Ask Sam Mailbag: 09.28.18

I have a different "What".... What is going to be the
personality of this bunch of guys?  Some groups are tough, some groups
run and gun, some groups have a flair for the dramatic.  Some groups
drive you nuts to watch them.  What personality does this group wind up
with? I get the feeling that either this season and team is going to be Hoiberg's masterpiece or his undoing. Unlike last year, at least some NBA talent at every spot on the floor.  Couldn't say that last year, especially with Markkanen an unknown.
Second unit might have some fun moments and hopefully will develop a personality of their own. If Carter gets defense figured out second unit won't be a total sieve.  Portis and Holiday give them a little attitude, Payne a little flash, Valentine a little dash.

Pete Zievers

It's the Who question from your column... repeated a zillion times in the press conferences. Along with 'What's the pecking order?', which is
essentially the same question.  Pax, Fred and at least one of the players gave you guys the answer – different guys will step up on different nights – that is true of most great teams.  There's usually one guy the fans think of as "the man", but watching the games, greatness always takes "a village".  Like Phil says, the strength of the wolf is the pack. Cannot argue that MJ was "the man" on that team.  But what I noticed in those 6th games of the Finals, is that he was often already exhausted and a little beat up, not always playing at his prime... and double or triple-teamed whenever they could catch up with him. Scottie or Horace or even Rodman sometimes did more, though Jordan always made key plays.  My point is that we want a team where different guys step up each game.  They can double-team "the man", but not the whole team.  It's not so much about "pecking order" as "pick your poison".  Double-team at your own risk. 
Art Alenik

I have been a strong supporter of Portis since his rookie year.  He has grown/evolved much for the better but I find it difficult to believe that he prefers a role as 6th man to being a young starter on another team.  Yes, I have read the reports of his statements but it seems to be an irrational position for an apparently solid rational player.
John Petersen

The Bulls enter training camp with a bunch of names I've never heard of. 
Antonius Cleveland
Derrick Walton
Rawle Alkins
Ryan Arcidiacono has also been brought back. Although he may be in the G-League to start the season as could Alkins.  What will the Bulls do with Walton and Cleveland? 
Tom Plonowski

Zach Lavine reminded me of Ron Mercer a lot last season.   Do you think this is a decent comparison.  Their numbers at this point in their careers are very similar.
Chris Hart

I don't understand why Deng signed up for Thibs again. I am sure there was interest elsewhere. Deng should have waited for a contender.
Bob Ding

Apparently players were practicing more in Chicago this year.  The four months would seem an ideal opportunity for further recovery for LaVine but also growth and development for players like Carter, Blakeney and Valentine.  Any insight or predictions on who's skills might have benefited from the off season of work or is it wait and see in the games? what's the Bulls best defensive team on the floor?
William Moore

Isn't it time the Bulls retire Paxson's number? Strangely, I've never heard anyone talk about it. 9 years as player, championship shot, asst coach, announcer, 15 years as GM. My guess is a strong rebuild will create some noise on this matter but I think it's already deserved. 
Jeff Lichtenstein

Really interesting to hear Jimmy has requested a trade from the TimberBulls; I guess we can finally put the "who won the trade" debate to bed.
Mike Burling

Glen Taylor told inquiring executives Butler "is available" and that owners or general managers "should contact Taylor himself if necessary" to discuss possible deals.  This is crazy, especially with what Thibs has been saying.  I read somewhere that owners are going to stop giving roles to a single coach/manager
Gorav Raheja

Does the Butler mess in Minneapolis help the reputation of the Bulls' management team around the league?  It sure seems to be helping among the national fanbase from looking at the comments on articles.
Joe Schwarz

I'm sure you haven't gotten any of these yet:  Lavine, Dunn and next years top 3 protected #1 for Jimmy.  Seriously what do you think happens with butler?
Guy Danilowitz

How about Jabari Parker for Jimmy Butler?  Isn't Chicago a "major market?"
David Thompson

The national NBA writers who ridiculed the Bulls for the Jimmy Butler trade are strangely non-judgemental about the blow-up in the Twin Cities. I feel bad for all involved. I fear that the young twosome the T-wolves are depending on simply lack the drive and professionalism to compete at a high level. If that's true, the franchise is going to be saddled with $70 or $80 million a year tied up in two guys who will always be good enough to get paid, but never good enough to win anything. Ouch. Either way, I hope Jimmy ends up in a good situation, and that his body holds up to the wear and tear. I also hope the Bulls' youth corps develops fast, especially on defense. Wendell Carter looks like a great addition in that regard, and he seems to have the tools to perform at a high level on the offensive end, too. Most of all, we need you to start doing basketball columns again. If I watch another inning of baseball my eyes will shatter, and I recently learned that the golf season is over. Who knew there was a season for golf
Kirk Landers