Ask Sam Mailbag: 01.11.19

Given the Bulls are more or less healthy now, didn't most of us expect and hope they'd be doing a little bit more winning? I know that at this point there's no shot of making the playoffs, so they'd prefer to end up with a bottom five record in terms of the draft, but I'm sure the players on the team still want to win. There are of course mitigating factors like the change in coaches, trading Holiday, etc. But what do you think all this losing means about the status of the rebuild? Is it going to take longer to get back to the playoffs than many hoped? Or do you think maybe this group just needs more time to improve via maturing as players and playing together? Is here a viable core here for a perennial playoff team (I see no sign that there is yet for a championship contender so that's not what I'm asking about)?

Cameron Watkins

Would or could Jabari Parker go to the windy city Bulls. If for nothing else but for playing time and showcase. If he plays with the WCB and scores at will, It would at least show that, he's not playing, because of health. And therefore would be valuable to some team limping down the stretch, looking for some points. He would easily be the most talented guy out there that a team could bring in with a double/double game, that they wouldn't have to give up anything but future considerations to get. a player that has the potential to catch fire ala JR Smith.

Tom Offa

Got to play Jabari, with trade deadline coming up in a few weeks. If another team is considering adding him, they need to "see" what he can now do, especially in all the aspects of his recovery from injury. With the stated "youth movement", although Jabari is still "young", it just does not appear that he would have a significant role with the Bulls unless there were additional injuries to the new starting five-some "core". Depending how Chandler does over the next few weeks, Jabari could be reinstated as the starter at Small Forward. It also makes sense, with the large $ "investment" that the Bulls made for Jabari, that he gets "one more good chance" before this season ends.

John Ingvoldstad

Maybe it was time to move on from Hoiberg, and maybe Boylen was the right choice. Ok. Two months ago we were complaining about poor defense, now we're doing the same with the offense. I suppose it's the volatile nature of being sport fans, and also kind of normal with a rebuilding team. But, there's one thing I really do not understand: why do you have to guarantee Boylen the job for next year too? Maybe he's good, but let him show he deserves the job. It's about accountability, isn't it? Or am I missing something? Also, I've read multiple reports about the fact that ownership doesn't want to pay for three coaches. Yes, three coaches seems too many, and yes, they do what they want with their money, but an average coach costs what, like your 8th or 9th rotational player? You're paying 20 million to a player sitting at the end of the bench.

Michele Morandi

Fun year keeping you on your toes as it were. Different idea is to Go Big like the Bucks (did I say that?). Start RoLo at Center and move Carter to the 3! Rotate Portis and Parker from the bench. Bulls are playing too many guards.

Lawrence Joy

Why doesn't Jim Boylen ever play Wendell Carter Jr and Robin Lopez together? Isn't Carter Jr talented and mobile enough to play PF even though he's list as a center?

Tom Choi

I thought the NBA determined years ago that one couldn't get a shot off in less than 0.4 second, and the only way one could score with less time than that was via a tip-in. I recall an exercise involving Trent Tucker of the Knicks, who had one of the quickest releases at the time, in which he shot multiple times on an otherwise empty court so the NBA could time his catch and release. Is my memory correct, or is this just another example of my "remembering" things like my being a halfway decent softball player?

Peter Millburg

The optimist in me believes a quick turnaround could be possible.

Everyone is talking about the Lakers and Celtics for AD, but am I crazy to believe we could offer the best package come draft night this year? We will most likely have a top 5 pick, Wendell Carter Junior, Lopez's expiring deals and future draft picks to choose from. Heck, we could even take on some bad salary. To me this is equal or better value than any package the Lakers or Celts could do. Well I guess hope dies last.

Sven Ruppert

Jimmy Butler a max contract player? Plodding on offense, holds the ball. As he gets older and slower, defense will start to lag as well.

John Leichenko

Is Tom Thibodeau still considered an elite coach in the NBA? How hard will it be for him to find another job in the league?

Gorav Raheja

Is it fair to compare Chandler Hutchison to Nikola Mirotic, who was traded for the rights to draft Hutchison?

Cory Kadlec

We lost to Indiana but we got our first glimpse of a team with pieces that could work. Lavine acted like the alpha dog dominating early. Lauri backed him up as our no.2. Dunn played the point with those assists but scored some too (perfect game). Then Wendell with a nice almost double double. That's all we need from him. The low down is the SF position which Parker was meant to fill but hasn't. Hutch I just don't see it with him other than some hussle from the bench. Not a starter. Add a Sf who can stretch the floor, hit 3s from a kick out from Lavine or Lauri and also plays some D then this team could be a top 4 in the east. Of course you'd also need Portis as our 6th man, keep Lopez for leadership, keep Blakeney for bench scoring. Hutch and one other solid player on the bench. Then the last spice to the pot, 2 yrs of time. Now lose every game (this year only) at the buzzer and you'll be right for 2020. Here's hoping.

Andrew Brown

Justin Holiday seemed like a team player and good model of working the hard way into a decent contract, so good luck to him. Getting 2 draft picks, even if they are 2nd rounders, wow, I'll take that even if it may not turn into anything special. But the reason to celebrate is the exit of Cam Payne. I know, not like he was a bad guy so shouldn't be too happy as he is a human being, but wow just not having to watch him play as a Bulls player anymore has me a little excited.

Jon Kueper

I am not sure a small forward are the biggest need for the Bulls the next few years. The reason is that Wendell are struggling mightily against the dominant centers in the league, and despite the 3point era there are a lot of them around. I believe Wendell and Portis would be wreaking havoc coming off the bench as they will rebound very well on the defensive end, and playing indide outside on the offensive end. The Bulls should use their free salary cap to sign Vucevic from Orlando this summer, and use their draft rights for a small forward to compete with Hutchison for a starting place next season.

Stian Nordvik

If given the option, would you eliminate the 3 point line? Shooting 30% from three nets you more points than 40% from two as well as the low percentage long twos that disgust coaches. With the increased percentage from 3's, I see nothing but what Pop sees when he looks at the stats. Do you think eliminating threes would fix the game, or at least make it a fair situation that decreased make probability as you went out instead of some arbitrary line that adds another point?

Clint Youlden

Who are the Chicago Bulls All Stars? Zach LaVine? Lauri Markkanen? Kris Dunn? Other?

Kieron Smith

Zach is shooting .502 on 2-pt. shots and only .353 on 3-pt. shots.

When he goes to the rim, he probably shoots about 55%. OK, so on a given possession, Zach's best chance to score points is to take it to the hole (and he is pretty amazing at that). You can understand the coach wanting him not to 'fall in love' with the 3-pt. line, when he's most successful driving. But you also have to consider that a 3 is worth an extra point, so .353 from the arc gets you as many points as .530 an 2-pt. shots. (Zach's effective FG% is currently .510.) We saw what happens when the Bulls shoot 18 three's and the Nets take 46... even though we shot better from the arc (39% to their 35%). These days, you have to make some 3's to stay in the game. But the bottom line is that Zach needs to be able to score, as they say, "from all three areas" to be his most effective. And he needs to find his shots & make those decisions on the court.

Art Alenik

Can you please explain why Houston traded Michael Carter-Williams to the Bulls, who waived him, instead of waiving him themselves? I know it's probably some rule but it's hard to understand the reasons for that!

Carlos Neves

LaVine is a finisher. Dunn's game is more complex. Watched him closely vs. Indiana. He's so long! he struggles to just pop the ball out from a stand-still or from a standing dribble. I'm starting to think he doesn't see the game that way. There's times when he just can't hit the target off the dead run which for him really limits him. He shone in the Indiana game in half-court when he got past his first step and had momentum towards his spot on the floor. His eyes are up and he's visibly more relaxed after he gets the initial separation. He was then hitting guys all over the place. Last year you could see that he grasped offensive movement and scheme, he just wasn't delivering a catchable ball. Sometimes that's still true. The question is: what's he gotta do to get to where his delivery matches his awareness? He's a pretty reliable mid-range scorer. He's more of a point-forward/Paul Pressey type distributor as opposed to a Mo Cheeks/Rondo/Stockton set up guy or even a Harden/Steve Nash s/r guy. If I'm a defender, I jam the hell out of his dribble. Dunn doesn't play well in real close spaces out on the perimeter. You've noticed that he's a high-usage guy. The hard part for him about Hoiberg getting the can is that Hoiberg's offense had way more opportunities for Dunn to catch the ball on the move with more space before he's into his dribble which lately seems to be showing as his comfort zone.

Pete Zievers