Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hawks, Bears and Bulls

Three big stories in Chicago these days are the Black Hawks, the Bears and the Bulls, all for different reasons. 

The Hawks are the biggest positive story - they sit atop their division and lead the league in points.  They have talented young stars and it seems that everyone knows who Toews, Kane and Sharp are.  But more surprisingly, people know who Michael Handzus, Marcus Kruger, and Brandon Bollig are!  Leddy, Saad, Rozsival, and Oduya are also recognized names these days!  They are creating fans as we speak!  That's the way to do it.

The Bears have a different story - they're right there in the playoff hunt, and have a minor controversy at the most important position.  While Jay Cutler has been injured, backup Josh McCown has been more than serviceable - he's been good, and even outstanding against the Cowboys.  So, going into Cleveland, there is actually a debate about who should play.  Looks like it's gonna be Cutler, but then McCown goes and wins the offensive player of the week award (or whatever they call it) for his performance against the 'Boys.  So what do you do?  Risk the game on the clearly more talented, but possibly very rusty Jay Cutler, who at his best is still (though not as much) prone to turnovers because of trying to make big plays instead of taking what's given to him by opposing defenses?  Or go the conservative route and let McCown take the helm again?  What if he wins?  Then what happens for the following week? 

I guess it's nice to have something like that to discuss instead of just how terrible the defense has been for most of the season. 

And then there's the Bulls.  I'm more a Bulls fan than a Hawks or Bears fan, I think.  But this Bulls team, with an out-for-the-season Derrick Rose (again) and injuries to Deng and Butler and Noah (the usual suspects, with new addition Jimmy Butler), has been pretty bad.  So there's a legitimate question:  Do they acknowledge what most fans and sports talkers seem to know and accept, and that is, that they will not be winning an NBA championship this year without Rose, and play for next year where there is a very strong draft class?  Or do they try to squeak into the playoffs with a 7 or 8 seed and see a first round exit, and a consequently lower draft pick? 

This organization should know what they're going to do with players like Deng and Boozer.  Are they part of next year's team?  If not, then Deng should be moved.  Not only would it make the team worse in the short run, but it might get them an extra first round pick and free up minutes for rookie Tony Snell.  If Deng is going to be resigned after the season, then he should be babied along to try to make sure he comes back at full strength along with Rose next year.

I personally don't think Deng is that "second option" that they seem to need to get past the other elite teams.  I'd deal him.  I'd deal almost anyone except for Butler, Snell and Rose (of course).  I'd even deal Noah if there was a crazy package of picks and young players,  though I'd be fine with having Noah on the team as the center for a long time.  Likewise with Gibson.  I wouldn't give him away but I wouldn't hesitate to deal him for a package of picks and young talent if I could get it. 

So we'll see what happens.  We might have another Stanley Cup come next summer, we might have a Bears playoff appearance (or we might not), and we might witness a sensible rebuilding program for the Bulls. 

Then we can see what the Cubs and Sox have done to make themselves better in the long term. 


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