Ask Sam Mailbag: 03.29.2019

As it stands now, it appears that the Bulls will finish with the fourth worst record in the league. And although Cleveland and Phoenix have won a few games to close the gap on the Bulls, I'm sure Chicago will stumble across another win or two before the season is over.

Looking ahead to the future, Chicago seems set with their young core 2-5. The one void that remains a question mark would be the point guard position. Might GarPax consider shopping the pick (maybe even before draft order has been determined) to land a promising young point guard? Sure, you'd love to draft Zion or even Morant, but after that, I don't know how Barrett would fit, or anyone else when looking at the best 5 players in college basketball. Would the potential of landing Zion be enough for the Cavs, who would then have two of the top four picks, to send Sexton to Chicago? Although it seems less feasible, what about Fox out in Sacramento?

Best case scenario would be for the Bulls to reap the benefits of the new draft probability equation and end up with the first or second pick. However, if that doesn't happen, I don't know what you do, especially if you end up out of the top three.

Riley Heeren

How did a guy like Ja not get a scholarship to a team in one of the major conferences? Is it similar to where high school scouts are not able to identify who the best players will be? Or are there too many high schools to scout and some players fall through the cracks? You would think even a mediocre big ten acc or big east team would have taken a shot at him.

Gorav Raheja

Last year at draft time I felt the bulls made a mistake in not trying to trade up to land Luka. I don't know how serious the bulls had considered looking at Luka but do you think they have regrets in hindsight? Having seen him in Europe I felt he was the real deal with skill and experience to be a top player for years to come. Even then I wouldn't have believed how good he would actually be.

So fast forward one year and a bulls with hopefully a top 4 pick, I think if Zion is off the board the bulls need to do what they can to get ja Morant. He seems to have the game to facilitate and to create his own game. No offence to carter (who I think will be a starting centre) surely the bulls won't make the same mistake in missing the top rated guard in two consecutive drafts.

Graham Robertson

Yes, it'll be a big summer for a lot of Bulls who need to be a little better/stronger/faster, or add a skill, in order to contribute. I doubt that all of our wishes for them will come true. Carter's development is key, and I have high hopes for him. But, ultimately, I think you and some others will be disappointed when he is still not a starting NBA Center, even if he adds 20 lbs. of muscle. (Yes, I remember Wes Unseld, but that was then...) That's why I say you lose Lopez w/out replacing him at your own risk. If we commit to Wendell starting at Center, with only Felicio to back him up, it could become another long, ugly, season. I'd be very happy to be wrong about this!

Art Alenik

Hope you're well. I saw the Heat retired Chris Bosh's jersey this week. It is well deserved because he was a great talent who had his career cut short due to medical reasons. On this note, I am curious, do you know why the Bulls haven't retired Horace's jersey? He was a big part of the first three-peat. I know Chris Bosh was huge for the Heat, but he played less years there than Horace did in Chicago. Bosh helped them get 2 rings while Horace was part of 3. Their career stats are not equivalent, but not worlds apart either:

Grant - 11.2 pts, 8.1 reb, 2.2 ast
Bosh - 19.2 pts, 8.5 reb, 2.0 ast

Both played with two superstars. Both may have had higher stats in different situations. Now that Horace is back with the team in different roles, maybe we'll see # 54 in the rafters.

Ateeq Ahmed

Obviously, that's past. And similarly, it's time to forgive Horace. The Bulls obviously did in large part by hiring him as a team ambassador. And from everything I hear he's by far the most valuable and reliable among those former Bulls in the role. Sort of like the role he played for the champions. Horace had somewhat of a bitter parting as a free agent in 1994, and then it became compounded when he celebrated so vehemently with his Orlando teammates when they knocked out the Bulls in the playoffs in Michael Jordan's 1995 return. Then Horace added a title with Phil Jackson in Los Angeles, and it seemed his connection with the Bulls was severed. Though it should never be forgotten it was when he and Scottie Pippen were drafted, the Bulls title began to form, and that he was so valuable that when he left all Phil Jackson could ask management for was someone like Horace. It would be a fitting tribute for a good man and vital player in team history, truly the only irreplaceable figure from the championship years who has not been so recognized. And before anyone goes there, no, not Rodman.

I was watching a 1981 NBA playoff game. The refs awarded 3 free throws on a missed layup. The announcers called it "3 to make 2". What was the concept behind awarding three chances to make 2? When did that rule end?

LongGiang Li

I saw you wrote in your mailbag that you don't think Rolo will return. What if the Bulls brought back Noah on a cheap 1-2 yr stint? He has played great for the Grizzlies and still offers rebounding, defense, effort, passing and could be a great mentor to back up Carter.

Andrew Brown

I've read that Laurie Markkanen's slump in shooting and rebounds is the product of lingering injuries, which got me to thinking how lucky Bulls fans were in the 90s to have such durable players as the team core. As we watch how banged up our 20-24-year-olds have gotten over the past two years, it's good to remember how durable Jordan, Pippen, Grant, Rodman, Pax, and the rest were. It also makes me wonder if part of the maturation process in the NBA is finding a second element to one's game so you can still be effective when you're not at your peak, physically.

Kirk Landers

I've never been a rah rah guy for Lebron. I respect his talent, but it bothers me that he is one of the faces in the League, and it appears that he's okay with sitting out games even when healthy. Not to start the debate again, but I seem to recall a quote by MJ where he said he felt obliged to play in as many games as possible - especially on the road - because fans pay their hard-earned coin to see him play - in some cities only once a year. Lebron has all summer to rest - especially this year since he's not in the playoffs. What's your take on players "resting"?
Also, any chance of "the fix" being in for the Lakers to get lucky, win the draft lottery, and trade it to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis?

Tony Reed

Is there any chance Arcidiacono continues his surprising improvement over the summer enough to challenge for the starting job? No need to list all he brings in leadership already, giving up his body for the team every night. He reminds me of Captain Kirk but more protective of the ball. Damn, I wish he could get the job, it would be a great Bulls story! I like Kris too, and he's likely to keep improving too, I think he'd make a great Sixth Man candidate! And this option would broaden our ability to sign and draft to our other needs, especially a high-quality back-up Big.

Peter Toluzzi

How about Adrian Dantley for most underrated? Probably the greatest post player ever in the NBA!

Daniel Fitzpatrick

Nate Archibald most underrated.

Abe Rotbart

No one that's on the 50 at 50 team is underappreciated. That's almost definitional. Lots of players not on that list were really fun to watch, though.

  • Larry Smith was a rebounding machine
  • Bernard King was the most efficient scorer I can think of; maybe Alex English
  • Mark Price
  • Andrew Bynum
  • Bill Walton before the foot injuries was off the charts. I know. Top 50. He was so much better than he showed through his NBA career.
  • Jack Sikma
  • Mo Cheeks
  • Dan Roundfield was everything Josh Smith wasn't
  • Don Buse
  • David Thompson was an amazing player.
  • Alvan Adams
  • Aguirre for sure.
  • Roy Tarpley
  • Rickey Green
  • Sam Perkins
  • Slick Watts
  • Clint Richardson
  • Bobby Jones
  • Derek Harper
  • Phil Smith
  • Bobby Dandridge. Yep. Fer sure.
  • Brad Miller
  • Randy Smith
  • Billy Paultz
  • James Silas
  • Glen Rice
  • Larry Johnson
  • Phil Ford before the eye injury
  • Brian Winters
  • Marques Johnson
  • Calvin Natt with good knees
  • Rudy T.
  • Jason Kidd, though it pains me a bit to say it
  • Sam Cassell
  • Richard Jefferson
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Taj
  • Arvydas Sabonis, though he came to the NBA in decline
  • Buck Williams
  • The entire '75 GSW bench. They played super great as a unit.

Pete Zievers

I have never paid to see an NBA game since O retired and I am enjoying Hard Labor more than I ever thought I would enjoy hard labor. I tell these youngsters around me that O's team won 11 of 12 All-Star games, John Wooden went to his grave with O, not Magic, as the point guard on his all-time team and not to hold their breaths until another player averages a triple-double in his first five years in the NBA.

Joe Colville