With the Chicago Bulls likely to be one of the top choices for free agent superstar Carmelo Anthony, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not Chicago is the right spot for the forward.
Recently, NBATV and TNT analyst Chris Webber had a few choice words about Anthony possibly going to the Bulls, and how the system isn’t the best fit for him.
“If I’m Melo, I’m definitely not going to Chicago,” Webber said Wednesday on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio. “That’s just not the place to go. When D-Rose was healthy, they had a terrible offense. [Bulls head coach Tom] Thibodeau is a great, great coach, but offensively you have to have an offensive-minded coach as well, someone who can adapt like [Spurs head coach Gregg] Popovich, who uses talent and doesn’t just harp on his players every night. Everybody can play hard every night, but can you play with the IQ, can you play with smarts every night?”
Webber’s criticism of Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls is incorrect on many levels. First, other than Derrick Rose, Thibodeau’s best offensive scoring players during his time with the Bulls include Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver. And Boozer was on the downside of his career when the Bulls obtained him. Other than that, Thibodeau’s been handed an endless list of defensive-minded players that couldn’t exactly put the ball through the hoop.
But despite not having the talented weapons on offense, Thibodeau is credited with using players to their best ability on offense and even revitalizing a handful of careers. Just ask John Lucas III, Nate Robinson, and D.J. Augustin what it was like to play under Thibodeau’s system. He also turned Joakim Noah into a playmaking center on offense—something that is relatively unheard of in the NBA. So, to say that Thibodeau doesn’t use his players correctly on offense is boarder line idiotic. Thibodeau just hasn’t had the luxury of having scorers at his disposal like most other teams in the league.
For the most part, Webber was always a player that played hard every night during his 15-year career for five different teams. But in terms of having the IQ and the smarts that Webber criticizes the Bulls for having a lack of, is a completely different story. Sadly, Webber’s brilliant college career at the University of Michigan is best remembered for his memory lapse that resulted in one of the biggest blunders in the history of men’s college basketball.
During the 1993 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, Webber’s Michigan Wolverines went head-to-head against the University of North Carolina. With the Wolverines down two with 20 seconds to go, Webber rebounded the ball off of a Tar Heel missed free throw and attempted to call a timeout. Unfortunately, Michigan was out of timeouts which resulted in a turnover, technical foul, and two free throws for North Carolina. Needless to say that Michigan failed to win the game.
Sure, Webber would go on to have a stellar career—one that is bound for the Hall of Fame—and he is also entitled to his opinion as an analyst. However, when it comes to the Bulls offense, coaching style, and the general IQ of the players and coaches on the team, Webber is absolutely clueless. The addition of Anthony to the Bulls could only help his career, help the Bulls, and help the city of Chicago. Thibodeau is one of the best coaches in the league when it comes to getting the most out of his players on both offense and defense, so it would be foolish to think otherwise.