I never thought the Chicago Bulls would miss Kirk Hinrich this much. But four games into the NBA season, (that means we’re 1/20th of the way through the season already) you can see how he mattered more than we thought he did last summer.
Keith Bogans, the second oldest guy on the Bulls behind Kurt Thomas, is the starter at the shooting guard position. Two new wings imported from Utah, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, can also play at that spot.
All have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and so far no single player looks complete enough to be the true “first-string” two guard.
By Paul M. Banks
Bogans is a role player at best, and his small salary verifies that fact. I think Chicago Bulls Confidential summed it up best:
Bogans had a decent preseason, he hit his open threes, defended well, and basically didn’t kill us at the SG position. On comes the regular season, and thus far he’s shooting 25% from the three point line and 27% from the field.
He is still moving the ball and rebounding fairly well out of the guard spot, but his shooting and scoring are so off that it really hurts the team when he’s out there.
Bogans described himself as a spot up shooter at Media Day and also talked about what his most important attributes are to this team.
“Veteran leadership, showing the young guys the way on and off the floor,” he said.
So far, his example hasn’t helped very much as Derrick Rose is still having to do way too much of the scoring and the two spot is generating the least productivity of the five positions through the first four games. Obviously, that won’t change when Carlos Boozer gets back since all he’ll do is upgrade over Taj Gibson at the four.
But at least he’ll provide that second scoring option after Rose, which is something this team badly needs right now.
Korver is more “a shooter” than he is “a scorer,” but his presence has helped open things up for other players when defenses have keyed in on him. Essentially being a decoy is the biggest thing he’s provided the Bulls so far this season.
Korver knows that the key to this season hinges on how well all the new pieces gel together. “Chemistry is something that’s overlooked by a lot of preseason magazines and preseason hype in the media…I think we can be very good, but a lot remains to be seen, we have a lot of new pieces to jell together, we have to get used to a new system but I think its all there,” Korver said.
The floppy haired shooter from Creighton had his best game of the season last night, going 7-10 from the floor, 4-6 behind the arc for 18 points. Unfortunately, his defense is severely lacking, and when benchwarmer Toney Douglas goes of for 30 points, on 5-9 from distance, you know you have problems. And Kyle is not the answer to those problems. And make not mistake, giving up 120 in a home loss to the lowly Knicks is a big problem.
Korver of course, is a long time teammate of Ronnie Brewer, yet he doesn’t actually have a lot of on court time playing with him.
“I really like playing with Ronnie Brewer, I feel like our games fit really well together, in Utah we didn’t get to play together that much. He would come in for me or I would come in for him,” Korver said.
As for Brewer, so far he’s just not synergizing with his teammates. You can blame him, you can blame those playing with him, but so far he’s shown exactly what was expected: much better on defense than offense. And right now the bulls desperately need more backcourt scoring.
“If I start, if I don’t start I’m going to warrant minutes just by what I bring to this team. They basically want me to be one of those twin anchors on the defensive side, but don’t take it away that I can be effective on offense,” Brewer said about his role in the shooting guard rotation.
Now if only the Bulls could combine Korver’s offense with Brewer’s defense and start him over Bogans.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
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