Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 3.20.2015

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By Sam Smith | 3.20.2015 | 7:17 a.m. CT

I was wondering what you thought the future holds for Taj Gibson. With Mirotic playing at such a high level, I can't see him going back to third string and I've never bought into him playing SF. Do you think they will try him as a backup center or do you think they will have to trade him? I'd hate to see him go, but it seems like he could be the odd man out.
Steven Schnakenberg

Great win against a hot team in Indiana, Niko was amazing as you pointed out in your game recap. I know it's almost impossible to say, but what is his ceiling? Can he be a Toni Kukoc, or even get to Nowitski status? He can do so much and he's only a rookie! He's so much better than what I was expecting when we signed him, once again GarPax did it again!
Adam Garcia

Almost two years ago I asked you if Mirotic would become a new Novitzki or a new Darko, and you answered "maybe a new Schrempf". I think he falls between the 3 and 4 position, a little too weak for 4 and not that explosive for the 3. He runs the floor fast with great ball-handling (ignore the carrying), good passing and a understanding of the game. When given a chance he averages 20ppg 8reb and clearly has a winning instinct in the 4th quarter. Do you see a path for him? Can he turn into an unorthodox 3? Or should he just bulk up?
Also, Is there any unwritten rules regarding tanking? The 76ers does not surprise me anymore of the stupidity, but last week the Nuggets decided to "rest" Chandler, Lawson, Gallo and Faried. 4 of the starters resting, for what? If 2-3 teams are fighting for a playoff spot, and suddenly in the end, one of those teams are lucky and are playing against a tanking team and get an easy win and push them into a playoff spot.. Do management of tanking teams take this into consideration? Such a cynical concept and dull topic, but it really annoys me.
Kim Halvorsen

I find it interesting that there is a controversy in baseball as it applies to Kris Bryant and service time. This is over Bryant sitting out the first nine games of the season. Commenting on the subject has been the MLBPA director and Bryant's agent. Both contending that the Cubs are displaying poor judgment in not putting the best team on the field. Does this logic carry over to the NBA where players' sitting out games us becoming commonplace. I think the NBA players association and the players agent are doing themselves harm by being complicit in the sitting out of games. Or does it matter if the best team is put out on the field?
Mark Schweihs

This isn't a knock on Noah but with Mirotic playing so well, would it be possible to have him start at 4 and have Gasol at 5? I imagine a defensive bench of Noah and Gibson would lock down bench scoring for the opposing team. Also I would hope it helps manage their injuries.
Jason Kuang

Reggie Miller called you his good friend on twitter today. I hated Reggie as a player but like him a lot as a commentator and media personality. Trying to think of examples like that. On the other side of things, Shaq was very entertaining as a player on the court and with his pre-written post game comments/one-liners but he's terrible to watch in his current role on TNT. Can you think of any other examples of guys whose on-court personalities have either been or appeared to be the opposite of their off-court personalities?
Cameron Watkins

Your Tweet of Harden w/50. I've got an MVP tiebreaker: Curry takes off to rest; LeBron takes off to rest; Harden has missed 1 game suspension. He plays. I like this. Don't count out Westbrook either. Playing so soon after the dented face was the epitome of toughness and playing for the love of the game.
Jake Henry

I was listening to an old Elgin Baylor interview. He said that they didn't cross over back then because palming was called. True?
Adnaan Hamid

I think Russ may have read “There Is No Next” and gotten offended at all the Jordan-esque stat lines you listed off. Credit to him, he plays like a man possessed and is putting up (dare I say it) numbers that would make Oscar proud. Though Oscar did it for a season. Without a 40 inch vertical.
Yoni Solomon

So while this 'dark' injury cloud hangs over the team, I see layers of silver lining:
1) Re-assume underdog status. Let's face it, no one likes the pressure of lofty expectations. Back to being the Bulls the media writes off, but the opponents dread playing.
2) Realize depth. Finally we've seen some minutes for Niko and Tony, and in return we now have two guys that have found their feet and will be equipped with far more confidence when they're called upon in a deep playoffs run. If Thibs could only find some more for Dougy and ET we would be sporting some Spurs-esque depth when the big boys return. And how hungry are Derrick, Jimmy and Taj going to be when they come back... with fresh legs!
Blake Gillespie