Save Andres Nocioni!

21 01 2009

Word out here in Chicago is that John Paxson is shopping Larry Hughes to the New Jersey Nets.  Supposedly, it’s Hughes for Bobby Simmons.  This doesn’t really upset me at all because I’ve never liked Larry Hughes as a player.

I don’t like Bobby Simmons much more either.  The only time the guy ever showed up on anyone’s radar was when he was in the final year of his contract with the Clippers.  After that, dude’s stock dropped like Apple after Steve Jobs took vaca.

However, with Bobby Simmons, the Bulls have Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni and Bobby Simmons at the 3.  Major log-jam and since everyone just knows it’s only a matter of time before they deal Andres…

I think it’s about time that I ready myself, emotionally, for this break-up.  I did the same when they dumped Tyson Chandler.  But it’ll be just as hard.

I love you, Andres Nocioni.

Thabo Sefolosha (07-08 Synopsis)

20 05 2008

Thabo Sefolosha – Chicago Bulls Guard
Measurements: 6’5″ – 215 lbs.
Experience: Second-year, 23 years old
From: Switzerland

2007- 2008 Season Statistics
6.7 points | 42.8% FG| 33.0% 3-pt FG | 3.7 rebounds | 1.9 assists | 20.5 minutes

Season Highs
Points: 22 (2x)
Rebounds: 13 (vs. Detroit)
Assists: 7 (@ Milwaukee)
Steals: 4 (vs. Miami)
Blocks: 4 (@ Minnesota)
Minutes: 44 (vs. Indiana)

What This Year Proved

Thabo Sefolosha can be relied on as a starter. 

In 47 games off the bench, Thabo averaged 4.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 steals.  In 22 games as a starter, Thabo increased his averages to 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals.  The increase in productivity can be attributed directly to increased floor time.  But the fact is that this is a young man with a lot of promise.  He’s got the physical tools and they should look to develop him further.

When the Bulls drafted Thabo, they looked at him as a combo-guard.  He could initiate the offense and play on the wings when necessary.  This season proved that he’s not the steadiest hand as he brings the ball up.  Thabo doesn’t turn the ball over at an alarming rate but he doesn’t appear confident as he crosses the timeline. 

Thabo’s a great finisher.  He can finish strong and very, very high.  He’s also surprisingly adept at using the basket to his advantage as he executed a variety of reverse lay-ups in traffic.

Quote Him

“I don’t believe I really chose to play basketball.  I simply ended up playing the game after it chose me.” — Thabo, on how he fell in love with the game.

Can you smell the cheese too?

Looking Forward

Thabo has range but the coaching staff should work on tweaking his shooting stroke.  The practice of changing players’ shooting form used to be frowned upon.  It was the equivalent of an Amish teenager getting a nose-job.  But a lot of teams have been experimenting with it, notably the San Antonio Spurs.  It should be considered because Thabo has a very odd stroke.  It seems like he puts too much wrist into it and he doesn’t seem to release the ball at the top of his jump.  This can certainly help his 33.0% clip from long-range and 42.8% clip overall.

Since Larry Hughes arrived in Chicago, I’ve described Thabo as redundant.  What he will want to do is get a good training camp in and impress the new Bulls coach.  He needs to print the following out and show it to Reinsdorf and the new coach:

Larry Hughes
As a starter:  11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists
Off the bench: 13.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists

While Thabo is clearly better as a starter, his counterpart is arguably better starting the game in his warm-ups.  He should also cite the fact that Larry is nearing 30 and hasn’t played a lick of position defense for the past 3 years.  Thabo, on the other hand, was praised for his defensive savvy by the demanding Scott Skiles and cites his own defense as the single aspect that got him noticed.  Entice them with your potential, Thabo!

Season Grade: C

Thabo was solid.  When the Bulls eliminated themselves from the playoffs, Thabo was an acknowledged bright spot.  The problem is that he didn’t snatch the opportunity and cement himself as an unquestioned rotation player.