Ask Sam Mailbag: 03.22.2019

I had my concerns about Ja Morant coming from a Mid-Major school and all. That was put to rest once I seen him play against Marquette. Explosive speed like a Derrick Rose with the court vision of Magic Johnson. He's the type of PG who could make his team mates around him. He obviously needs to put on a few pounds along with some work on his 3-point shooting. He should clearly go top 3. Bulls need to sit LaVine & Porter Jr for the rest of the season to recover. ( the word Tank was not mentioned).

Randall Sanders

Ja Morant or Zion? I'm taking Ja because a pass first PG who is also an incredible athlete is much rarer and priceless to have on the roster than an undersized wing who doesn't shoot well.

Harry Gralex

A couple losses later, I guess you get less complains about the Otto trade and what it did to our draft position. Im your latest edition of asksam you wrote about the Hawks. So here is a hypothetical question for you. What if the Bulls get number 1, the Hawks stay at five and they call you as the Bulls GM on draft night to offer Trae Young and their pick for the rights to draft Zion. What would you do?

Sven Ruppert

Kris Dunn #32 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Thomas Bryant #13 of the Washington Wizards at the United Center on March 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Kris Dunn shooting the ball

So the Bulls have about $20M in cap space to spend on free agents, of which Robin is one. Leaving aside Kris's recent resurgence, surely the Bulls top need right now is a point guard. 2 questions: 1) Who do the Bulls take at 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 (we assume Zion is 1 and Morant is 2 for now)? and 2) Is $20M enough to bring Robin back?

Chris Granner

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball against the Phoenix Suns on March 18, 2019 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona

Zach LaVine dunks the ball

I read your piece on LaVine which reminded me. When's the last time somebody wrote you complaining about how stupid the Bulls are for matching his contract offer and overpaying him? I bet those complaints have mostly gone away. Even at the time I they signed him I thought it was a silly argument, not so much because I was sure LaVine would turn into an all-star, but because he's simply not making that much money in today's NBA. The one downside of matching vs. extending is he's only on a four-year deal now. If he continues to play well, that's going to be regrettable.

Cameron Watkins

Julius Randle #30 of the New Orleans Pelicans dunks against the Dallas Mavericks on March 18, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Julius Randle dunks

Is Larry Johnson a good comp for Zion?

Gorav Raheja

Shaquille Harrison #3 of the Chicago Bulls goes to the basket against the Washington Wizards on March 20, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois

Shaquille Harrison goes up.

Shaq Harrison may be creating a spot for himself on the roster; maybe at the end of the bench, but I love his energy too much to let him go. T L-C had a very nice game too. But let's see who we come up with this summer before making roster decisions prematurely. Who – if anyone – of the G-leaguers we should keep around. I guess it depends on who we can find to upgrade the bench. But Shaq may be a keeper, just for that energy.

Art Alenik

I understand big men take longer to develop their game than do we (by NBA standards) folk. And didn't he hail from some off-the-grid location in which he didn't enjoy the years of participation and level of training of most who reach the NBA?

Peter Laundy

19 Dec 1995: Dallas Mavericks head coach Dick Motta yells during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won the game, 114-101.

Coach Dick Motta

From my young adult life as a Bulls fan (devout and crazy), do you think we could have won had we not had Motta? He was such an obnoxious person, he easily could have sucked the best out of that team and era. He called out guys that just didn't deserve it. Ps I'll make you a bet Antonio plays in the NBA next year

Thomas Golden

(L-R) Ben Eager (Chicago Blackhawks), Desmond Clark (Chicago Bears), Ron Kittle (Chicago Whitesox), Mickey Johnson and Bob Love of the (Chicago Bulls) posed for a photo center court during the game between the Windy City Bulls and the Texas Legends on November 19, 2016 at The Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

From left: Ben Eager (Blackhawks), Desmond Clark (Bears), Ron Kittle (Whitesox), Mickey Johnson and Bob Love of the (Bulls)

Mickey Johnson. I am ashamed to admit that I don't remember Mickey even though I consider myself a die-hard Bulls fan. I was probably 10-14 years old at that time and fortunately gave more time to school work than following sports at that time. Maybe my interest tailed off when Chet Walker retired and the team went into a lull. I think those were the halcyon days of David Greenwood and other assorted fodder. Bringing in former players like Mickey Johnson through the ambassador program is a great way to keep current players grounded and realize how fortunate they are for their positions. The story also highlights the value of a college degree if you are not one of the 1% of college athletes that make it to the NBA. Mickey got his degree because he wanted it and worked for it, not because he felt entitled simply due to his contributions on the court.

Robert Curtis

Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls is congratulated by Kris Dunn #32 after hitting a three point shot against the Washington Wizards at the United Center on March 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Markkanen and Dunn

Its fun to watch Bulls again. At least this Washington game.
Yes, lets give Dunn a second look. But I started to make my own statiscs in the second half when Dunn and Lauri were on the floor:

Lauri passed the ball to Dunn 3 times for a scoring opportunity (Dunn scored once 2p). Dunn passed the ball to Lauri for a scoring opportunity 3 times ( Lauri scored one 3p). Blakeney with one assist to Lauri for 3p. So Lauri had 4 attempts.
Without Dunn on the floor Lauri had 3 attempts ( one 2p score)

4th ( not many minutes played together)
Lauri to Dunn once for 2points. Dunn to Lauri 4 times with 3 of them scores. Lauri one pass to Lopez no score.

2 great 3s from Dunn. 1:30 left Lauri has not had the ball for a scoring opportunity.
Lauri with 2 passes to Dunn resulting to 2 free throws ( 0+2p). Dunn with one pass to Lauri for 3p.

Dunn passed the ball ( assists or a scoring opportunity )to Lauri 8 times resulting for 12p. Lauri to Dunn 6 times for 6 points.
Is Lauri giving up the ball too much when these two play together? Or let them just play? My point is ...is Lauri getting enough scoring opportunities from Dunn (especially when Zach is back) compared how much he gives to Dunn?

Or am I just looking games with blue and white glasses on?

Harri Ahola

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Indiana Pacers on March 21, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California.

Steph Curry ball handling

How good would Steph Curry be with 80s hand check rules? Would he be Del?

John Leichenko

Michael Beasley laughs behind Derrick Rose prior to the 2008 NBA Draft at the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 26, 2008 in New York City.

Prior to the 2008 Draft: Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose

Just thought you might find these interesting. They were user comments on Yahoo from back in 2008 when the Bulls were getting ready to use the #1 pick. Some of the insight from back then was pretty amazing in hindsight, especially the guy who claimed Rose wouldn't be much better than Hinrich and the person who felt the Bulls needed to trade for Marcus Camby because they needed a defensive stopper--apparently Noah hadn't yet come into his own. Just a lesson in hindsight:

PERSON A: Who should the Bulls take? I say Beasley. Listening to Chicago radio, the Bulls have needed a great power forward for years and years now and could finally make it the centerpiece of their team. I say draft Beasley, sign and trade Gordon for Arenas

PERSON B: Personally, I think that Beasley is a no-brainer as he fills the void of a post-scorer and probably a star that the Bulls so sorely need. After that, they have two voids to fill. They lack both a true center and a true point guard. Yes, Hinrich and Noah fill those positions, but Noah should be a forward/center off the bench and Hinrich should be a starting 2 guard who can move to the point when another 2 guard comes in. They are also too deep in the 2 and 4 spots and will have to lose at least a couple of players at these positions. I think they should try to go for Mike Conley to fill the pg spot, he is young with a knack for his position, and Memphis is overloaded at pg with 3 potential starters. The Grizzlies would likely want someone low on pay to replace him at either the 2 or 3 spot... Perhaps Tyrus Thomas and/or Thabo Sefalosha.

PERSON C: The Bulls should take Derrick Rose, and then try to package Hughes and Heinrich to the Nuggets for Marcus Camby.

PERSON D: yeah my team finally got a break, they better not mess it up,
but anyways yeah they should get Beasley because we are lacking at the PF position, and the should trade a few guys that are C level players and get either an experienced center or draft one, or to get a true point guard.

PERSON E: I completely agree with you. Beasley is a potentially great player and fits in well with their currrent players. I don't see Rose being much better than Heinrich.

Just a little fun reading from the past.

Chris Feldman