My name is Darin Ford and I am the manager/editor of this esteemed blog. I plan on picking up the pieces here at this site after it went through a 5 month blogging drought. I was officially handed the job here as editor at HttH on May 10, 2012 but I've spent the last couple of days adjusting to Bloguin, making the transition from my previous position at another website, putting together a staff -- you'll get to see them later -- and compiling a top-notch marketing strategy for HttH.
But first, I'd like to breif you on who I am as both a worker and person.
As a person I'm typically laid-back and at least somewhat intelligent. Basketball is my life and always will be. I've been around it my whole life as my father's side of the family is stacked with current coaches and former players. I hope to one day be a coach myself.
As a worker, I'm extremely hard-working and goal oriented. (You can read my whole resume on our "Staff" page.) I've been in the basketball blogging/media business for almost a year now -- I know it sounds like only a short-time, but I've learned a lot. In my short time as a writer I've worked/blogged for over 6 websites, some of which were my own, while having offers to join other sites as well. My career all started on my own with a basketball blog I started on Blogger called The Hoops Nation on June 3, 2011. After a few short weeks, THN became the platform for OfficiallyHoops.com, which was an evolved version of The Hoops Nation. I had hired a staff and began to engage the site with social media outlets that made it really takeoff.
After 6 months of gruling hard work, staying up late-night and learning the trade of blogging, I decided to expand and start an all-sports news Website. However, two months before that I was hired at SheridanHoops.com as a columnist and support staff member. After three months of running an all-sports news website, opportunities came knocking. I was recruited to sell my blog and join two different websites, RantSports.com and ProSportTalk.com. After weighing the options for over a week, I went with ProSportTalk.com and was seated as the then new websites President. I then later took on the title of Senior Sports Insider as well.
Come May 2012, I was ready to get back to basketball-only writing. I applied here at Bloguin with high hopes. Ben Koo, Bloguin's CEO, contacted me about a week and a half later offering me the postion of manager/editor here at HttH. I took it within five seconds of reading further down the e-mail. I am very excited to get started here at HttH and Bloguin as I plan to see the site top Bloguin's charts every single day.
So now you want to hear plans for the site, eh? There are too many to get into right this very minute, but I'll get you a quick blurb and preview of what's to come in bullet form below:
- We're going to aim for 5 posts a week for the first couple months. Once we assemble a fully dedicated and star-studded staff, we'll be shooting for two to three different pieces/articles a day.
- Look for some live-blogging outta' us. I specialized in it at SportsRelease.net (the all-sports news website I launched).
- We'll have stats, standings, scores, living rosters and more once the season begins.
- Comprehensive coverage on Derrick Rose's recovery and return to hoops.
- Full-on injury reports.
- Video reports. (Yes, we'll do some video blogging, we're contemplating a staff roundtable on video about twice a month down the road.)
- A lot of social media engagement.
- Fun-filled forums on the site at your disposal.
- Interviews, pre and post game coverage. (Predictions in each and every preview.)
- We're also contemplating covering the Bulls' NBA Developmental League affiliate, the Iowa Energy.
- Memes. Enough said.
You can also follow me on Twitter, @realdarinford, and on Facebook.
One more thing before I let you go and allow your brain to process and think about the glory that Horns To The Hardwood would become. That thing would be to PLEASE like our Facebook page and share us on Twitter. Thanks! See you soon, and very many times after that!
Go Bulls! no comments
Hey Bulls Fans!
What an exciting homestand it was! A dominant 40-point win over the Grizzlies and a thrilling 4th-quarter comeback against the Hawks. The Bulls haven't been perfect, but things are starting to come together for a number of players. Carlos Boozer stepped up in the Memphis game for 17 points and 11 rebounds in basically one half of basketball. Derrick Rose led a charging comeback last night, and Luol Deng manned up for the game-winning shot.
Omer Asik continues to man up on a nightly basis, as well. Frankly, he's playing like he wears a Sheik in the bedroom. Not that I'd want to find out though. I like my men like I like my coffee: caramel macchiato with a touch of cinnamon.
Speaking of caramel macchiatos, John Lucas has moved into the Bulls' rotation after injuries to Rip Hamilton and CJ Watson. Lucas has three I's at the end of his name. I have two very good eyes since my daddy paid for Lasik surgery, but I still have a hard time spotting him on the floor without an ugly checkered suit on.
Those injuries have definitely taken their toll on the Bulls' backcourt, though. You could see how tired Rose and Deng were getting near the end of the 4th quarter last night, having played over 40 minutes apiece. I honestly don't have much sympathy, though. I mean, how tired do you think I was, having to get up and dance during every single one of those time outs? You almost wish that they'd play a little more than a few seconds of basketball between them. I mean, give a girl a break once in a while.
It was a thrilling win though. You could just feel the electricity out there when the Bulls were gaining momentum.
People sometimes ask me how much us cheerleaders have to do with big comeback wins. I usually just smile and say nothing because on the sideline we aren't supposed to say anything other than "Let's go Bulls!" And sometimes "Come on, Bulls!" Oh, and of course "DEEE-FENSE!" That one's Coach Thibodeau's favorite.
But on the inside I'm saying that I know damn well I had something to do with that comeback.
You can't have comeback spirit without some major spirit fingers. And let me tell you, my spirit fingers are veterans, honed through years of cheerleading and dance team-ing. Back in high school, these finely-manicured digits were instrumental in some major come-from-behind victories for Niles West football. Well, it was either them or Rashard Mendenhall. But I'm pretty sure it was the fingers.
Tonight the Bulls go to the Palace of Auburn Hills to play the Pistons. And I will be able to rest up from a long night of dancing while trying to figure out how any building in Detroit can rightfully be called a palace. And watch Revenge. Of course. Rip Hamilton might also be looking forward to revenge if he's able to return from his injury tonight. Hamilton spent the last nine seasons with the Pistons before coming to the Bulls.
Detroit is 2-3 on the year and coming off an 89-78 home win over Orlando. Under first-year head coach Lawrence Frank, they've held opponents under 88 points through 3 of their first 5 games. Playing against Detroit is a lot like going to a club in River North. There are a lot of large men throwing themselves at you and smothering you with pressure until you give it up to them. Of course by "it" I mean the basketball. And don't you get any ideas. When me and my girls go out, we take good care of the rock.
Speaking of taking care of the rock, my friend Julie just got engaged this weekend! OMG! How exciting is that?! Also speaking of taking care of the rock, the Pistons are getting great play from their point guard, Rodney Stuckey, who is averaging 5.4 assists per game with a very efficient 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
But the Pistons were led to victory last night by former Bull Ben Gordon, who scored a game-high 26 points and is averaging 18.0 ppg on the season. He is a dangerous scorer who can light it up from the perimeter.
In the post, Detroit features another former Bull, Ben Wallace. He's doing his second tour with the Pistons, just like my ex-boyfriend who did a second tour of his senior year at Niles West. Ugh, I don't know what I ever saw in him. The Pistons see size and toughness in Wallace, but just like my ex, his second time through has been much less eventful than the first. Wallace might be hard to recognize to some fans because the size of his hair has gone down with the size of his minutes. He's averaging just under 15 min a game, but expect him and Chicago native Jason Maxiell to see a lot of time off the bench against our Bulls.
The Pistons' bigs dominated the glass against Orlando and will try unsuccessfully to do the same tonight. Starting center Greg Monroe and Swedish-born forward Jonas Jerebko are both averaging around 8 rebounds per game. Like The Swede from the show Hell on Wheels, I don't think Jerebko is as tough as he looks. Common is soooo hot in that show, BTW.
Speaking of shows, I have to go watch my TiVo'd episode of New Girl from last night. That Zooey Dechanel is so quirky! Of course, I have no idea why so many scrawny men with bangs find her attractive. But she is quirky.
My prediction for this game: Bulls 85, Pistons 79
Hugs 'N Kisses,
"NOTE: Tammy is a fictional character and is not meant to resemble any actual person, Luvabull or otherwise. Feel free to use your imagination, though."
A few people had picked the Clippers to win the West this year. While I think they are a better team than last year, I still think they are a ways away from that. I’m thinking they will win one playoff series and then be eliminated prior to the Conference finals. I think that should be their goal this season. Trading for the second best point guard in the league is very exciting for Clippers fans, and Chris Paul figures to make the human highlight reel Blake Griffin that much better. They will win plenty of basketball games this year. That being said, after blowing out Golden State on opening night (a team that beat up on us), they got destroyed by San Antonio in their second game of the season, 115-90. Clearly, they have some work to do.
However, so do the Bulls. They have not looked themselves this year, despite winning 2 out of their first 3. The defense has really struggled in the past 2 games and it must be driving Thibs crazy. He is a great coach and I have no doubt that we will get this figured out, but I would prefer it be sooner rather than later, because Miami looks really strong and we need every advantage we could get against them (home court advantage.) I wonder how much of the slow start is due to the lockout and short training camp. You always hear in sports that it takes the offense longer to figure things out than the defense, but right now our defense has plenty to figure out.
Stat of the Day:
Derrick Rose averaged 33.0 points and 9.5 assists against the Clippers last season.
Probable Chicago Starters:
G – Derrick Rose, 18.0 PPG
G – Rip Hamilton, 10.7 PPG
F – Luol Deng, 18.3 PPG
F – Carlos Boozer, 12.3 PPG
C – Joakim Noah, 7.3 PPG
Probable Los Angeles Starters:
G – Chris Paul, 15.0 PPG
G – Chauncey Billups, 16.0 PPG
F – Caron Butler, 11.5 PPG
F – Blake Griffin, 25.0 PPG
C – DeAndre Jordan, 7.0 PPG
Current Line: Chicago (-1), Over/Under 191
The Bulls haven’t looked themselves yet and are playing the back end of a back-to-back and their fourth west coast game in a row. The Clippers are well rested and playing their home opener. The Bulls are the better team but the Clippers get this one.
Clippers 102 Bulls 96no comments
Hey Bulls Fans!
First let me say it's great to be back on the sidelines for your soon-to-be-once-again World Champions. It's especially great for me cause I've been, like, so out of shape with the lockout and all. I got so lazy that I was only working out once every other day. And believe me, it showed. But don't worry, I'm happily back in midseason form.
Which is more than I can say for our Bulls. I missed most of the first quarter on Monday because I had to watch the end of Castle -- which, by the way, OMG, could there be any more sexual tension between Beckett and Castle? I mean, did you see how jealous Beckett got when Castle kissed that insurance investigator? I mean, he has been just sitting there waiting for her all this time, and she needs to seriously get her head out of her ass and tell that boy how she feels before he decides to give up and move on. But anyway, once I changed over to the Bulls game and saw them down by 15 to Golden State, I thought to myself "Beckett's not the only one who needs to get their head out of their ass."
The phrase that has been used for the longest time in the NBA is "the mid-range game is gone in the NBA." What most people don't understand is that the 18-foot jump shot is not worth it. The expected points from a mid-range jumper is lower than expected points from a lay-up. If a lay-up isn't available, why not look for a three-pointer? The list of those that should be taking long two-pointers is short - and only one Bulls player from last year is on the list - Kyle Korver. Evidence? Check this out.
So CJ Watson - your 34% from long-two range is way behind your three-point range at 39.3%. His two-point shot expectancy is 0.68 while his three-point expectancy is 1.18. It's just baffling. It's really not hard to understand. Oh, and Ronnie Brewer? Don't shoot the ball unless it's a dunk. Check that link again - not pretty.
Unless your name is Rip Hamilton, try to get the ball into the paint. Getting the ball into the paint leads to either a drive and kick, a free throw attempt, or an easy bucket. We're not doing that, and that's why we're not very good right now.
But, this will all change, and we're going to be fine this year. It's just that the earlier we understand the issue with long two-pointers, the better. no comments
Stat of the Day:
Mike is currently beating Marco 7-0 in fantasy basketball
Probable Chicago Starters:
G – Derrick Rose, 22.0 PPG
G – Rip Hamilton, 6.0 PPG
F – Luol Deng, 21.0 PPG
F – Carlos Boozer, 15.0 PPG
C – Joakim Noah, 6.0 PPG
Probable Golden State Starters:
G – Stephen Curry, 4.0 PPG
G – Monta Ellis, 15.0 PPG
F – Dorell Wright, 8.0 PPG
F – David Lee, 21.0 PPG
C – Andris Biedrins, 10.0 PPG
Current Line: Chicago (-6.5), Over/Under 191.5
Golden State didn’t look very impressive last night at home against the Clippers. Stephen Curry really struggled (2-for-12, 4 points). Monta Ellis wasn’t a whole lot better missing 13 shots and turning the ball over 4 times. The Bulls weren’t too impressive themselves yesterday. After catching fire at the 2nd of the first half, there appeared to be a lid on the hoop for the majority of the second half. They’re late comeback was exciting, but it was generated by the defense. With such a short preseason I think you have to expect some ugly games around the league early in the season. I would think the Bulls will shoot the ball better tonight. It will also be interesting to see how Thibs handles the “Bench Mob” tonight. Last year it seemed like he left Deng out there to play with 4 reserves a lot last year. I think it’s important that one of our scorers stays out there and plays with the bench to generate some offense. Also, I hope to see Jimmy Butler get some minutes tonight in the back end of a back-to-back. Give me the Bulls tonight, riding a high after yesterday’s comeback.
Bulls 100 Warriors 90
The lockout is over and training camp has officially started as players returned to the Berto Center for the first practice of the year. The free agent frenzy that has taken over the NBA in the past 48 hours has not hit Chicago yet, and no one should panic.
Chicago has been active in talks with players who ultimately chose to go to situations with more money offered to them. That is no fault of Gar Forman, he refuses to overpay for players unlike the rest of the NBA. This was one of the major causes leading to the lockout, as role players got paid like good players and good players as great players teams will continue to have problems financially.
The Bulls will eventually add a starting shooting guard to the mix on their terms. The latest reports have Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton being bought out and it is believed that both parties have heavy interests in each other. Hamilton would be an upgrade to the Bulls shooting guard woes, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to make it to the NBA finals.
While other teams are adding pricey free agents to improve their teams, the Bulls may not have to go down that path. The Bulls have plenty of other positives going their way. While it will be hard to repeat as the MVP of the league this year, Derrick Rose should continue to grow as a basketball player, and that is just scary. Tom Thibodeau with a year of experience running a team, should have a better understand of handling a season, and his players. Omer Asik was a virtual unknown to most fans at the start of training camp last year, look for him to continue to improve during his second season. While the Bulls as a whole had great team chemistry last year, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer never seemed to be comfortable on the court together, both having injuries throughout the season led to this, hopefully spending time on the court together during practice and early on in the season will lead cohesion from the two come playoff time.
This team has room to grow on its own that is why ruining the financial flexibility for a bigger name at shooting guard is not that correct move at this time, and the future of this team is bright.
A big thanks to everyone that submitted questions to us on our facebook fan page. If you haven’t liked us on facebook yet you can do that right here. We appreciate your support. Okay, on to the questions.
Mike, St. Ambrose University Alumni - OK HTTH I see the new post. Love it as per usual. But my question is this...which bench mob member will have the biggest impact this season? (albeit that we don't know the final roster yet) I'm thinking/leaning towards Omer's role ever increasing/turning.
HTTH – Thanks for the kind words, Mike. First of all, I think we’re going to see a whole lot of the bench mob this year. Thibs showed his confidence in them last year by giving them plenty of postseason minutes. This year, with so many back-to-backs, and in a few cases back-to-back-to-backs, I think we are going to have to rely on the bench even more this year. With Boozer and Noah both having a reputation for being injury prone you could very well be right about the Turkish Hammer getting a lot of minutes. He improved a great deal last year and I think as he continues to develop he will get better and better. However, my favorite bench mob member is Ronnie Brewer. He is our best defender and a solid offensive player. He runs the baseline very well (right, Stacey King?) and can knock down open shots. For my money, he is the biggest spark off the bench. Sure when Korver gets hot he is a huge shot in the arm, but he was a very streaky shooter last year. Ronnie can make an impact even when his shot isn’t falling because he is such an active defender.
John, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Do you think the Bulls are going to sign Rose to an extension before the season starts?
HTTH – Thanks for the question, John. The Bulls have said that they have made extending Rose their top priority. The new “Derrick Rose” rule has gotten a lot of attention where players are rewarded for outperforming their rookie contracts. It seems pretty likely that the Bulls will extend Derrick in the not too distant future. Will it happen before the season starts? It’s tough to say. Teams are really scrambling right now to fit an offseason into 3 weeks. Either way, you can sleep easy at night, John, Derrick isn’t going anywhere.
Jim, Benedictine University – Who would fit into the Bulls offense better, Jason Richardson or Caron Butler?
HTTH – Thanks for the question, Jim. In my opinion there is a bit of a fine line with what we are looking for at the 2 guard position. We certainly want somebody that has the ability to knock down the open shots that Derrick will create for them and also somebody that has the ability to take the game over if team’s decide to double team Derrick or put a much taller defender like Lebron on him. However, we don’t want a chucker who is going to take a lot of shots away from the MVP of the league (think: Ben Gordon). Jason Richardson is somebody that I have really liked for a long time. I certainly think he is a better fit for us than Caron Butler is. He is not as affordable as Butler is, though. It seems like Caron is the much more likely scenario for the Bulls and he will be able to help us out some if he is able to stay on the court. He is another guy that has a history of being injury prone.
Jim, Benedictine University – With Carlos Boozer locked up, do you think the Bulls will make a run at Dwight Howard? Maybe include Boozer in the package?
HTTH – It’s fun to think about, isn’t it? If we were somehow able to add Howard we would have the best point guard/center duo since who? Maybe Magic and Karim? Yahoo sports reported tonight that the Bulls remain a sleeper for Howard. Noah would almost certainly have to go in the deal and probably Deng as well. It isn’t going to happen this year, but like Marco said on our facebook page our best chance is if the Bulls sit on the amnesty clause and see how Boozer performs this year. Then we could cut him next year to make the room for Howard and offer Noah, Deng, and Charlotte’s first round pick for Howard in a sign-and-trade. The development of Asik is an important factor. If the Bulls feel like he could produce for extended minutes then they may be more willing to deal Joakim. Given our current situation, I still consider us long shots at landing superman, however.
John, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – What are the odds that Jerry Reinsdorf will tap into the luxury tax for a #2?
HTTH – Well he said earlier in the week that he would be willing to consider it if it meant adding someone that makes us a Championship team. I don’t see it happening at this point. I think it is much more likely that they go the cheaper route and end up with Caron Butler and see how that works out. This team is still young enough that they don’t have to win it this year, and I think the front office understands that.
John, University of Nebraska-Lincoln - do you think the bulls might wait for trade deadline to get a 2 guard, since we do have young talent, and then they can see potential up and comers?
HTTH – I think they are going to go the Caron Butler route now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t shake things up at the deadline. You’re right about the young talent and we do have some pieces that other teams might covet, most notably Omir Asik. That being said, I’m generally not a big fan of trading a big for a little in the NBA unless that guard is a big time difference maker.
With the lockout forcing teams to fit their entire off-season into 3 weeks we’re going to have a lot of news coming breaking in a short period of time. Here is a brief rundown of what is going on today. Feel free to leave some comments, let us know what you think.
- Caron Butler met with the Bulls this morning. He tweeted that the meeting great. This was the first day that team’s were allowed to talk directly to Free Agents. Following the meeting with the Bulls, Butler flew west to meet with the Clippers. If the Bulls are going to add a Free Agent, Butler appears to be the most likely target. If Butler doesn’t work out, Vince Carter could be a fallback option. He is expected to be waived by the Suns.
- The regular season schedule will be released in full tomorrow; however some nuggets are starting to trickle out. We already knew that the Bulls would open the season on Christmas day in Los Angeles. As expected, the NBA isn’t going to send them out west for one game, so the Bulls will open the season on a road trip. That could be a tough way to open the season. Also, we have learned from Mike Bresnahan, of the LA Times, that the Lakers will not play the Bulls at the UC this year, so Christmas day will be the only time we see Kobe this year until the NBA finals. Single game Bulls tickets go on sale Friday morning.
- The two Bulls preseason games are set: both against the Indiana Pacers. The two teams will play at Conseco on the 16th and then at the UC on the 20th. No word yet on how many cheap shots the Pacers are planning to take on Derrick Rose.
- ONIONS! BABY ONIONS! The Bulls have agreed to a 5-year radio extension with WMVP. I don’t listen to them on the radio much, but it seems like Swirski and Wennington do a good job.
- Vegas has released their odds to win the 2011-2012 NBA Championship. I won’t link the online sportsbook where I am getting this lines from but you all can take my word on this one. The Heat are the clear cut favorite at +235 but the Bulls and Lakers are next in line at +620 (6.2 to 1). The Thunder (+700) and defending champion Mavericks (+950) round out the top 5.
First of all: welcome back NBA! It was a long offseason for Bulls fans coming off that stunning 4th quarter collapse to Miami in Game 5. The lockout didn’t help matters, but hey, listening to Chris Broussard trying to explain labor negotiations was entertaining. But we’re back now and the staff here at HTTH is committed to bringing our loyal followers the same great coverage we gave you last year.
I’m going to start off my first post of the season by talking about Lebron James and Kevin Durant. That’s appropriate for a Bulls blog, right? How stupid was that flag football game last night? Especially when you consider that the lockout HAD JUST ENDED! I expect this from Lebron, but Durant should know better. While teams are scrambling to get ready for the season, LBJ is mocking Stevie Johnson mocking Plaxico Burress in a flag football game against his buddies. I think Skip Bayless is actually pretty spot on when he talks about Lebron and I absolutely agree with him when he says “Lebron just wants to be an entertainer, not a title holder.” He loves to tell us how hungry he is for a championship, but he never actually SHOWS us how hungry he is for a championship. That was his rationale for bolting for Miami right? To win a championship? Because it seems like he is a lot more interested in pre-season smoke parties and enjoying south beach.
Michael Jordan always spent the offseason improving his game. Even when he was on top of the world, he was working to get better. If he had embarrassed himself in the NBA finals like Lebron did last year can you imagine him playing in a flag football game for his own entertainment 3 weeks before the regular season starts? Absolutely not. He once said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael made it happen. Lebron wishes it would happen, but only if he can still be a spoiled celebrity. What should you do, Lebron? How about actually working for something for the first time in your life?
Meanwhile, I continue to love everything I’m hearing about Derrick Rose. Is he the best player in the league? No, the guy I just spent a couple of paragraphs bashing is. But Derrick is continuing to work to get better. He’s flying under the radar, which I think is exactly the way he wants it. Have you ever seen an MVP get less attention? Ask a national guy who the top 5 players in the league are and you’ll probably get – Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard right away. Then when they stop and think they will remember who the MVP is and the finals MVP (another guy who doesn’t get enough credit.)
But Derrick keeps quietly working. Look at what Thibodeau said about him today, “The one thing about Derrick is you know he’s going to be in the gym every day. You know he’s going to study. He’s going to watch film. He challenges himself. I expect him to be great this year. He showed last year how great he is. The challenge is to do it again and do it better. And I think he will. He’s our leader.” We saw how much Derrick improved during the last offseason. He improved tremendously with his outside shot. He improved so much that he won the MVP? But he’s not satisfied. I love that attitude. I hate 90% of the NBA, but I love this team.
- Caron Butler is very interested in the Bulls. He spent the offseason working out in Chicago and according to one close source (courtesy of K.C Johnson) said this morning, “I hope I don’t have to leave.” Butler played only 29 games for the Champion Mavericks last year, shooting 45% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. He average 15 points per game. Even if the Bulls add Butler, they could still bring Keith Bogans back in a backup role.
- According to K.C Johnson, Jerry Reinsdorf would give strong consideration to paying the NBA’s luxury tax if he could acquire a player who gave the team a reasonable chance to win a championship.
- The team has reportedly made extending Derrick Rose their top priority.