Are the Bulls going to make a trade for a guard?
Why does Keith Bogans start over Kyle Korver?
Tell me again why the Bulls drafted Tyrus Thomas over LaMarcus Aldridge?
The Tribune's Bulls reporter answers these questions and more.
Are the Bulls going to make a trade for a backup point guard or shooting guard?
Short answer: Only management knows. Long answer: If they make a move, I still think it will be a smaller one and the most likely acquisition is Courtney Lee. The coaching staff likes him and the Bulls have scouted him extensively, although I also hear the Rockets still don't want to part with him. So stay tuned. Trade talks finally get serious in the final two weeks before the deadline.
What's the over/under coach Thibodeau goes ballistic on Carlos Boozer for his matador defense?
It's already happened more than once. Don't let semantics fool you: Boozer got benched for the fourth quarter of the Jan. 5 loss in New Jersey because Thibodeau didn't like his lack of effort in defensive transition. And he pulled him earlier than his usual rotational rest in Portland. I think the fact Kurt Thomas started on Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge on this trip tells you all you need to know, though Thibodeau consistently praises Boozer's rebounding when his defense is questioned.
I had a thought about the Knicks-Nuggets trade talks: How about the Bulls get in on the action and offer Ronnie Brewer and a first-round pick for Chauncey Billups? He would be an ideal fit for the two-guard spot and I think that he's a true professional.
About the only part of this I agree with is that Billups is a true professional. Why would the Nuggets do this?
I noticed that James Johnson is tearing up the D League. Any sense that he is learning how to play smarter basketball during his stint in the minors, or are his evident physical skills simply far superior to his peers?
I know that Bulls management is more focused on the latter--playing smarter--than the former--gaudy stats. Along those lines, Pete Myers has been with James to monitor and work on his development. It's likely James will be back with the Bulls either just before or after the All-Star break. I still don't see him cracking the rotation, but I think this D League move has been a good one.
What is the deal with Jo's neck bead fashion voodoo? And does that same tan jacket he wears for seemingly every game smell like Otto's from "The Simpsons?" And what music are you digging while awaiting Radiohead's next studio opus?
Far be it for any sportswriter to comment on fashion since our typical preferred choice is crumb-filled sportcoats and wrinkled slacks. Music is another story, and I've been playing Cloud Cult's "Light Chasers," Neutral Milk Hotel's "In An Aeroplane Over the Sea," Conor Oberst's latest solo record and Old 97's "The Grand Theatre" the most lately. For retro's sake, I'm on a huge Clash/Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros kick of late. And I'm also very excited for imminent new releases from Lucinda Williams and Glasvegas.
I'm watching LaMarcus Aldridge destroy the Bulls and I'm wondering: How on Earth was Tyrus ranked higher than him? Is this karma for Bowie over MJ?
Ah, yes, the ol' 2006 NBA draft. (As an aside, I've joked with organizational members that this occurred during my one-season sojourn trying the Bears' beat, so it's not my fault.) The Bulls for years had drafted solid citizens from strong college programs and felt the organization could handle taking a flyer on potential and upside. It didn't work out. At the time, from afar, I was more surprised they didn't take Brandon Roy, who fit the classic profile for John Paxson draft picks--four-year college player, good representative for the franchise, etc. In hindsight, with Roy's knees shot, that has turned out to be a good move. Later, since I wasn't covering it at the time, I was surprised to hear Scott Skiles pushed for Thomas as well. He doesn't seem his type of player. But the Bulls did what you do when you miss--tried to turn the problem into something positive. The Charlotte pick they got for Thomas could be beneficial at some point.
It seems as if nobody gives credit to just how good the Bulls' bench is. When the bench takes the floor, the lead usually increases or the deficit decreases. Rarely is a team perfect. The Bulls may lack a star at shooting guard, but they're a very solid, deep team. And by the way, has anybody noticed that Kyle Korver is an underrated passer?
Sam Smith and I have. My former colleague and friend were just talking about Korver's passing during the Trail Blazers' game. He's an excellent post feeder and also finds Brewer on baseline cuts consistently. As for the bench, I agree, particularly in the second quarter. They don't have a lot of flashy bench players, but guys like C.J. Watson, Taj Gibson, Brewer, Korver and Omer Asik have filled their roles well. It's a big reason the Bulls are one of four teams not to have a losing streak of three games.
Who would have thought the Bulls would have a better record than the Los Angeles Lakers at this point in the season?
Well, they're a half-game back now, but the eternal Bulls optimist, Johnny Red Kerr, would've. This Feb. 26 marks two years since he passed. He still is missed greatly and remembered fondly.
What is "ice?" You can often hear Thibodeau or one of the bigs yelling it. It's clearly about defending the pick-and-roll, but after watching for half a season, I still haven't picked up fully what it means.
You're spot on in that it's a call for defending the pick-and-roll. I'm sure there are aspects of it that I don't fully understand. But in short, it calls for the defender getting screened to try to force the dribbler to the baseline and the big man help to show and recover. Other rotations and help form off that initial move.
I think the Bulls should make no trades at the deadline. If you stand pat, when the collective bargaining agreement is settled you can lock up Derrick and still improve your squad while young. Boston is still the best in the East but aging and will go through a transition soon. Orlando is clueless and look for Dwight to bolt. Miami has a lot of talent and will be our nemesis for years but need depth. Atlanta will be dismantled to some degree. Be patient and become the dynasty of the future. Thoughts?
If the Bulls do stand pat, this will be part of the reason why. Coaches want to win now and obviously would like an upgrade in shooting and athleticism. Management has to plan long-term. A lot has to go right for the Bulls to become the dynasty of the future. They need more shooting and athleticism. But management sees the same things you do--that, with Rose and Noah and Deng as such young core pieces, really only Miami projects out to be as strong as the Bulls a few years from now.
Will Luol land on first- or second-team All Defense this season?
I think that's a bit of a stretch, although Deng has had a solid and versatile defensive season. The fact the Bulls have such strong defensive numbers without a clear-cut defensive team option is quite impressive and speaks to the commitment at that end from coaches and players.
What is so special about Keith Bogans' defense? I feel he gets beat a lot in limited minutes.
Thibodeau consistently has said Bogans is starting because he sets a tone for defense and toughness. Anyone who watched Bogans and Raja Bell go at in Utah knows what he means. I'm almost done printing Bogans' questions every week. It's obvious Thibodeau is going to start him--probably all season--and he's not playing starters' minutes but a role that Thibodeau likes. Let's move on.
I think there is a huge misconception that Bogans plays good defense. Check out his stats on 82games.comM. It clearly shows the team's effective FG% allowed goes from 44.6% when he's off the court to a whopping 49% when he's on it. He also consistently posts the worst +/- numbers. Kyle Korver has better defensive numbers (effective FG% goes from 47% off court to 45% on it) and better offensive numbers. The stats don't lie, K.C.! Korver should be starting. It's so frustrating because this team is on the verge of greatness and there is that gaping hole at shooting guard.
That didn't last long. I printed one more Bogans question to remind all that I've advocated starting Korver consistently throughout this mailbag all season. I just think he needs more shots and to play with Rose more. But look: Thibodeau has forgotten more basketball than all of us know put together and there are two things at play here: It's obviously a coach's prerogative to do what he thinks "feels" best for the team. And it's crystal clear Thibodeau has latched on to starting Bogans. Secondly, there is something to be said for chemistry and continuity. Bogans is well-liked by teammates and what good would it do to make a change now when the team is rolling and he isn't playing starters' minutes anyway but instead being used to set that aforementioned tone of toughness?
I remember you mentioning awhile back the Bulls will play a league-high 23 sets of back-to-back games. What is the low and by which team? I would hope the spread would not be more than five series.
The Bulls are tied with the Bucks for the most sets of back-to-back games with 23. The Lakers play 15 sets. That sound you heard last summer was Bulls management screaming at their pocket schedules when the league released its unscientific work.
With conflicting news out of LA that Ron Ron wants out, any chance the Bulls would be interested in a reunion? When motivated, he's pretty good and plays great D. Thoughts?
Eddie Robinson has a better chance of being re-acquired by the Bulls than Ron Ron. And come to think of it, those two provided me with some of my favorite off-the-court anecdotal memories from all my years on the beat. Here's one: We got let in at the tail end of this one practice and Ron looked like he had steam coming out of his years. He wandered over to this huge contraption used to help stretch out your back. He picked it up--it had to weigh over 100 pounds--and hurled it across the Berto Center floor. The way it bounced, heavily lurching and surprisingly not taking large chunks of the floor with it, always will be emblazoned in my mind.Michael Lovenberg, Madison, Wis.
Last edited by little bear; 02-10-2011 at 02:24 PM.
It's no longer surprise when Bulls beat one of NBA's elite
After Derrick Rose put the finishing touches on a Jordanesque fourth quarter in a 109-99 victory Thursday night over the weary Spurs at the United Center, it was fair to ask. We knew this marquee matchup would feature the best team in the NBA. But seeing Rose respond to a rousing pre-game pep talk from Tom Thibodeau with a career-high 42 points, can we be sure which team that was? "It worked,'' Rose said of his coach's rare rah-rah approach. First there was the speech. Then came the statement. Nobody rolls their eyes anymore when the Bulls say they can beat anybody because they keep proving it. They did it again against the Spurs, who arrived carrying a 46-9 record and left hoping the next Rose they see is in a garden. "He's something, huh?'' Thibodeau said. And a national TV audience answered, "Uh-huh!" So too are the Bulls. They already beat the Celtics, Heat, Lakers and Magic on the same floor so maybe we no longer should be surprised. From now on we should expect such excellence from a team 22 games above .500 and 25-4 at home. I know this was billed as a 48-minute measuring stick and the victory indeed will cause some skeptics to reassess the Bulls' place among the NBA elite. But a victory that never was in doubt mostly reinforced the Bulls are the most surprising team in the East and Rose is the MVP of the league. "He has taken a monster leap this year,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. If you wanted something truly to gauge where the Bulls stand and how far they have come, a calendar offered a more impressive reading. It was one year ago Friday at the Berto Center that general manager Gar Forman announced the Bulls had executed the Great Salary Dump of 2010. In separate deals, the Bulls unloaded draft bust Tyrus Thomas to the Bobcats and John Salmons to the Bucks. As much salary-cap space and hope as those moves created that day, if Forman had predicted in 365 days the Bulls would start 38-16 without signing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, you could have heard the snickering in Skokie. The Bulls were 27-26 at that point with few distinguishable traits except Rose's teardrop floater. Flip Murray was the Bulls' best perimeter threat off the bench, Vinny Del Negro was their coach. In Boston, Thibodeau still was a career assistant wondering if his big chance ever would come. In what was the Bulls' most significant offseason move, it finally did. Now, after turning over more than half the roster in a year, Thibodeau's Bulls have improved so rapidly that analyst Charles Barkley projects them to win the East. Only one man in the league has coached any better than Thibodeau. That would be Popovich, the architect of the quietest dynasty in contemporary pro sports. As drastic as the Bulls' metamorphosis has been, the Spurs have changed every bit as much considering they successfully converted styles with the same core and head coach. So the ultimate compliment to the Bulls came when Popovich was asked to compare them to the Heat and Celtics. "They're more like us than they are like those guys,'' Popovich said. When a coach with four championship rings says the Bulls resemble his defensive-minded team, it echoes even louder than chants of "M-V-P!" To Popovich, it all starts with Thibodeau. John Paxson and Forman didn't sign seven new players all known for their defense. But Thibodeau quickly indoctrinated everybody in a complex system that's simple in the way it demands consistent effort and communication. "If he's not the best, he's one of the best as far as understanding defense and being able to teach it, getting them to understand it and holding them accountable without giving in,'' Popovich said. "He's going to keep drilling, keep demanding.'' To keep winning deep into the postseason, many believe the Bulls need to upgrade at shooting guard . Maybe acquiring a player such as Courtney Lee or Anthony Parker, two of the names often mentioned, would supply more oomph in the starting lineup than Keith Bogans. Maybe not. Sorry, I won't be among those wringing their hands before next Thursday's trade deadline awaiting a minor move. Is the need that glaring? What's not to like? What are they missing badly enough to tinker with? That was Omer Asik blocking Tony Parker's shot and C.J. Watson playing nine solid minutes. Kyle Korver sank a straight-on 3-pointer from what appeared to be Lot E. And if Kurt Thomas continues to age this well, his new nickname will be Cabernet. A front office that hired Thibodeau and worked so quickly to build this team around Rose has earned back the benefit of the doubt. It will be hard to overreact to whatever trade-deadline decision is made given how much credibility the Paxson-Forman duo has regained. The only thing about the Bulls worth worrying about might be burnout. Thibodeau plans to work through All-Star weekend. His grocery list is probably full of more Xs and Os than fruit and vegetables. It sounds like his idea of getting away is the Berto snack room. Get some rest, Thibs. Your next break might not come till June when it's no longer crazy to think the Bulls could see the Spurs again.
CHICAGO -- As expected, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will return to action in Toronto on Wednesday after missing 30 games with thumb surgery, coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed Monday in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN Chicago. "He's coming back," he said in the telephone interview. "He was cleared to go last week." Back for Toronto? "Oh yeah," he said. The Bulls have soared despite the voluble center's absence, going 22-8 since his last game on Dec. 15. At 38-16, the Bulls have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and are within striking distance of Boston and Miami. Noah was averaging 14 points and 11.7 rebounds before his surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb and hand. He has been working on his conditioning and shooting, and scrimmaging with a teammate after practice. Thibodeau said Noah should have an easier adjustment than did Carlos Boozer, because Noah has played this season. But he's not expecting a seamless transition. "That's the challenge," Thibodeau said. "Just like at the start of the season, the challenge is how quickly everyone can get on the same page. When someone comes back, it's the same thing. You don't want it to be a long adjustment." Like any coach, Thibodeau doesn't want his team to get overconfident now that it's at full strength. Noah and Boozer only played nine games together between injuries and the team seems to be peaking. Miami comes to town Thursday. "The important thing is to not lose sight of how you got there," Thibodeau said of the team's stature. "We have to play the same way, be ready and play hard. That's what you want."
The Chicago Bulls have sent James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors for a draft pick, the team announced Tuesday. The pick is the Miami Heat's first-round selection this year, which is owned by the Raptors. Johnson was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Bulls out of Wake Forest, but the 6-foot-9 small forward has averaged career totals of just 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. "It [stinks]," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I consider J.J. a little brother. But he wasn't playing a lot, and I wish him nothing but the best. And I hope that he gets an opportunity to get out there on the court and show what kind of player he is." The Bulls face the Raptors on Wednesday. ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher first reported the move. With the cap space created by dealing Johnson to Toronto, Chicago could now absorb the $2.9 million contract of Cleveland's Anthony Parker -- one of their top trade targets for weeks -- without having to part with any players. It's believed that the Cavaliers would expect at least one future first-round pick in such a swap, but the Bulls are armed with an extra first-rounder thanks to the Johnson deal. Houston's Courtney Lee, who's making a mere $1.4 million, is another longstanding Bulls target. But sources briefed on Chicago's thinking told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Tuesday night that the Bulls have not yet abandoned hope of striking a deal for Memphis' O.J. Mayo, even though Mayo's $4.5 million salary would not fit into that cap space. The Bulls appear to be trying to stockpile assets, such as the first-rounder acquired from the Raptors, for at least one more deal before Thursday's 3 p.m. trading deadline. Yet ESPN.com reported earlier this month that the Grizzlies are reluctant to trade Mayo now in the midst of his troubled season, knowing that Mayo's recent 10-game drug suspension and a fight on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen would make it hard for them to get good value for the No. 3 overall pick from the 2008 draft. Another potential roadblock for any team interested in Mayo is the recent shoulder injury suffered by Grizzlies swingman Rudy Gay, who is expected to miss up to a month and could thus prompt Memphis to reject offers for Mayo that might have been accepted before the injury.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls did not make a move prior to Thursday's trade deadline, refusing to deal big men Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. The Bulls did look into bolstering their shooting guard position, but they weren't willing to part with either of their post players. Chicago traded James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, creating flexibility that could have facilitated a move. O.J. Mayo, Anthony Parker and Courtney Lee were names being mentioned as possibilities, but Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said recently they wouldn't make a move that compromised team chemistry. "We've made huge strides this year, and we still think our best basketball is yet to come," Paxson said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. However, the Bulls "aggressively pursued" Mayo, according to a Chicago Tribune report citing multiple league sources. The Bulls offered guard Ronnie Brewer along with two first-round picks and one second-round pick to the Grizzlies but were rebuffed, according to the report. The Bulls, who will keep an eye on players who are bought out, are the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. "We're always trying to improve the team and we're always looking at all of the options that are out there," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Thursday. "But at the same time, in my mind, we don't want to hit a single or a double. We want to try to hit a home run. "And I feel -- and I think we feel -- that we're probably as well positioned as anybody of the good teams in the East to make improvements for our team over the next year, two years or three years. There's going to be opportunities there to hopefully hit the home run." The Boston Celtics, who are tied with the Miami Heat atop the East standings, made two moves. The Celtics agreed to ship center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. The Celtics also traded rookie Semih Erden and former Notre Dame star Luke HarangodyCleveland Cavaliers for a second-round draft pick.
Prior to this season, I guess I didn't realize what a pussy Bosh is:
For all the talk about how much these three wanted to play together b/c of their experience in the olympics, or whatever national group they played in, they sure to hell have problems working with eachother night in night out.
Look how well NY has improved after just a few games of Melo, Billups(probably the glue to that trade really) and Stad.
The Bulls can beat Miami in a 7 game series, NY too; not sure about the Celts, will have to see how all this looks w/out Perkins. I was always scared of their size, and depth...not sure how that team is going to play now.
WASHINGTON — The Bulls' signature play Monday night was not rehearsed. It was sweet and spontaneous, like a child's laughter.
Derrick Rose made a steal, thundered to the rim and then tricked defender John Wall by making a leaping, backward, between-the-legs feed to Joakim Noah, who slammed it home.
"That was nice, wasn't it?" Noah said after the Bulls' dominant 105-77 victory. "I knew he saw me."
The Bulls' defense-first coach, Tom Thibodeau, took just enough of a break from lauding his team's rebounding and bench to express his admiration for the play.
"You don't get any extra points for that," Thibodeau said, "but he has the ability to do a lot of different things. He has great vision and is so unselfish."
Rose said of the move: "It wasn't pre-planned or anything. I wanted to make it very easy, where Joakim either finished or got fouled."
So it went on a night in which the Bulls dominated an undermanned Wizards team that bought out guard Mike Bibby's contract Monday after a mere two-game stint.
The Bulls have struggled with weaklings like this (see: Raptors 118, Bulls 113), but that was hardly the case Monday.
The Bulls pulled away early in the second quarter when the bench stepped up with its best Phi Slama Jama impersonation.
Taj Gibson threw one down, then another off a Ronnie Brewer feed. Omer Asik rebounded a Kyle Korver miss and dunked it, giving his team a 35-25 lead.
"I thought our mindset was right," Thibodeau said after the second game of a five-game road trip. "We got established defensively, and the rebounding was outstanding to start the game. We were ready to play, we shared the ball and our bench was terrific."
Gibson grabbed seven boards and blocked three shots despite tweaking an ankle, according to Thibodeau, in 20-plus minutes. Kyle Korver went 3-for-6 from long range and Brian Scalabrine entertained the fans who called for him in the game's final minutes by banking in a 19-foot fadeaway.
Joakim Noah was so active (19 points, 11 rebounds) in his fourth game back from thumb surgery, Thibodeau said: "He's back almost to the point where he was before the injury. His activity is off the charts."
But Rose was the show-stopper. D.C. is home to a blue-state president, but the specks of red in the crowd serenaded him with "MVP!" "MVP!" chants that are becoming commonplace on the road.
"It's crazy," Rose said, giggling. "I'm loving it right now. I'm coming into every arena and everyone's cheering. Thank God we're winning."