to see how Maggette fits in since so many think it was a bad move. Scott Skiles runs the show in Milwaukee and it is a tight ship, if someone is causing problems that player will sit.

    • Justin Malaise

      If the grades would have been B for the Bucks and B+ for the Bulls I would not have had enough of a problem to write an article about it. But an A versus a C+??? I do not see that, but maybe I’m an idiot.

  • brett

    I’m sorry but I disagree. One major argument is Salmons, but looked terrible before being traded to the Bucks. After being traded he looked a lot like the Salmons that the Bulls got from Sacramento. Don’t get your hopes up too much. Also, Heinrich was very valuable but was making too much money. He didn’t produce enough offense and was undersized for a 2. The Bulls knew they needed to keep Rose and Noah. I take them over Jennings and Bogut. Now the bulls have a great pick n roll player with a hell of a post game in Boozer. He can also pass and runs the floor well. Korver brings a very nice three point shot. Brewer brings defense and athleticism. C.J. Watson is a very nice scoring option off the bench. The bulls also kept Gibson, who was a solid starter and should flourish in a back-up role.
    This was an off season grade… who did the Bucks pick up? Gooden is ok, but no where near Boozer. Magette brings athleticism but lacks consistency. I apologize but the Bulls had a much better off season.

    • Justin Malaise

      The Salmons signing is also considered and off-season acquisition.

      The Bucks also added Jon Brockman, who many are excited about, Chris Douglas Roberts who can play some wing, and backup point guard Keyon Dooling. The Bucks also drafted Larry Sanders, who will contribute this season.

      If I order the best players between the two teams I would go 1. Boozer 2. Salmons, from there I do not see a clear-cut advantage for the Bulls over the Bucks. Maybe a slight advantage because Boozer is the best of the bunch but not a A versus C+ advantage.

      • brett

        Boozer is a career 20 an 10 guy. I still say Salmons is suspect. I tell you he played the exact same for the bulls the year before. JOHN BROCKMAN? Are you serious? Keyon Dooling? I have a rookie autographed basketball card of his…. Do you want it? I promise ill send it to you for shipping cost alone.

        • brett

          Boozer is a career 20 an 10 guy. I still say Salmons is suspect. I tell you he played the exact same for the bulls the year before. JOHN BROCKMAN? Are you serious? Keyon Dooling? I have a rookie autographed basketball card of his…. Do you want it? I promise ill send it to you for shipping cost alone. CDR… yes i know who you are talking about. 1 he flourished with Rose 2. hes too thin to play pro ball. I work with strength and conditioning with athletes. I know what a real one looks like.

          • Justin Malaise

            We will just have to see what happens with Salmons. He has been moved some in his career, but guys with moveable contracts get moved.

            Dooling, Brockman and CDR are for the bench. I am not sure what to expect from CDR, he is athletic and can create his own shot. As for Brockman, there were numberous Kings fans who were not happy to see him go, take that for what it is worth.

            Boozer’s point totals did benefit from Deron Williams, will Rose be able to distribute like Williams? Rose does not have the shooting ability of Williams so teams can sag off on the pick and roll.

      • Holla

        Wait are you serious? I mean Rose and Noah are better than your entire team….If you say jennings is better than Rose, I would tell this biased blog to throw up on me

        Obviously injury prone bogut is gonna be done about a month into the season

        Salmons got his contract…now he will go back to playing how he always does….where he doesnt care

        Maybe you guys know a lot more than the NBA, not sure if Salmons is considered even in the elite…you guys make it seem like the guy is god over there…

        The argument that we should get a lower grade because we didnt get the big three doesnt make sense….we tried we lost…
        that means you didnt try but does that mean you get a higher grade for not trying or them not even consider to come there?

  • Edward

    Wow: Bucks C+ bulls A

  • http://deleted Edward

    Go bucks

  • http://deleted Tony

    Go Bucks!

    Grades Bucks C Range
    Chicago A Range
    Boston D range

    my post expires,so cant elaborate

  • aircentral

    When will writers such as this learn to do their homework?
    The bulls only addition of notice was boozer.
    The rest are career back-up retreads.
    Now the bucks completely revamped an already play-off roster.
    The bucks additions are made up of starters and probable future starters.
    Bucks A Bulls C
    Next time write about something you might know something about, gob shite!

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  • Will

    Thing is.. if you go back through past Britt Robson columns, he is an unabashed Bulls fan and tends to ride the Bucks even last season when they were clearly on par. His bias is evident in this piece too.

    • Justin Malaise

      It could just be as simple as that. I always make the mistake of assuming national writers for sites/magazines like ESPN and Sports Illustrated would not have a bias, or at least hide it. I have definitely felt Robson leaning towards Chicago in at least a couple articles this summer.
      It could make it fun to hammer him if the Bucks beat out the Bulls for the Central.