On a night where Johnny Red Kerr was honored for his career, the Bulls came through with a great victory. As I've said in earlier posts, this team has no identity. For stretches they play like a team that can be a legitimate playoff team, and then other times its like they don't even understand the basic concepts of team defense. After winning 5 of their last 8 (7 of which were on the road), this team is starting to look like that playoff team again.
One thing is different this time from the previous stretches of great play. Amid swirling trade rumors, Tyrus Thomas has exploded in the last 10 games or so. Not just exploded, but he looks like he can keep this up. He is averaging 15.6 pts and 9.8 rebs in his last 8 games. Do you think you know where this is going? Do you think I'm going to have second thoughts about dealing him to the Suns for Amare?
Are you crazy? Even if this little explosion by TT keeps up, his fg% during that time has been 47%. An excellent fg% perhaps, but for a big man it is just average. Either one of two things happens now, he continues to shoot that jump shot and miss it pretty regularly, keeping his fg% below what would be expected from an elite big man OR he stops shooting it and raises his fg% to maybe 54-55% but averages only about 12 points a game. I don't see how either option makes him as valuable as Amare. Amare is young, averages about 20 pts and 10 rebs for his career, and most importantly makes most of the shots he takes.
The truth is I'm thrilled that Tyrus is playing well right now. If something finally clicked for him, it's win-win for the Bulls. Either we keep him and he is a much improved player, or we deal him (please do the right thing Pax?!) and get THE Amare Stoudemire in return. Worst case scenario is it doesn't work out with Amare somehow and he walks in 2010, leaving us about $15 million in cap room for that magical free agent summer.