With the news that Joakim Noah will be out for awhile with plantar fasciitis - awhile meaning, they have no idea how long - the Chicago Bulls found themselves in need of another big man. They've apparently turned to Chris Richard, who played for them early this season in addition to receiving a Bulls call-up last month. (This one's on me, since I saw that Richard "did not travel" with the 66ers last night but didn't investigate further.) While it's encouraging that the Bulls seem to have found their guy and that he's a D-Leaguer, I'm still not thrilled with this call-up.
Richard is a solid player, to be sure. In 12 D-League games this season he has averaged about nine points and eight rebounds per game, and certainly there's something to be said for calling up a player who's familiar with the system. I believe there are better players, though. Why not take a look at Rod Benson, who held Richard to two points and three rebounds in their last meeting and got Richard to foul out in the game before that? Or Dwayne Jones who, while he may not have been what the Mavericks were looking for, still looked good in the workout and can rebound his tail off, and who just outplayed NBA guy Byron Mullens? Or, for a slightly different look, why not see what Alexander Johnson can do? In about the same number of D-League games as Richard, Johnson is scoring more than twice as much (21 and a half points) and rebounding more (just over 11 boards) per game.
As I said earlier, I understand the appeal of calling up someone who has some familiarity with what you do as a team, and I certainly don't begrudge Richard. Still, this seems like a move done out of comfort and a lack of will to actually put in the scout work and see who might be able to help your team. I don't hate this call-up, but...sigh.