Blogtable: Good Without A Star

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 8: Hyperventilating about Ricky | Celtics’ Last Gasp? | Missing Pieces

Most impressive in hanging around .500 (or better): Indy without Granger, Philly without Bynum, Chicago without Rose or Golden State without Bogut?

Steve Aschburner: I’m going with D, Golden State. Indiana still had a strong starting lineup and a serviceable bench, and Paul George‘s game really is clicking now. Without Andrew Bynum, the 76ers could continue to play much as they had before — the big issue was going to be how they fit a dominant big man into a system that previously had none. Chicago still has Tom Thibodeau‘s defense and Joakim Noah playing the best ball of his career. But the Warriors? With nothing tangible, thanks to Andrew Bogut‘s absence, to show for the Monta Ellis trade? Never saw this coming and, frankly, still haven’t moved it out of fluke category. But an infusion of young help and Mark Jackson‘s messages about work and defense are paying off.

Fran Blinebury: A 6-1 Eastern road trip, best in 40 years. Stephen Curry filling it up, David Lee the double-double machine, everybody buying into Mark Jackson‘s defense, sniffing at a top four seed and home-court advantage. And by the way, they’re way above .500. It’s the Warriors by a mile.

Jeff Caplan: At 14-10 give me the Bulls because they’re also adjusting to life without three key role players let go in the offseason due to CBA constraints. It will take time for Derrick Rose to get back in a groove, both with his own game and with teammates, but those teammates are putting him in a great spot to return where he won’t have to save the season.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Golden State without Andrew Bogut. While I would say the Warriors have the depth to better absorb the hit compared to the Pacers losing [Danny] Granger, Golden State has already had a couple tough road stretches. They just finished a seven-game trip and not long before that had four of five away from home with the five games in eight days. Plus, they have had the back-and-forth the Pacers and Bulls were able to avoid. Bogut is about to play, Bogut plays, Bogut is out, Bogut is about to practice again, Bogut is out for a long time. That’s an extra challenge.

John Schuhmann: This question is not a fair fight. It’s the Warriors by a country mile. They’re 17-8, having played one of the league’s toughest schedule thus far, and no team has improved more defensively from last season. That might not have been a big surprise if Andrew Bogut was playing, because he’s one of the best defensive centers in the league. But that they’ve done it with him playing a grand total of 72 minutes is pretty amazing and a credit to Mark Jackson. The biggest key has been rebounding. They were the worst defensive rebounding team in the league last season. This year, they’re the best.

Sekou Smith: Hands down, Chicago without Derrick Rose. No disrespect to Danny Granger and Andrew Bogut, fine players in their own right (when healthy). But they don’t live in the same superstar realm Rose does. Andrew Bynum has always had the potential to reside there but has only been a renter throughout his career. To lose a player of Rose’s caliber and still be at the top of the division and the thick of things in the playoff chase speaks volumes about the job Tom Thibodeau has done and continues to do with that team and perhaps even more about the resolve of Rose’s supporting cast. Joakim Noah is playing like an All-Star and has served as the emotional leader this group needed during an extended stretch without Rose. How could you not be impressed with what the Bulls have done?


  1. jan johnson says:

    why does the refs continue to let teams get over physical with the KNICKS. Is it because the knicks is the best team out there,and the other teams need the refs help to win. the refs are suppose to be nutral. I have yet to see that with the knicks. Come on refs play fair and stop being one sided. You guys should be ashamed of yourselfs.

  2. bj says:

    Go Bulls, mos def ! but they need another doubleteamguy to win Finals. Even Bull fan, I am most impressed with the unknown and almost forgotten Warriors in the talk of top teams so far. Biggest let down is the Lakers, though KB eventually will have to take of some load to Howard ,and Gasol got to be given room to be Pau Gasol. And as some have said Lakers might need a better 3-point shooter, even with all the starpower they already got!
    Carmelo for MVP, close to KD 2nd. My “hope”-pick, Grizzlies and Bulls in the Finals! which implies Grizzlies upset the Thunder, Spurs sweep the Lakers and somehow Knicks kicks off Heat which means Bulls have the easiest way to the Conference Final and Knicks is tired from beating the Heat series! Voila can not wait for the Return 🙂


    The Blog is about the Team who continues to impress WITHOUT their STAR or someone who has the ability to carry a team.
    It isn’t about the team who is dominating this year.


  4. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! says:

    How are the Knicks not even entered in this conversation? They are 19-6, tops in the eastern conference, smoked the Heat by twenty points TWICE, and not to mention have done it ALL without Stoudemire and Shumpert. Several games they’ve been without Melo, Wallace, and Camby as well. Last night they smoked Brooklyn without Novak (in addition to Sheed and Camby). What gives? How are they not given the credit they deserve for getting it done on a nightly basis?

    Its so funny how fickle the media is when it comes to the Knicks. Before the season started, not a single major commentator picked they’d even be tops in the Atlantic Division, let alone the Eastern Conference. Everybody was picking the Celtics or Brooklyn. And now that they are the best, whenever they lose its “Oh their rebounding isn’t good enough to win a championship,” or “Their defense holds them back from being an elite team” and BLAH BLAH BLAH. We’re the best team in the East right now and everybody who know’s anything about basketball is afraid of us. Why? Because we’re about to be healthy and we’re about to get even better.

    Melo for MVP, and Woodson for coach of the year. Deal with it.

    • jizbud says:

      The knicks haven’t had Amare – that’s a good thing. Your season is about to go down the drain as soon as he is back!

      • Bulls says:

        The Knicks are a great team, that still have their Star Player.. The article is about missing their best player.. That’s not Amare, or Shumpert.. They are both great players, but nowhere close to Melo. You’re right saying that once Shumpert comes back this team will be better.. But so far the Knicks have shown that they don’t need Amare, because him and Melo can’t make it work.. Honestly the Knicks will have to keep Amare on the bench when Melo is playing and just alternate their mins so they can both be “The Guy” when they are on the floor, and when it comes down to a close game, who do you think will be on the floor? Obviously Melo, and Amare will be on the bench.. They should just trade Amare while he is still worth something and get more solid role players. As far as who has been the best without a star, its a tossup for me.. Pacers – Paul George has potential to be an all-star and he is showing it, I think he will be better than Granger has ever been. GSW – Steph Curry is their franchise player, no matter who says its Bogut. Curry is going to be the face of the franchise for a long time, and David Lee is one of the most underrated PF in the league, and any coach/team would love to have him. Philly – Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner will be their franchise is the next couple years, so it’s not surprising what they are doing. If they can get a healthy Bynum though, and he stays within their system, they will get a lot better. Bulls – I have been a Bulls fan forever and a Huge Rose fan since he entered the league, and even when he was at Memphis. Playing without him is a huge blow. However Deng is an All-Star, and so is Noah, Also Boozer hasn’t played like he did with Utah, but he has been fitting our system a little better this year. With Kirk finally healthy, and Nate Robinson playing well it has been an easier transition, but still without Rose they are not the same team. He is the leader on and off the court, and I love that Noah has stepped up as the leader, but I don’t think he has the same impact. As of right now, the most surprising team playing without their true star would be Orlando.. I know they didn’t really have Dwight all of last year, so they are used to playing without him, but they don’t have an All-star.. Nelson was only ever good because of Howard. Now their best player is Affalo, and he isn’t an All-star. They are 12-14 so close to .500. I don’t see them making the play-offs, but they have played hard without a star all year so I would choose them, but from an article stand point, I think they are choosing who has been playing better waiting for their star to return, so I would have to choose either the Bulls or Sixers. It would be GSW but I don’t think Bogut is their star.

  5. cobra commander says:

    kenyon martin is what the bulls need!! martin and gibson will be inseparable off the bench defensively and offensively. muhammad and radmadovic are clearly players who come off the bench to give the starters/bench rest and to finish up the quarter. bulls are definitely doing a great job holding the fort while rose and hamilton are out but i still feel like theres a key piece down low to come off the bench and martin could be it

  6. Shawn says:

    Watching the Bulls play is phenomenal. No superstars but the hustle of the entire team, the grit, the teamwork and flow and love between the players is felt and is awesome. the humility…. i love this team, Cant wait for Derrick Rose to come back. and i am a new yorker, knick fan.

  7. Bulls2012 says:

    Warroirs healthy against the Bulls healthy…The bulls will dominate them.Noah best center in the east..Rose best point guard in the NBA.Boozer same boat as Lee..Deng Lock down D and about 16 ppg…DERRICK ROSE ALONE WILL JUST KILL CURRY ALONE

  8. hanif says:

    As always, writers give no respect to the Mavs. No Dirk plus a whole new team and they are still lingering around .500

  9. Get off my Nutts says:

    Steph Curry….Star in the making, this kid gotta game

    GSW has a solid chance to become threat and I think this will be there first season showing that.

  10. i say chitown w/o rose cause the engine that runs the team

  11. all those teams have go to guys still even without there superstars, how about some love for orlando staying out of the 30th spot in the league

  12. Skeletor says:

    People forget that the Warriors also lost Brandon Rush, who is also a key member of their team, for the season.

    Warriors with Bogut AND Rush would be a scary team..

  13. Richard says:

    It’s always been about the system. When players get into the same page and stick to coach’s gameplan, and coach got htis real balance system, utilizing the strengths and weaknesses of the team, they produce W’s. Technically, Bulls, Philly and Indy are all but good defense teams, Warriors are making their strides, also playing a balance game on court. Hello Lakers! o.O

  14. jizbud says:

    Are you kidding me? Golden State would still be the most impressive even if they had Bogut playing every night. There wouldn’t be too many people predicting the Warriors to be able to get to .500 this year with Bogut. Shame about Bogut, the few minutes he did play looked like he could’ve been back to career best form.

  15. nobody says:

    I agree with sekou… Don’t forget Rose is a former MVP, he is in another realm. The Warriors have been great, though

  16. evan says:

    andris biedrins=worst free throw shooter yet plays on a good team

  17. Jay says:

    The Bulls are what we thought they were: competitive without Rose, potentially dominant/elite with him–or so they could be, as there isn’t a way to prove that yet.

    The Warriors, though…what they’re doing is crazy. They absolutely look dominant even without a key, pivotal, glue piece in Bogut. I hope they keep it up; the Warriors being relevant is just fun.

  18. Game Time says:

    Warriors are playing the way people thought Denver would this year. I think they could make playoffs if Curry stays healthy. If Bogut returns they’ll actually be a legitimate threat.

  19. AU YOUNG LION says:

    i agree with anyone who choose the bulls; Reason being Bogut has never really played with Golden State, so how could they possible no what there missing. Same as for the Sixers how can they judge if he hurts or helps them play better they simply can’t. As for the Pacers not having Granger maybe a good thing. Paul George’s game, and mentality has showed tremendous growth and he has kindof replaced the need for Granger. With all that said the bulls have showed the most poise, adding Rose back to this team with the growth of Noah and the allstar Deng screams championship. So in short without Rose best in the divison, with Rose best in the conference if not the NBA.

  20. jasonzappa says:

    Noah has been playing at all star levels. And Deng is a constant rock. When Rose gets back… look out-

    • pakyaw says:

      i like Bulls effort every game,buts thats not what they need…they need a another all star caliber will help d-rose(rudy gay type) a guy that can create his own..just an opinion…

  21. Bullsfan4life says:

    Bulls all day. just keep holding down the fort until Derrick returns. They the East is ours. Lu and Jo are allstars this season. No two players work harder. Lets go Bulls!

  22. P.Diddy says:

    Wow Sekou. Just, wow… The Warriors have been playing without a legit center for the entire season. They’ve got to make due with David Lee (good, solid player) and the only just healthy Curry. Secondly, Thompson’s got some sophomore-jitters with some pretty bad shooting nights. The Bulls have a frontcourt consisting of Deng-Boozer-Noah and Thibs’ defense. Of course they we’re gonna be above .500, what’d you expect?

    I think nobody expected the Warriors to play like this. Especially their second unit (Landry, Jack and Draymond Green) have been surprising me night in night out. Really hope they can still get 30-something games out of Bogut, or at least get him healthy for the playoffs. Everybody loves an underdog, right?