The 12 Days of Bullsmas. Day 10: The Bench Mob

Posted: December 22, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

The undeniable strength of the Chicago Bulls is the depth that they have, specifically in the frontcourt. The so-called Bench Mob was a key reason the Bulls were able to maintain leads and close games out while giving their starters a rest. In this post I’ll be looking at key members of the bench and what their impact could be heading into the 2011-2012 season.

Omer Asik

I love this man, just let me get that out of the way. Offensively he dunks the ball as if he were channeling the energy of the Ottoman Empire. When he rises in the air he comes down with a violence that is only reserved for eastern bloc countries. The man can only do one thing offensively, but man he does it with such hate that it’s a spectacle to see. I guess that’s out of necessity though, he didn’t see much playing time last year, and it’s really one of the very few things he does that’s worth a youtube video.

I am neglecting to mention that the man is a defensive monster though. Sure, he gets himself into foul trouble quite a bit, but he has a pretty high basketball IQ when it comes to rebounding and shot blocking. He fights for position down low with the best of them. Often times it’s not pretty as you see his clumsy ass watching the arc of the basketball and make a power move just as it hits iron or glass. A rebound battle between him and Kevin Love would be fun to see, I think. Kevin Love is a nasty guy to have to deal with down low, if these two meet for any extended amount of playing time I would liken it to two sumo wrestlers constantly pushing up against each other in a fight for inside dominance.

Omer is important because he is a key to front court depth. When Noah went down to injury last year it was Omer that answered the call and gave Dwight Howard fits. Omer is very limited but he knows how to bother a shot and grab a rebound. For a unit that prides itself on defense that’s important. You don’t want to give up second chance opportunities when your best players are not on the court.

Ronnie Brewer

Hey look, a pic of three future Bulls on the Jazz! Yahtzee!

He had no place on last year’s Bench Mob. It’s not because he wasn’t talented enough, it’s because he should have started in place of the rotting corpse of Keith Bogans. Brewer has an odd skill set, he plays defense and slashes to the bucket very well, but he is an inconsistent shooter from the outside. The Bulls goal was to create spacing for Rose to work his magic, and that’s what the aim was when they signed Korver (more on him later). Brewer doesn’t space the floor, however, and I guess that’s the reasoning behind benching him in favor of Deebo.

Brewer will get starter minutes with the 2011-2012 squad. You can’t expect Deng and Hamilton to play 38+ minutes with the devils schedule this year. Coach Thibs will be put to the test this year as his desire to win every possession is weighted against the larger goal of winning it all. Brewer can play the 2 and at 6’7 he can play the 3. His defense will have to be there as he will be asked to shut down the perimeter when needed. I think he puts together another fine but unspectacular season, and that’s just what the Bulls need. I wish he was fused together with Kyle Kover, because they would be the perfect 2 guard for the Bulls. Speaking of…

Kyle Korver

I get them confused too.

The Bulls need exactly one thing from Wally Szczerbiak lite, hit a damn 3. I liked the signing when the Bulls announced it, but he seems to have lost his shot a bit. Shooters do go through slumps, so I guess he could theoretically snap out of it. His missing J would be much easier to stomach if he weren’t such an albatross defensively. His missed assignments don’t just lead to dunks, they can lead to foul trouble for your bigs while he watches much faster 2’s and 3’s zip by him on the fast track to the bucket.

His arc has been flat for awhile now, I don’t know if it’s because he’s just not setting his feet or if his confidence is shot, but the Bulls need him to snap back into form. When he’s right the floor opens up for Rose, and that’s the primary reason his 3 is important. When the defense has to account for all 5, you can’t double Derrick anymore and then you’re screwed. Hell hath no fury like a Derrick Rose with an open lane to the cup.

Taj Gibson


Wait, hold on, that’s not good enough.


Ok, better.

Mr. hard hat and lunch pail is another key to front court depth. At this point you have to assume both Boozer and Noah are going to miss games with injury. Taj Gibson will have to find a more consistent jumper for the Bulls to survive those games. As much as Bulls fans like to rag on Carlos Boozer he has a sweet touch from the outside and knows how to work the post. It’s something the Bulls will miss when he’s out.

Taj is an outstanding defender. The Bulls overall defense is predicated on maintaining a shape and Taj understands how to do that. He’s a pretty good help defender and an underrated shot blocker. It’s the offensive game that is going to determine his overall value. If the jumper is there and he has developed a post move, then the Bulls will be fine. If not, they will struggle to score a bit and on nights when the defense is tired, they’ll look pretty bad. Overall I like Taj, but I also understand his limitations and I won’t hold him to a standard he can’t live up to.

CJ Watson

Dude’s kinda boring. He’s into Jesus but not in a Tebow kinda way.

He’s a chucker in the Vin Baker mold. He’s insta offense when he’s on and he isn’t shy about taking shots. In the long term you don’t want him starting, but as he showed against Denver last year, he can start in a pinch. I have a love/hate relationship with Watson. He takes some shots that offend my basketball sensibilities, but he’s surprisingly effective some nights and he is pretty efficient when the three is falling. I almost was ok with him being the starting 2 guard, but size limitations and questionable effort on defense really sour me on the idea. Thibs is someone who values D above all. We saw that last year when Taj was getting minutes at the end of games and Boozer was shouting from the bench.

Watson will be valuable, but I think it would be wise for Bulls fans to understand that he isn’t a long term answer to any question. Rip and Brewer are better options at the 2 and if Rose misses any significant time the Bulls will struggle to win those games. CJ is fine in his role, but if he’s asked to expand on it, the Bulls are in trouble.

As for the rest of the Bench Mob, they are a big question mark. I’m interested in seeing what Jimmy Butler turns into, but I’m not holding my breath.

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