1/2 Season Update from Chicago
- By Austin Simpson, Day 85, 2023
At exactly the halfway point through the season the Jailbirds are 29-12 and still look like the best defensive team in the league. They have been able to hold teams under 100 points 9 times on the road and 10 times at home, which is impressive. In fact they have given up 110+ points at home only twice all season, both losses, against the Scorpions (111) and Thunder (118). On the road that number rises to 6 occasions of 110+ points allowed with a majority happening in their recent stretch of losses. Chicago eagerly waited for Bryant Rodgers collarbone to heal and dropped a couple losses in that stretch. Now that he's back Bryant Rodgers has played in 6 games. While his numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet they are solid given his playing time of 20 min/game. He’s averaging 17.6 total rebounds and 2.55 blocks per 36, which is exactly what he was brought in for as Bryant won’t likely get the chance to put up the amount of shots he has been accustomed to in the past. Chicago’s upper management and coaching staff have had positive remarks towards Javon Noble, who was the other piece they acquired in the Rodgers trade. He has had a limited role thus far but keep an eye on him as Chicago helps him gain confidence and minutes against lesser opponents.
When asked about what has gone well and what the focus for the 2nd half of the season, Chicago’s GM went on the record to say:
“I am very happy with our team’s performance through the first half of the season. We are on pace to have 60 wins again, which was our goal from the beginning. We really like the improvements Rasheed Stone has made this season, who is having a career year. The mentorship that Marcus Wright has given him has been extremely valuable. We’ve talked about the addition of Taver in the past and can’t stress enough how well he’s meshed with our team. We look forward to bringing Stone + Tarver back in the off-season and keeping them in Chicago for years to come. Looking forward, our second half performance is critical. We know the value and importance of playing at home and will be vying for the highest seed possible to give us that advantage. Even with that in mind we are going to be careful to watch the minutes of our veterans and when possible get some of our younger players more reps in the event they find themselves in the playoff environment. We are also looking to make minor adjustments to improve the play of our stars Jason Cheaney and Keydren Carter. Both players are focal points of the team and have done an exceptional job but I think we can ask more of them. My expectation is both players outperform the 1st half versions of themselves. Overall we have had success with our defense and will maintain focus on that in the 2nd half. If defense wins championships we are ready to hoist the JBL trophy.”
Currently the Jailbirds are a half game back of the Central Division lead behind the Kings and look to see themselves on top after the King's upcoming road trip out west. The Kings will return to play the Jailbirds at home which could end up being a very important game.