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Ask Sam Mailbag: 10.26.18

My excitement for this season was as high as it had been for years, thinking about a competitive non-tanking Bulls team with young and hungry players.  The injuries have caused me to feel a little down from that, but hopefully BP is something minor and everybody is back by December to see how this team can really be utilized.  There are times I want to criticize Hoiberg but he just can't catch a break with a full healthy team to really see how everything is progressing.  

I forgot that Lavine is only 23 years old! I know it's just 3 games, but wow who can question Gar/Pax about that trade and signing him to that contract? The one thing that worries me about these guys is the tendency to play one on one too much. Do you think some of them are just more worried about their own situation and trying to impress and this will become a problem throughout stretches of the games from here on out?

Jon Kueper  

OK Ok... Payne had a good game. I am gonna give him a shot. Looks like we need to add someone off the G - league to cover for Portis. 

Ryan Carpel

I liked what Fred did running Payne at 2 with LaVine handling. I'm sure he reads and hears what people say, so well done Cam Payne, way to bounce back.

Mike Burling

After the fight and suspensions of Chris Paul and Rondo, I saw a bunch of tweets, statements, etc from the parties involved.  There was even a tweet from the Rockets GM that basically expressed his belief that Rondo was a kettle, calling the pot black.   While I think all of this is just fun entertainment, I can't help but think this could open the door to players and GM's exchanging jabs directly.  I know people are entitled to their opinions, but is it really necessary for a GM of a professional sports team to weigh in as much as he does?  Does the NBA have a social media policy for individuals with such high level positions? Critics can say what they want about Bulls management, but they would never put themselves in a bad light like this.  Lastly, I'm sure you have a ton of questions about Zach, but I'll just say this - I think the way he is handling being the team's "go to guy" these first few games is refreshing.  Seems like a smart guy with a good attitude.  

Ateeq Ahmed

By the way, that little kerfuffle this past week in Dallas about him supposedly questioning the coach was so innocent and overblown, a situation where the media actually was responsible and toned down what really wasn't anything, though several overreacted. And not just media. I was there. It was more a stream of consciousness from Zach after another disappointing loss. I took it more as saying, "Someone do something, including me!" It didn't to me seem aimed at the coach or anyone in particular even with him saying something about play calls. Sometimes you say stuff when people are pointing recording equipment at you 20 minutes after a game after 10 people watched you dress; you may not always articulate precisely. Zach isn't a blamer and excuse maker. If it were me, what I might have said about play calls that night was, "They included passes, right?"

Actually, I'm mostly still confused about Zach earning, I think, about $20 million a year and wearing jeans with rips and tears. I've been thinking of asking if he needs some shopping help or if they're just getting damaged in delivery. Got to watch those internet purchases. He might try Men's Wearhouse.

Yes Tony and Manu retired but they were hardly major contributors anymore except spottingly and without their best player the Spurs barely, barely missed the playoffs. And you add another 20+ scorer to the mix and you bet against Pop to miss the playoffs? What were you thinking?

George Wilson

How much of RoLo's struggles have to do with the new rules changes, and how much is it just age/diminishment? I've seen that other defense first guys (like MKG in the Charlotte game) are having a hard time as well in getting called for lots of fouls as well. At this point, RoLo looks like he'll be out of the league next year, and he looked far away from that last year.

Alejandro Yegros

An important aspect of being a good General Manager is having the skill of a fortune teller.  How do you predict a player is going to be a star or a bust.  I have wondered what kind of fool John Paxson was believing Cameron Payne could play in the NBA.  After last night that storyline is on hold.  It is not easy predicting the future. Another storyline lives on as a candidate for the worst trade ever.  How could Brian Colangelo take Markelle Fultz over Tatum and, yes give up a possible top five (2019 Sacramento) pick?  It is early but I do not see even glimmers of possible greatness in Fultz.  What does your crystal ball tell you about Markelle Fultz's candidacy for worst NBA trade ever?  

Bruce Roberts

There was a report over the weekend the Cavs told Korver, JR, and Frye the organization was going young. After a bad loss and 0-3 start, Lue was ready to reverse course and Kevin Love says vets who 'know how to win' have to play

Mike Sutera

Kris Dunn out for 4-6 weeks, Bobby Portis...ouch! I really feel for Fred Hoiberg. Is he a good coach...well no one could truly answer that, and that's no fault of his own. It's hard to think of another coach who has had to deal with more injuries to his key players on top of multiple roster overhauls as Hoiberg has done in his first 4 years at the Bulls. And it hurts even more with these 'false starts' out of the gates, which essentially compromises the season from the start. In the end a coach is judged on wins and losses, but in Hoiberg's case, you hope that Bulls management continue with their support of him and show even more patience. Hopefully the fans do also.   Andrew  Robson

With Dunn gone, You have to start Lavine at point guard and until Markannen comes back Jabari should start as the second ball handler: Lavine, Holiday, Hutchinson, Parker, Wcj.

I hope the Bulls give Harrison a chance he's Dunn with less offense and more likely to defer to Lavine, which is the right thing to do. This season should be all about finding a way to make Lavine and Markannen a dynamic duo and finding out who else can fit a role. Parker will become a great 6th man if he accepts it because his defense will simply not allow him to start.

Sundeep Shah

Is it too early to tank? Haha just winding you up.

But in all seriousness it will be interesting to see the direction the Bulls take when they hit January. I've liked our effort so far and loving the growth of Lavine (hope he keeps it up). Plus I'm very interested to see what we are when Markenhan returns, but will we be 3-12 by that time? We always want to push to be competitive but landing in that 9th seed with a 1st round pick of 10-20th doesn't bring you that game changer. Well rarely. Free agency is never a friend of the Bulls so it does come down to the draft. I wonder if it's a PG we'll be after.

Andrew Brown

For the past two years the Bulls have drafted one spot behind the Magic. The Magic selected Jonathan Isaac in 2017 and Mo Bamba in 2018, while the Bulls got Lauri and Wendell. Obviously we have yet to see the Bulls picks play together. So based solely on the limited sample size and the expected upside, which duo would you rather have moving forward? 

Ryan Krouse 

Regards to Jabari Parker. Are his minutes a concern at all to you? I would not have expected him to be playing so few minutes, even if he continues to come off the bench. He has played 24-25 minutes in every game so far. Obviously, he has not looked great despite putting up an efficient 20 points. But, they did give him $20 mil this year with the hope of him breaking out and becoming a potential piece for the future. Playing 24-25 MPG is not enough to get an idea in my opinion. And, these minutes are coming with Lauri out. When he comes back, do you see this number dropping? I would have expected him to play around 30-35 minutes to be honest.

Justin Swiercz

Jabari Parker is playing a little better every game. BTW. if all of Jabari's petulance leads to him playing better, I'm all for it.  I understand him blowing everybody off, because he's had nothing but negatives from the press & fans since he was signed.  I know that makes your job harder, but Zach talks enough for both of them... and so fast you can hardly understand him.  He must have the metabolism of a hummingbird. With all those guys down, we'd better just enjoy watching Zach ascend, and hopefully, Jabari come back.

Art Alenik

Someone on the Bulls needs a raise. Ryan Arcidiacono, Cameron Payne and Kris Dunn have all developed into much better players under the Bulls.  I think the opportunity Payne is getting to play is going to be huge for him this season. When Dunn returns, Payne will be more confident. 

Victor Devaldivielso

This just popped into my head: after MJ's final retirement as a Bull, I read that MJ was interested in joining the Lakers and had sent feelers to Shaq, but the latter wasn't interested. It sounded bogus to me and even more so knowing that Phil had reportedly wanted MJ to join the Lakers as a mentor to Kobe, with the former declining the invitation and eventually joining the Wizards.

Terrell Bryant

Despite losing Portis, Dunn, Lauri, and Denzel, I think the silver lining is that Carter, Payne, and even Hutchison will get lots of playing time. Plus Parker and Felicio now get the chance to prove that they earn their contracts. I think the team will grow and become even better from this - kind of like how Jimmy got good after Deng was out and Thibs was forced to play him. What do you think?

Abram Bachtiar