Bulls

Hype and Money

Hype and Money

Friday, July 2, 2010
1:09 AM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Just in time for the most American of holidays, those of us who follow sports with unbridled passion are getting a heaping dose of the dynamic duo of the American sporting world. Can you venture into any form of media these days without avoiding the LeBron saga? The amount of attention that hes getting is making Brett Favre blush. The funny thing about this is, Im being asked more questions about NBA free agency than I was about the ENTIRE NBA season! And why not? It combines two of our favorite things: speculation and big time bucks.

The beauty of the constant speculation and opinions being offered is that until LeBron decides, nobodys wrong (operative word being YET!). Who wants to debate the misery that is the Cubs when the pipe dream of LeBrons eminent arrival can dance like sugar plums in the heads of the Chicago sports fan, still intoxicated from the Blackhawks run of a lifetime? (Has anyone else been traded in the last 5 minutes?) Ive always joked, when asked which was my favorite of the teams that I rooted for, that it was always the one that was in their off-season because they at least had hope. Same way here. As long as we dont know, and no one does know, its fun to dream of what can be, like when you waste your money, again, on a Mega-Millions ticket. For now, the LeBron saga has no escape hatch. On radio, TV, or the internet, its 24-7 on whos going where and why, and whos not going anywhere, and why. And also for now, unlike with Favre, Im not fed up with it (YET!).

Like I said before, this past NBA season had a decided lack of interest. People are still fans, but I just dont think that they care as much. I think that one of the reasons is because of the restrictive NBA salary cap, the lack of movement of some top players deprives the NBA of a shot in the arm in cities with struggling teams or teams that are close and need that final piece. It seems that when teams are bad that they stay bad for a long time, until the weight of a bad contract can be lifted. Can you say Ben Wallace? While especially in baseball and football there are ways to deal with a bad contract, theres not a lot of wiggle room in the NBA. Before the season starts, we already know who the major players are, so just like with any NBA game, you just have to tune in at the end. So the prospect of a half-dozen marquis players changing teams, with the possibility of some of them pairing up together is very enticing. Then you have my favorite part of this whole drama: the wild-card. While everything I listen to is pretty straight forward, Chicago and Cleveland are his probable destinations, I would like to think, that with so many moving parts in this game of musical chairs, that something strange could happen, something that no one expected. Thats why one of my favorite things to do while discussing this at the bar is to bring up the crazy Russian theory. That would be the owner of the New Jersey Nets, billionaire Mikhail Prokorov.

This dude is worth BIG-TIME money. Im just thinking out loud here, but I dont think he became the 39th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, by finishing in second place a lot. Hes taking on some risk buying into the league, but is he just another Donald Sterling, content to be the joke second team of a major media market? Do you think co-owner, rap mogul Jay-Z, would buy into that? For both of these guys, everything they touch turns into gold, LITERALLY, would they settle for less here? Doesnt every athlete want to be a musician and every musician an athlete? If you wanted to get into music, wouldnt you want to have Jay-Z close by? And despite the 70 loss season of last year, there are some nice pieces in New Jersey in Brook Lopez, (The Big man in the post every winning team needs.) Devin Harris and Courtney Lee. First round draft picks Derrick Favors and Damion James are extremely talented and well thought of. These guys are better than anything the Knicks have, plus playing in Newark or Brooklyn would still mean that youre a player in the largest media market in the world. Also as an aside, I love the hiring of Avery Johnson as head coach. Hes a great motivator and a winner. So does LeBron to New Jersey seem that far fetched? And thats the beauty of playing this game for us fans, until its over, almost anything can make sense. Come into the bar over the weekend and on Saturday Ill tell you why he definitely is staying in Cleveland and on Sunday why hes going to the Knicks. Im just doing my best to keep the hype machine going and the beer taps flowing!

Takeaways from Bulls-Magic: Jabari barely plays, Lauri is still acclimating

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AP

Takeaways from Bulls-Magic: Jabari barely plays, Lauri is still acclimating

The Bulls showed some positives in Mexico City, but struggled to execute in the final minute in a 97-91 loss to the Magic.

Here are four takeaways from Thursday's loss.

Parker does, in fact, appear to be out of the rotation

A report came out just before the game that Jabari Parker expects to be out of the rotation going forward. With Chandler Hutchison out sick, the report added that Parker could play against the Magic. He did play, but only four minutes and none in the second half.

Monday against the Kings, Parker played 19 minutes, which became his season-low in minutes before Thursday in Mexico City. He missed his only shot and had an assist and a rebound in his four minutes.

"I think it's a matchup thing," coach Jim Boylen said after the game. "I also think that it's hard to play three fours. It's very difficult to do that. We played him some minutes at three and I didn't think that was the way to go the rest of the game."

With Lauri Markkanen back in the starting lineup and Bobby Portis building up his minutes in his second game back from a knee injury, the power forward spot is back at full strength. Boylen had the chance to play Parker at small forward with Hutchison out, but still limited his minutes.

"Him playing four is difficult right now. Him playing three, there may be an opportunity there. I like Hutch. Hutch was sick tonight so Jabari got some of those minutes at three in that situation."

Boylen said he talked to Parker about his role and where he is in the rotation, but didn't go into much more detail than that.

"Going forward he's part of our team and it's not about the individual in our team," Boylen said. "It's about playing your minutes the best you can and we'll where his minutes are going forward."

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune caught up with Parker after the game.

Markkanen is still reacclimating

This was Lauri Markkanen's sixth game of the season. He has shot better than 35 percent in just one of those games.

On Thursday, the Finn was 2-for-10 from the field (2-for-6 from 3-point range) for seven points. He had five rebounds in 28 minutes. The seven points were the lowest since his return.

Boylen admitted Markkanen was standing around too frequently.

"I have to do a better job of getting Lauri off the move," Boylen said. "We ran a couple things for him to try to get him off the post and we just didn't get the ball to him. That's my job. I got to do a better job of that."

LaVine still good with Dunn

Kris Dunn has only played three games so far this season, but in each game Zach LaVine has been very efficient offensively. Dunn could be the key to bringing the best out of LaVine.

LaVine had 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting. He added five assists, but did have six turnovers. LaVine has shot 11-for-15, 7-for-13 and 10-for-18 in Dunn's three games.

"Zach has been very focused and he's trying to lead," Boylen said. "He's trying obviously to make shots, score the ball. He's trying to make good decisions and turn the ball over less so Zach is trying to do all he can do to help us win."

Kris and Bobby

In their second games back from injury, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis both saw their minutes increase from Monday against Sacramento. Both are still coming off the bench.

Dunn finished with five points, four rebounds, two assists, four turnovers and four fouls in 26 minutes. Portis had a better night with 15 points (6-for-11 shooting) and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

"I thought they both had moments where they were great for the team," Boylen said. "I thought Bobby's defense was really good. I thought he took the challenge on (Aaron) Gordon and he competed and I thought Kris was better tonight than the last game we played and I thought he looked like his legs were under him more tonight. I also thought he led better tonight when he was out there from the point guard position. Those guys are going to keep developing for us."

 

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Who's the next White Sox Hall of Famer?

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USA TODAY

Who's the next White Sox Hall of Famer?

Harold Baines is in the Hall. Last Sunday’s announcement totally took me (and a lot of others) by surprise.

I was ecstatic to see the news. Baines was one of my favorite players growing up. I loved that iconic leg kick. When they traded him to the Rangers in 1989, nine-year-old me was devastated.

Now that Harold’s in, who should be the next White Sox Hall of Famer? Here are six candidates:

Minnie Miñoso

If you haven’t already, read this:

I’ll summarize (though you really should read it). Miñoso had power, speed and on-base ability. His career may have been delayed due to the color line. If one feels his MLB career isn’t enough, his Negro League career and his role as a pioneer for black Latino ballplayers are plenty to make up the difference.

Dick Allen

Dick Allen hit 351 career home runs. His slashline of .292/.378/.534 is very impressive, even more so when placed in the context of his era. The 1960s was a tough period for hitters. That being said, 1,749 games and 1,848 career hits don’t jump off the page. According to WAR, he’s borderline (61.3 Fangraphs, 58.7 Baseball-Reference). But when you dig a little deeper…

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures offensive production comparing to league average and adjusting for ballpark. 100 is league average, any point above or below represents one percent above or below league average. Dick Allen had a career wRC+ of 155, meaning he was 55% better than league average for his career. That’s incredibly good. How good?

Career wRC+

(minimum 5,000 career plate appearances)

Boldface = Hall of Famer

1. Babe Ruth, 197

2. Ted Williams, 188

3. Lou Gehrig, 173

Rogers Hornsby, 173

5. Barry Bonds, 173

6. Mickey Mantle, 170

7. Ty Cobb, 165

Joe Jackson, 165

9. Stan Musial, 158

Jimmie Foxx, 158

11. Mark McGwire, 157

Johnny Mize, 157

Tris Speaker, 157

14. Mel Ott, 156

Dan Brouthers, 156

16. Joey Votto, 155

Dick Allen, 155

18. Willie Mays, 154

Frank Thomas, 154

Hank Greenberg, 154

There are 1,007 players with at least 5,000 career plate appearances. Allen is tied for SIXTEENTH. Dick Allen isn’t just on a list of good players. He’s listed among top tier all-time greats.

Billy Pierce

Pierce was arguably the best American League pitcher of the 1950s, and perhaps the third best in the Majors (behind Robin Roberts and Warren Spahn). He posted a career ERA of 3.27 (119 ERA+ 19 percent above league average) in over 3,000 innings and was one strikeout short of 2,000. He had 211 career wins and was the only pitcher during the 1950s to post a qualified ERA under 2 (1.97 in 1955).

Billy Pierce WAR Career 1950s 1950s MLB rank 1950s AL rank
Fangraphs WAR 52.5 43.6 3rd 1st
Baseball-Ref WAR 53.2 43.7 3rd 1st

Mark Buehrle

Buehrle compiled 60.3 pitching WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com. That’s the fifth most by a pitcher currently not in the Hall of Fame, behind Tommy John (62.5), CC Sabathia (62.2), Clayton Kershaw (62.1) and Andy Pettitte (60.7). He was remarkably durable; one of only eight pitchers in MLB history with at least 14 consecutive seasons of 200+ innings. The other seven are in the Hall of Fame.

He had 214 career wins; only three active pitchers have at least 200 (Bartolo Colón 247, CC Sabathia 246 and Justin Verlander 204). Buehrle tossed a pair of no-hitters (one perfect) and was a key member of the 2005 World Series championship rotation. He was a five-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner. His career ERA+ of 117 (adjusted for league and ballpark; 17 percent above league average) is better than Steve Carlton (115), Fergie Jenkins (115), Phil Niekro (115), Jim Bunning (115), Robin Roberts (113), Nolan Ryan (112), Don Sutton (108), Early Wynn (107) and Catfish Hunter (104).

Joe Jackson

Among players with 2,500 career plate appearances with the White Sox, the Shoeless One is the career leader in batting average (.340). He’s also the Indians career leader in batting average (.375). His career average of .356 ranks third all-time behind Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby. He had a career on-base percentage of .423 (17th all-time).

Babe Ruth made the home run popular at the dawn of the Roaring 20s. Joe Jackson posted career highs of 12 home runs and 121 RBI in 1920, and then his career came to an end. He was banned for life because of his role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Could he have embraced the home run craze? Could he have had a run of 30 or 40-home run seasons for the White Sox had he remained in the game? Unfortunately we’ll never know. Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn’t a mythical figure from a popular movie. He was a legitimate all-time great.

Paul Konerko

Konerko is the next White Sox star to reach the BBWAA ballot, set to make his debut in 2020. He was the heart of the 2005 offense that went on to win the World Series, taking home ALCS MVP honors. Konerko is second in franchise history with 432 home runs and 1,383 RBI, behind only Frank Thomas in both categories. Overall, Konerko had 439 HR (only 43 players in MLB history have more) and 1,412 RBI (75th all-time) with a respectable .279/.354/.486 career slashline. He had seven 30-HR seasons and six 100-RBI campaigns; a six-time All-Star. The White Sox erected a statue in Konerko’s honor in 2014 and his No. 14 was retired by the White Sox the following year.

 

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