Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 03.08.2013
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Home losses this year to the Hornets (sans Davis and Gordon), Bucks (twice), Bobcats (who were riding an 18 game losing streak), Suns, Spurs (sans everyone), and now Cavs (sans Irving), have made me lose considerable hair on my head. This goes down as one of the most frustrating seasons for me as a Bulls fan in the last 25 years. Can you think of a more frustrating year in a season that mattered (thus toss out 1999-2004)? The closest I can think of is 1994-95, before Jordan's return.
Sam: I’m not sure why it should be frustrating with Hamilton and Hinrich already missing double figure games with injuries, Rose out all season and Noah and Deng playing through injuries. Did you have 60 wins? 50? There are maybe five teams in the league the Bulls cannot compete with like that, and they have lost to them. So how do they get the other 25 losses that get them to maybe a 44-38 season that most projected. I had 47 with good health beyond Rose. Silly me. So you lose some games like that. They are in all those games as well, but when you take out the one closer what can anyone expect? Again, I’m trying to be logical. Someone splash cold water on me.
I read your recent article about Belinelli possibly being the SG of the future. I agree that the Bulls SG of the future is on the roster, but I believe that person is Jimmy Butler. Butler has 13 games this season in which he has played 30 min or more. In those games, he has averaged just about 13 pts and 6.7 rebs a game. I would also argue that he is a far superior defender than Belinelli and will probably improve given his age. Obviously, the points you made about Belinelli’s outside shooting and ballhandling make him perhaps the better option right now, but Butler has shown tremendous improvement in those areas from last season. Do you think the Bulls organization sees Butler as a future SG, as a replacement for Luol Deng, or just as a solid role player?
Sam: When I wrote about Belinelli the other day as a possible future shooting guard, it was more to bring him into the conversation. Actually, I really don’t see so many great options at that position who are available. I don’t see that someone like O.J. Mayo is any better even if you could get him and you’d way overpay. Your shooting guard doesn’t have to be Jordan. Just someone who can make a shot and make a play and defend enough. Reggie Miller wasn’t much of a defender and he’s one of the best ever at that position. Belinelli is a legitimate NBA starter. As for Jimmy, it’s tough to extrapolate. He remains a reluctant shooter from most everywhere and isn’t defended that much on the perimeter. Yes, he’s a far superior defender to Belinelli and much better athlete, though not as skilled. The bigger question is whether he could or would be able to replace Deng if the Bulls choose to go that way. It’s possible, but for now he looks like an excellent sixth man energy type.
I do not believe that Rose actually reflects the beliefs or statements of his brother (even if his statement afterwards could have been better), but would it be so bad if he did feel that way? I know Rose did not recruit players like LeBron for the reason that he did not want to betray Deng or make his team feel like they weren't enough, which should be argument enough that he doesn't feel the same way as his brother. But didn't Jordan complain about Jerry Krause in the same manner? I don't remember his complaints in particular, just that he complained about Krause often. I figure the complaint was either for not spending enough on the surroundings or paying him enough (which I would assume would be more of a CBA thing). I'm not sure if all the fans complaining about Rose's loyalty is a reflection of the fans liking our current team so much (despite fans seemingly wanting roster upgrades all the time). What's the difference between Jordan complaining then and fans jumping to the conclusion that Rose just might, possibly feel that way now?
Sam: Clearly, this debate about Rose fueled by relentless misleading media reports and combined for fans’ frustration about the team not doing that well has had an adverse effect on the view of Rose, which will all go away once he plays. As I’ve written many times and I’ve been around him and spoke with him somewhat regularly in casual conversation that his relationship with the team seems to remain exactly how it always was, that he’s just as he’s always been, and that all these headlines — and if you read or listen carefully Thibodeau has said nothing different than he did three months ago — have merely stoked a media conversation. Which is OK as radio, TV and newspaper talk and debate is just conversation, and for the rest of us it’s entertaining. Rose, I believe, has been working from a daily plan from his doctors. He remains just on their schedule and from everything I can gather the players are comfortable with him and glad he’s around. I asked one about Rose sitting on the bench the other night in Indiana and the player laughed and said he thought Derrick just remembered to bring his sports coat as you can’t sit on an NBA bench without one as Joakim Noah has found out as he’s often a target of the NBA fashion police. I did get on a tangent, which I do. As for Michael, you cannot imagine what it was like when he was out that season with his broken foot. The team was worried about him returning too soon as doctors said there remained a chance another break could end his career. Jordan wanted to play and accused the organization of throwing games to get in the draft and he didn’t want to be with a team that was corrupt. Fan pressure fell on management since Jerry Reinsdorf’s group had bought the Bulls and though his White Sox had done very well, Chicago fans often tend to treasure sentimentality over rationality and sided with Bill Veeck, the previous Sox owner who was a fan favorite but who as underfinanced, always was selling off players and never winning. So fans decided Reinsdorf’s group buying elite free agents like Carlton Fisk and adding Greg Luzinski that they were cheap. That’s Chicago. And as we came to find out often Jerry Krause wasn’t exactly media savvy. So Jordan vs. the Jerrys was a Mike Tyson first round KO. Could you imagine today if Rose were blasting everyone like that? Rose is basically saying nothing, and when he has done a few interviews he’s sounded reasonable and cautious and respectful of the process. So what’s the issue?
I can't help but think Derrick's comeback is getting a little out of hand now. He sits on the bench, he is day to day, he may not play and it's up to him. I read an article the other day saying the Bulls won't give a day and left it up to him to keep playoff tickets selling. I have a staff that reports to me and if someone is ill or off on personal reasons we agree on a timeline and get kept up to date with changes. Come on Derrick, we need you now, or just tell us you won't be back so as fans we can adjust.
Sam: This is the ill-informed sort of mail I get a lot that leads to the notion there is some vast conspiracy going on. One thing I’ve learned about successful sports teams in big markets: They never mess around to sell tickets because they don’t have to. There couldn’t be anything more erroneous. Rose hasn’t been told when he can return or even if buy medical people. The medical people haven’t made a determination based on where he is. This is like walking into a heart replacement operation after eight hours and yelling at the surgeon and patient that you need to know when they’ll be done because Dancing with the Stars is coming on.
I was wondering if the Bulls have ever signed/drafted a player that you didn't really like? It can be based on their on court contributions or just their personality from what you have known or heard about them. I'm sure we should probably stick to players from the past in case there is someone on the current team.
Sam: Well, of course, Tyrus Thomas, who from Day 1 was as miserable a person and as miserable to most everyone around the Bulls as anyone I’d ever encountered. The Bulls actually have a very good group now, and I even hear people at the NBA office saying they are one of the more cooperative groups around the league. The loonies are much overrated in the NBA as there aren’t many. Guys can be very difficult. Kevin Garnett is moody and can be tough to deal with, but when he wants to talk he’s a delight, smart and introspective and interesting. The NBA does a good job with rookie orientation trying to get guys to understand how attitude affects your life. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he played couldn’t have been a more standoffish person, condescending and pompous. So when he retired one of the greatest players ever couldn’t get an interview to be an assistant coach. The guys on the end of the bench you crapped on for years now ran the teams. Kareem has come around in recent years, but it was a painful lesson. With the Bulls even erratic people like Rodman and Artest were pleasant to deal with and good with staff, at least when their medication didn’t get too low. Even problem drug guys from years back like Quintin Dailey were good to deal with and you felt sorry for their issues. The Bulls often has been criticized for being conservative on personnel, but it’s also generally made for a good core of people. I’ve had runins with some guys in the league. Anthony Mason was bad. But by and large the NBA is the best league for people because the players tend to become accustomed to dealing with media and fans early in life in large numbers given the celebrity of their sports; they’re much less guarded and protected than football players, who long have had a history of behavioral issues perhaps linked to what it takes to get so big and baseball players who spend years coming through nowhere small towns and aren’t as sophisticated. I’ve always heard hockey players are great to deal with, but I can’t see where the puck is, especially when they score, so I never go.
This offseason Rip sign and trade to Phx for Shannon Brown. You ask why would RIP do this? Well first his pal Lindsay Hunter is the coach and second the phx medical staff can probably squeeze 3 or 4 more years out of that body. Brown is out of the rotation and in Chicago he and Butler will share the 2 guard role. I know he's a diva but no one pulls that stuff with tom T. Plus after next season he is expiring.
Sam: I guess the issue could be picking up Hamilton’s option at $5 million and where that would leave the team as far as any other move. I know Brown is a great athlete and good three point shooter, but the Bulls had him before briefly and I heard it didn’t go that well. If he can’t even get in the game with this Suns team — though, yes, it could be a youth movement or something out of his control — maybe there’s a big issue. That said I like Belinelli better given his versatility.
I think the chicago Bulls organization should start campaigning for Joakim Noah as defensive player of the year. I dont know where the Bulls would be without this guy.
Sam: Noah has had a career season so far and in becoming something of an offensive threat as well, which is what you hear most from the other coaches around the NBA. My sense now is he’s the frontrunner in the media voting ahead of defending champ Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard out of the mix. Voting starts the beginning of April and I assume the Bulls send out some information, but that sort of lobbying doesn’t usually influence much. Teams end up doing it like everything in the NBA now. One team does it, like stays in a better hotel or gets a fancier bus or plane, and then agents or other players around the league usually goad players by saying their team does this. Nyaah, nyaah, nyaah. Your team is cheap. So then, sigh, everyone has to do it. Same with these campaigns. One team does it and it has zero effect, but then the agent calls and says you have to do it for his guy because that team is doing it for their guy. I know, I know, you usually mature after first grade. Not always.
What is with the Bulls and injuries? Its been like this for 3 years now where we never knew what kind of team we had. I understand they have a very good medical staff, but maybe a different philosophy is in order down the road? seems like other teams do not suffer the amount of injuries the Bulls do. Is this my imagination or would a look at the training philosophy be needed? It just seems like we have multiple players who suffer injury after injury.
Sam: You just don’t pay attention to any other teams. Check the Timberwolves this season, the Warriors again and in all sorts of seasons, the Knicks, just about every point guard out with injuries, Rondo and Nelson and Parker and Williams complaining all season and in and out and Irving and Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis and now Rivers, Marcin Gortat the other day and it goes on and on. I asked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about it the other night in San Antonio and may write about some of his comments in my Monday NBA column. Ginobili is out all the time as well. Sometimes you have an amazing star who seems invincible, like LeBron and Durant and Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Jordan was pretty much like that, and then you win. It did seem years back guys didn’t miss much compared with today and all the new training methods. The Bulls actually have a pretty good overall track record on this. But it magnifies when you lose the league MVP. Hamilton and Hinrich had a history of injuries coming in and you took a chance. It didn’t turn out as bad as the chance the 76ers took on Andrew Bynum. I think the Bulls do a good job in keeping guys going, like Noah and Deng. And Boozer is playing healthier than anytime in his career.
Years ago, I was wrong about Deng, as I thought he was soft and fragile. I wasn't impressed when the Bulls drafted Teague. Watching him out there against the Pacers, I'm even less enamored. PGs are leaders - usually with more bravado than the biggest player. This guy is getting rid of the ball as if he wants no part of any action. The Pacers are not worried about him at all. A bit strange for a PG - especially in his hometown. Your thoughts?
Sam: I hope you watched the Spurs game. This is the big problem with the so called one and done and the previous high school and done. Then fans want to judge these guys as teenagers, which is ridiculous. I never understand this issue. This is not a constitutional issue. The NBA is a private business. They should negotiate a rule in the best interests of their business, like football. Two or three years at minimum after high school and you’re eligible. We don’t want to see you before then. Marquis Teague shouldn’t be in anyone's discussion about taking or making shots, especially because he rarely plays. He’ll be a good player. Donnie Walsh once told me the best thing about this high school to the pros thing. He said sure some guys are ready, but it will reduce the quality level throughout the game. Guys who could be Hall of Famers will only be All-Stars. Guys who could be All-Stars won’t be. But then when that becomes the universe the Hall of Fame and All-Star label gets watered down. We’re seeing that coming now. You miss a lot not learning the game in structured situations in school, and then as your comments suggest the demands on you are immediate to play at a level you are not capable of given your lack of training. This is a huge hole in the NBA game that should be dealt with in collective bargaining if they one day get a players’ association chief as interested in the quality of the game.
Is it my imagination, or are at least 50% of the Bulls turnovers from trying to "thread the needle" with the passes to the inside? Isn't that something that could/should be tightened up? I love the passing, high assist/baskets made ratio and all of that, but it seems like you need to be smart about it.
Sam: They are very smart, like Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and John Stockton, who are some of the alltime leaders in turnovers. Along with Karl Malone, Jason Kidd and Hakeem Olajuwon. Coaches often are like fans. They want the only the good plays. If you are a great passing and unselfish team this is inevitable. You can’t make great passes without trying them. I’m fine with that. One of the strengths of Thibodeau is he still is working on a 200-0 game for his team. That’s why he’ll always work hard because he seeks the impossible. I love the way the Bulls players think so unselfishly on offense and with a few exceptions are smart, if not perfect.
The last 1st round draft bust I can think of for the Bulls is James Johnson. I am still in awe that he still manages to be playing in the NBA. How come nobody ever talks about the Bulls picking him over Jrue Holiday? Is it because we got lucky with Taj at #26?
Sam: That’s part of it, and the Bulls have done very well with their low first round picks. Check back into the 90’s and see how few first rounders the Bulls ever got on the roster. They are much better now at that than they were. But the Bulls have a point guard, and they didn’t expect him to miss a season. Like with Omer, if you don’t play you can’t show much, and Holiday eventually would have left as well. Teams talk about best player available and then basically pick for position. Johnson was a reach in some respects, though with two picks they felt they’d get one player. So they tried for one high ceiling guy in Johnson, who supposedly had all these varied skills and maybe would be a Pippen type as Pippen wasn’t projected even as he moved up in the draft as a Hall of Famer. The draft after the lottery is about risks and chances and I respect more those who told me before the draft to take Holiday, who wasn’t doing much as a UCLA freshman. He never would have gotten the playing opportunity he did with the Bulls as the 76ers made him a starter.
Luol reminds me of the knight in the Monty Python skit where he keeps getting limbs lopped off but wants to fight. He is a credit to the game.
Sam: It is interesting in that a few years ago the rap on Deng always was being soft, not wanting to play and being injury prone. Obviously, it was inaccurate. But imagine how Deng felt given he knew he wasn’t that guy and saw all this stuff being written and heard it whispered about him and how do you protest that? He’s a good model of what being a pro is. Keep your head down, do your job &mdsah; thanks Thibs — and let your play dictate who you are. He is a player you can be proud to root for.
I'm confused. Wasn't (Saturday) night the night to conserve minutes with our starters? But without Taj, we don't have anyone to match up with West. And I saw that Noah needed a blow. But 32 minutes played in a really important game against the Division leader? 42 (Saturday) night in a game we were up by 20 in the second half? If Noah's minutes are reversed, don't we stand a better chance of winning both games?
Sam: The minutes played controversy never ends. Look, the Bulls don’t lead by 20 much. Taking players out two or three minutes earlier in blowouts saves maybe 35 minutes over the season. I noted how Thibodeau was trying to give Noah a blow against the Spurs, and Noah objected to coming out and then the Spurs broke the game open when he came out. You can’t rest guys big minutes and then win games with a depleted roster. You are trying to win games; the players are in their 20’s and professional athletes. You can’t pace them only in the losses as you don’t know which ones they’ll be, and there are few easy wins for this Bulls team. Maybe a few guys could use fewer minutes, but they are the most important guys without Rose and you may as well give up the season then. And they don’t want to, either.
Why in the offseason didn't the Bulls go after players like Chris Anderson and Andre Blatche? they are good players the only reason I see the Bulls not picking them is because of character issues.
Sam: Well, that’s a good reason for one, though if LeBron had character issues I’m fairly sure the Bulls would call him an iconoclast. Anderson was under investigation at the time in a child pornography investigation and released by the Nuggets. Blatche hasn’t exactly been a major asset with a very average Nets team and still a very undisciplined and selfish player. Maybe you take a shot at backup center, I guess, though Washington’s experience was with limited minutes he could destroy chemistry and a locker room. Do you risk that for that little reward? For Carmelo you take a shot. Not for Blatche.
After the Noah 20-20-10 game, I have a friend whose comment was 'Yeah, it was the Sixers. Congrats to Noah on being the biggest guy in dwarf school'. He downplayed the accomplishment due to the competition. Can you help me put this performance into historic perspective?
Sam: Then he really should have gotten it against Charlotte. No, Miami as they have no center. Maybe Boston which plays perimeter oriented Kevin Garnett at center. There aren’t many traditional centers anymore in the NBA and yet no one in decades has put up the numbers Noah did in that game. So how could that be?
What is the chance of Marco Belinelli resigning with the Bulls and how much will Marco be able to command in the free agency market?
Sam: Marco is an unrestricted free agent this summer, which means he could sign with anyone. He was playing for the small exception of about $1.8 million. I assume the Bulls would like to bring him back and will try, and he likes the team and the opportunity to become a starter certainly seems like it will open up after this season. But Omer said he loved Chicago and was thankful to the Bulls for drafting him, and, well that didn’t go so well. It’s usually about the money.
The Lakers are abysmal on defense but have the 3 time defensive player of the year. Do you believe his defense is overrated or is this a product of just a terrible defensive team?
Sam: Where once you couldn’t think of anyone else to challenge Howard for Defensive Player of the Year now you cannot even come up with a reason to have him in your top five. I have to assume for now his back is not yet right, and he certainly looks thinner and less imposing than he did in Orlando. Though that could be the result of the Florida humidity versus the desire to eat a lot of sprouts in Southern California.
I read an ESPN article a while back where Jeff Van Gundy (who I really respect as an announcer and who I think is a brilliant basketball mind) said that T-Mac had the most potential of any player he had seen in the Pro League. Sports scientists made a profile of a prototype of the perfect player and Tracy had all the qualities including wing span, handle, vertical and shot. Jeff said that had his mind been right he could have been one of the greats.
Sam: Jeff certainly agrees with you on his basketball mind. As for McGrady, I think it was more than to simply say his mind as he wasn’t that explosive a player. But, yes, he certainly had myriad skills and tremendous abilities. But almost from the beginning you could tell he’d never achieve his potential. He started with cousin Vince Carter in Toronto and immediately was jealous. He was a great defender when he came right from high school to the NBA, but then stopped defending because Carter got more attention for scoring. He was a head case from the start. He wasn’t much of a team player and was pretty full of himself. That said, he was a perennial All-Star and all-league player on talent. But his teams never went anywhere because he was a lazy player who never worked on his game and relied on raw talent and who always was too lazy to rehab from injuries, which is likely why his NBA career ended prematurely. With him Jeff almost got out of the first round in Houston.
Was any team hurt more by the new collective bargaining agreement than the Bulls? A stipulation was put in and is known as the Derrick Rose rule, which hamstrings the team late in the contract. (Don’t get me wrong, he deserves every penny of that contract). Plus the Bulls had secured their young talent to longer term contracts, those contracts now could have implications if the team goes over the cap for three consecutive years. The back loaded Asik deal became a poison pill they couldn’t swallow, partly because of the before mentioned cap implications. Since the team is over the salary cap it makes trades incredibly difficult. The only other team that is comparable is OKC and they had to trade Harden. But Miami will be allowed to keep their big three. LA somehow will have expiring contracts soon after spending nearly $100 million this year and were able to trade for Dwight. Not that I think there was a conspiracy, but it’s funny how Chicago played by the rules and ended up getting a raw deal.
Sam: What the so called rule did was give Rose the right to earn a higher percentage of the salary cap and this higher salary that the Bulls budgeted and teams were generally told the maximum would be. It was a late league concession to agent Arn Tellem to aid his various clients. But it became the rule. Miami operated under the old rules, and we’ll see in 2014 if they can keep everyone. And the Lakers could be in for some major moves as well. The landscape will be changing and fans are going to be screaming cheap everywhere.
What are your thoughts on the Suns? With the mess associated with the Lindsay Hunter hiring, overpaying for Beasley, money tied to Channing Frye, etc? Should they just trade the whole roster over the summer and start fresh? Besides Kendall Marshall, the Morris brothers, Dudley and Gortat - all for salary reasons with Gortat being a rare good big, I'd assume everyone else is expendable. Who would be the best coach for them that is available in the market today? Sloan? Van Gundy? Skiles?
Sam: Eventually you pay for being shortsighted. It didn’t look bad when D’Antoni had that group going strong, but losing Stoudemire and Joe Johnson for basically nothing and then selling off picks teams used for Luol Deng and Rajon Rondo eventually catches up to you. The Suns now probably are the worst off franchise in the league as far as future development and will need to get lucky in several more lotteries to come in the rest of the decade.
From time to time you offer a bit of commentary on basketball statistics (or "saber metrics" as they're sometimes referred to by people who grew up watching Star Wars and want to use sci-fi sounding terminology in their everyday lives). Are the Bulls on the bandwagon with this trend? Are Forman and Paxson looking at the new stats like "PER?" Do they have stat-heads working for them, similar to John Hollinger who recently was hired by the Memphis front office? To what extent will the stats-heavy "Moneyball" model of team building be useful in the NBA, in your opinion?
Sam: I’m not much of a fan, though this has taken over basketball as well. But given it’s helped national employment by giving jobs to people to do things no one was doing before I won’t complain too much. It’s not like there was no analysis before. It just was in our heads. You watched your opponent and knew where he wanted to shoot from, which hand he preferred to go to. You knew where you shot best from. So you need computers for this? And if it’s so great how come nobody still plays Ginobili to his left hand. The part that bothers me is the arrogance associated with it, though I do recall Hollinger’s famous rookie ratings in Rose’s first year having him seventh and Ben Gordon rated as the Bulls best defender. Though he is a well meaning guy and an interesting writer and good for him landing that great job. It’s good to see a journalist get a chance like that. I know it can be useful, and it is fun as sports is about numbers and we all love to examine them and compare. I’m fine with that as a tool to help in analysis. I like the guys like Popovich who say it’s good because it generally confirms what you know. But the way some of those guys act is you cannot know the game if you do not analyze these numbers. I heard from some GMs who attended that recent MIT conference where everyone made fun of the Lakers for not going that it was a lot about guys telling eachother how smart they were, but they feared if they didn’t go it would look bad to their owners. Anyway, give me Jordan and Kobe and Shaq or LeBron and no analytics and I’d take my chances.
After Serge Ibaka hit Blake Griffin in the ding ding I was impressed with how quickly the head referee Danny Crawford brought the game back to order. With this recent event compared to other heated moments between players, I wondered, who do you feel are the best referees in the NBA? It seems like there are a lot of young referees. How much of an impact do you feel they play in the final outcome?
Sam: Glad you mentioned Danny, who is one of the best and a friend I respect. Joey Crawford, too, of course, and less because they have the same name (unrelated) than their shared passion for their work. The NBA is undergoing a tough period breaking in a lot of new referees as so many have gotten old or injured or retired at the same time and the league was a little behind in working on replacements. Despite the missed calls everyone complains about, the league has the best officials. But they made a bad mistake hiring a military man who knew nothing about basketball to govern the officials. He ran out some of the best ones and the league quietly booted him last year. I also like James Capers, Ken Mauer, Dick Bavetta, Derrick Stafford and Tony Brothers. There are plenty of good ones, but the league is missing guys like Steve Javis, Bob Delaney, Bennett Salvatore, Greg Willard and Ron Olesiak.
Would you say Artis Gilmore > Patrick Ewing > Nate Thurmond?
Sam: An interesting one as most people would have them toward the bottom of their top 10 alltime. You probably go with Ewing among the three given his more all around game as Thurmond and Gilmore were more defensive oriented player. The irony was in college Ewing was expected to be as a pro but turned into a jump shooter moreso than the Russell type he was projected. I’d probably have Thurmond before Gilmore as Gilmore’s greatest play was in the ABA when they had few big men other than him.
I understand that you're a sports journalist and not a political journalist (anymore) but I'd like to think that this Dennis Rodman in North Korea thing is a bigger story than what I've seen on social media, and it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I watched Wolf Blitzer delve into in on CNN that I felt it was given any real justice. I see things like the World Cup of soccer or this "basketball diplomacy" as some of the most powerful methods of finding common ground between hostile political adversaries and it truly warmed my heart to see a guy like Dennis, whom is often seen in an irreverent eye but that I have a true soft spot for, open up the dialogue with something as simple as basketball. I'll go as far as saying that athletics can be the answer for giving us World Peace, (insert Metta joke here). I would be very interested to hear your take on it in the Monday column.
Sam: Dennis is very likeable, naïve and innocent in many ways who also is not well educated. He got himself involved in something well above his pay grade and I wish the TV networks had chosen to ignore it as well. Of course, if anyone happens to think Dennis is representative of our country they may feel we have more problems than they imagined and will leave us alone.