Ask Sam Mailbag: 04.06.18

Should we now call him Sean Kill-draft pick?

Mike Sutera

Omer Asik #3 of the Chicago Bulls and Ryan Anderson #33 of the Houston Rockets are seen before the game on March 27, 2018

Whatever happened to Omer Asik?Didn't we trade for him?Haven't seen him anywhere

Dan Schiller

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz shoots the ball during the game against the LA Clippers on April 5, 2018ll

We'd probably be best team in East right now if we kept butler and drafted Mitchell.

Ryan Carpel

The lottery drawing begins inside the lottery room during the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery at the New York Hilton in New York, New York.

So it's come to this: the Bulls have what should be a pleasant late-season rally and win three straight, but we're all disappointed because it undermines the tank. The lottery system is broken as you say, but, before we open it up to all 30 teams, I wonder how you'd feel about one or both of these possibilities. 1) Keep a weighted lottery, but give each team additional "ping pong balls" for each win after it's mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. That way every team would have something to play for every game; they'd either be competing for the playoffs or trying to win for better lottery odds. The worst teams, being eliminated earliest, would have the most opportunities for those 'bonus' wins. 2) Create a "draft cap" that limits the frequency for any team to be drafting at the top. That is, make it impossible to plan for these 3-5 year Sam Hinkie processes by preventing the same teams from drafting in the same place every year. To pick the arbitrary number of 7, a team that drafted number two in one year couldn't draft any better than number five in the next. Or, to spread it out over three years, a "draft cap" of 10 might mean anyone drafting number one overall one year would not be able to draft better than four and five in the next two. That would limit the number of teams in full tank mode and compel more of them actually to be competing.

Joe Kraus

Head coach Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls calls a play against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the United Center on February 9, 2018

I like that Bulls are closing with wins I'm glad for Hoiberg. He deserves a break.

Pete Zievers

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018

Hello from Cyprus. An interesting season comes to an end. The big question though is "what's next"? Do you have an indication on the management's plans and direction? Will they try to improve that team faster during free agency or they will continue this root? Is there any chance that will be interested on Kawhi Leonard? As I understand he wants to move to a big market.

Stefanos Panayiotides

As one of the biggest whiners about the Bulls' play at the end of March, I'd like to clarify a couple of things. First, I don't mind if they tank. Second, I don't mind if they play guys trying to find a place in the league. What I was objecting to was how horribly the guys on the floor were playing.

That seems to have changed in the past week. Granted, it's not like watching the Warriors or Rockets at their peak, but even when the #6-#10 guys are on the floor, closing the game, the ball moves on offense and the feet move on defense and the team plays hard. That's great entertainment, win, lose or overtime.

And while it would have been nice if they could play hard and lose their way to a #6 or #7 draft choice, it doesn't look like there's a lot to separate the players projected to go between #6 and #12. They're all teenagers and athletic and don't know who they are as men yet.

Kirk Landers

The "Michael Jordan was forced out of the NBA for gambling" issue has arisen once again. This time it's your former colleague, Skip Bayless, claiming as much without any proof whatsoever. If he was suspended, why would the league pick an arbitrary number like 82 games for one year, and 65 the next? Why not a two-year ban? Billy Hunter was terrible at his job, but I'd have to think even he, as head of the players' union, would've taken issue with his marquee member being suspended for an arbitrary number of games without consultation with he and the executive membership Not to mention, reports about Jordan's gambling continued well after the so-called suspension -- just no more late nights in Atlantic City or tee times with nefarious characters being reported. Would Bayless and other proponents of the conspiracy theory contend that his second retirement was a second suspension? Ridiculous.

Terrell Bryant

Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 (R) and Marvin Williams #2 of the Charlotte Hornets at the United Center on April 3, 2018

Well this has turned out to be a disappointing season with the last 6 weeks being outright painful. Fun for a while but what have we learned? Markkanen (7 pick) is better than advertised, LaVine is a starter but style is unknown, Dunn might be a starter, certainly a high rotation guy, Lopez is Lopez and then what? Portis and Valentine rotation guys, Nwaba probably, Payne and Grant back end if anything same for Vonleh. So really other than Markkanen upside and LaVine seems healthy, we learned not much. I have enjoyed the odd, humorous victory as it shows guys still want to play. The difference between 5-8 pick seems immaterial.

So in the end, I don't think we learned much, don't know how the "big 3" will or will not play together and I fear next year will be the learning year where 2 new draft picks won't make much difference. Is this reasonable or can you talk me off the ledge?

Greg Young

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 15, 2018

I'm asking your honest opinion here. I hear Zach Lavine say the right things a lot. He talks about putting in the work and all that and it's great. But I remember Wade talking about defense all the time and not doing it. When I watch Lavine plays, he seems remarkably noncompetitive on the defensive end. I feel more confidence in Dunn improving because he does "have more dog in him," as kids say. Do you really project this as a guy who will improve into an impact player?

Alejandro Yegros

Nikola Mirotic #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans reaches for the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 4, 2018

There were comments that Niko hurt the Bulls draft status with the winning streak at his return to his efforts in NO. Looking again in his last ten games he is averaging 24 minutes and shooting 32% with 6.4 rebounds and 9.2 points. NO has now lost four in a row and only one game up for the playoffs. It's doubtful many Bulls fans regret his departure now. He always has been streaky.

John Petersen

Jahlil Okafor #4 of the Brooklyn Nets puts up the shot against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on April 3, 2018 in Philadelphia

The New York papers say Jahlil Okafor's rotation exile could spell his end with Nets.

Bob Ding

Kris Dunn #32 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 15, 2018

I know it's early but, why do some of these mock drafts now having the Bulls going after Point Guards ? What's the feel with the team about Dunn? I thought before the Injuries & the " Youth-Movement" started, he proved to be the Bulls future fixture. So far, this draft seems to be filled with guards & power forwards (Which I don't see as a major need on the team.) We need a small Forward. Your thoughts on either of the "Bridges" From (Villanova or Michigan State) ?

Randall Sanders

Shaquille O'Neal, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, and Magic Johnson are honored during the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

I recently came across the Old-Timers Game (perhaps more respectfully known as The Legends Classic) from the 1988 All Star Game. Holy cow is this a fun idea. How is this not part of NBA All Star Weekend anymore?

The dunk contest goes through its ups and downs (every 5 years we have a good one, and the announcers declare that the "dunk contest is back").

The actual All Star Game hasn't been truly competitive in several years.

Is there any doubt that if we booked MJ, Barkley, Zeke, Magic, Dream, Shaq, Bird (if his back allows) and others to play that this wouldn't be the event to watch for the weekend? In this age of nostalgia - it would be a huge hit. Can Kareem still play? Let's find out!

Yoni Solomon

An overhead view of Kris Dunn #32 of the Chicago Bulls standing on the court during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 15, 2018

I just want to ask, Kris Dunn is a 24 year old NBA player now so everyone thinks he does not have much upside because of his age. Do you think age as it is, is a flawed indicator of upside? Kris might be 24 years old but the guy did not play much basketball in his first two years in Providence. So practically, his body is not as spent as the other 24 year old payers out there.

Plus I don't agree with this upside being determined based on age. Guys go through their careers differently. Some peak at an earlier age, some does at later stages.
If Kris becomes a threat from three, I think he can be the engine of our offense in years to come.

Melbert Tizon