8 Chicago Bulls Will a hot finish from last year be the start of something big now?

October 27, 2003

Jamal Crawford doesn't look like a team leader. Baby-faced and
prone to tugging on his jersey with his thumbs while he talks as
if he were wearing suspenders, the 23-year-old Chicago guard
looks as if he just got out of college. Which, of course, he
would have, had he stayed at Michigan and not left after his
freshman year to join the NBA in 2000. Now, after three seasons
in Chicago, he's in the peculiar position of being one of two
Bulls with the longest continuous tenure, yet he's only a year
older than Kirk Hinrich, the team's first-round draft pick out of
Kansas.

Nevertheless, the Bulls' coaches and fans are fully expecting
Crawford to lead the team's long-awaited resurgence this season.
"We're counting on a lot from him," says coach Bill Cartwright.
"Maybe even more so because he played so well at the end of last
year. Now, though, we want him to create for others as well as
for himself."

Crawford played at nearly an All-Star level down the stretch last
season, averaging 23.0 points and 6.4 assists in the final eight
games. But now the pressure to produce is greater because the
team's 2002 first-round draft pick, Jay Williams, is sidelined
indefinitely after a motorcycle accident and because Crawford's
backup, Hinrich, is a rookie. "I've been working on making things
easier for my teammates," says Crawford. "Finding out where they
like the ball and focusing on being a creator." Quizzed on where
swingman Jalen Rose likes the ball, he responds, "Up high. Right
above his belly button." Center Eddy Curry? "Anywhere in the
air." On forward Tyson Chandler, however, Crawford stumbles,
saying, "I guess I throw it in the air a bit."

It's early in training camp, so Crawford can be let off the hook.
But if the Bulls are to make the playoffs this year, he'll have
to do his homework. --C.B.

COLOR PHOTO: ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES Jamal Crawford

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Bulls

"I'm sure Jalen Rose thinks this is his team, but he's a
shoot-first guy who dominates the ball, and that isn't the best
thing for the development of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler....
Curry came on during the second half of last season, and that has
to give him confidence. He's extremely quick with his moves in
the post, but that might be because he's such a horrible passer
out of the double team. I think he fears being doubled.... Curry
obviously listens and learns well, but I'm not sure I feel the
same way about Chandler. I wonder about his inconsistency. He
looks like he should be able to score whenever he wants to. He's
great at setting up deep in the post, where all he has to do is
turn around for a high-percentage shot, but he doesn't get down
on the blocks often enough.... I've never felt Scottie Pippen was
a leader, though he can set a good example by preparing for each
game and playing with intelligence and energy. But even that will
be hard if he misses close to 20 games, as he has each of the
last three seasons.... The Bulls are still running a lot of
triangle. They're also trying a two-guard front, in which you
don't really know which one is the point guard. That's good for
Jamal Crawford because I don't know if he really is a point,
though he did cut down a lot on his errors last season. If they
start Rose and Pippen with Crawford, they'll have three ball
handlers and it won't matter which one initiates the offense....
Kirk Hinrich was drafted to replace Jay Williams, but can Hinrich
overcome his lack of quickness? ... I see their young guys
continuing to get better. They have no choice but to improve on
their road record [3-38 last year], and I'm guessing they'll come
on in the second half to grab the final playoff spot."

FAST FACT
Eddy Curry became the first player in six years to average more
than 10 points despite playing less than 20 minutes per game.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 30-52 (12th in East)
Points scored: 95.0 (16th in NBA)
Points allowed: 100.1 (26th)
Coach: Bill Cartwright
(third season with Bulls)

EDDY CURRY

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
C 89 10.5 4.4 0.5

BPG SPG FG% FT%
0.77 0.22 58.5 62.4

DONYELL MARSHALL

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SF 70 13.4 9.0 1.8

BPG SPG FG% FT%
1.09 1.22 45.9 75.6

JAMAL CRAWFORD

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PG 86 10.7 2.3 4.2

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
0.96 41.3 35.5 80.6

JALEN ROSE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SG 31 22.1 4.3 4.8

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
0.88 40.6 37.0 85.4

TYSON CHANDLER

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PF 100 9.2 6.9 1.0

BPG SPG FG% FT%
1.41 0.49 53.1 60.8

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

F-G SCOTTIE
[1] PIPPEN 131 10.8 ppg 4.3 rpg 4.5 apg 1.64 spg 44.4 FG%
F MARCUS
FIZER 159 11.7 ppg 5.7 rpg 1.3 apg 0.45 bpg 46.5 FG%
F-G KENDALL
[1] GILL 217 8.7 ppg 3.0 rpg 1.9 apg 0.95 spg 42.2 FG%
G[1] KIRK
HINRICH (R) 240 17.3 ppg 3.8 rpg 3.5 apg 1.86 spg 47.5 FG%
F-C CORIE
BLOUNT 316 3.0 ppg 4.1 rpg 0.38 bpg 57.1 FT% 48.5 FG%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)