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.

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Tags: Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls John Salmons

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