Global tourists flock to the United Center’s Michael Jordan statue. The venue that once housed the world’s most marketable (and arguably greatest) athlete now hosts a laughing-stock of a team. With homage to the Talking Heads “And you may ask yourself, well how did I get here?”
The Ben Wallace Signing
What did (hopefully soon-to-be-ex) GM John Paxson do when he had a desperate need for low-post scoring? He gave 4 years and $64 million to a big with absolutely no offensive skills. Big Ben’s disappointing play and general surliness led to him being dealt in a garbage-for-more-expensive garbage trade with Cleveland…and the Bulls current status as WAY over quota on “combo” guards who really can’t play either guard position very well.
Drafting Joakim Noah & Tyrus Thomas
I screamed at the television on NBA Draft night 2007 when Noah donned a Bulls cap to complement his suit that only a Dean of Clown College would wear. If Noah’s lack of discipline and offensive skills doesn’t repulse you, perhaps his disjointed “Silver spoon/paper plate” public persona will. Noah tries to pass himself as dollar store when his whole life has country club. Thomas, a fellow top ten overall selection, has also been all sizzle and very little steak. His extraordinary athleticism going underutilized and made him a Jay Williams like bust.
Bumped from First Class to Coach
Firing Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve 2007 was not only Dickensian, but also the worst thing to happen to this team defensively. Sure, he had some faults, but at least he motivated them to actually guard, which is more than I can say about Vinny Del Negro, a man who (rightfully) possessed no previous head coaching experience. Skiles, the current Milwaukee Bucks coach has his new team looking down on the Chi in the standings. Change we can believe in for 2010 starts with giving Del Negro, a man who’s ideas on defense are about as accurate ad Donald Rumsfeld, a pink slip.
Remember when there was talk about Loul Deng becoming the Bulls’ next All-Star and cornerstone? Do you recall Halloween of ’06 when Kobe Bryant trade rumors swirled about, with Deng and Kirk Hinrich deemed (try not to laugh) “untouchable?” In short, Pax must be held accountable for his inability to evaluate talent properly.
Paul M. Banks is a contributor for The Washington Times and founder of the webzine The Sports Bank.net