Ask Sam Mailbag: 11.18.16

Russell Westbrook's been simply fantastic throughout his NBA career and what he's doing this year is just unbelievable averaging near triple double. I predict he'll be the scoring champ this year as well. In the meantime, DRose has gone through major surgeries on both knees and will never be the same player again. This reminds me of 1984 draft. Are we now the new Portland Blazers?
Bambi Choy

Everyone gave a lot of credit to Jerian Grant's defense on Damian Lillard, and I agree that he played Lillard tight all night. But as I watched the game on DVR it seemed to me that the excellent defense had a lot to do with how well Taj and Robin Lopez rotated to stop Lillard and the other wings when they beat their men. What was great about Lillard was how stoutly he switched to the Blazer big left by Taj or Robin to protect the rim. Physically, Jerian Grant looks a lot like D.Wade and has a similar combination of speed and strength. The team defense was impressive in Portland, though it helped that most of their shooters were stone cold in the first half.
Kirk Landers

It appears to me that the level headed leadership of Dwayne Wade is the biggest factor in the Bulls success. How Wade is bringing out the best in Butler is nothing short of brilliant. Wade also has the rest of the team following both Butler and Hoiberg's lead. We seem to have a real team's team on our hands. Do you think I am being too optimistic?
Tom Pappalardo

Jerian Grant is really fast. I had no idea. Very impressive. I'm starting to understand why management kept him and Canaan instead of Dinwiddie. They are a good drive & kick combo.
Ateeq Ahmed

Snell is starting for the Bucks and they showed up well against the Hawks. His stat line wasn't that bad. There is still hope. I wonder how many fans he has besides me. So Bulls get outrebounded, out shot from the field. Win the TO battle. Win the game. Central Division has the best record in the NBA.
William Kochneff

Darrell Walker brings NBA experience and new attitude to Clark Atlanta University as a coach. How come Phil didn’t have him on the staff.
Mike Sutera

So now the Spurs coach decides to give the public a lecture on how to treat people?
For decades, he's belittled and attempted to embarrass reporters. He did and continues to do it at press conferences and during games with sideline reporters. He talks about behavior and role models? He should look in the mirror.
Matt Adler

You were right about that New York media huh? Vultures are circling Phil now.
Lebron though, this is like a master class, "Selling the call..Media Edition"
Wesley Davis

Do you personally think that Phil meant his comments regarding Lebron James' friends to be bigoted? I do not, and assume you feel the same way. I read Jordan Rules and enough articles growing up as a kid in the Jordan era to know that bigotry has to be the furthest belief system from Phil's mind; I personally think that he was using the opportunity to bring attention to the superstar-fueled culture currently inhabited by sports executives who came up in a different era as players and coaches.
What I really can't understand is that nearly everyone in NBA media are heeding the call of Lebron James in questioning Phil's attitudes on race. James is a tremendous success, but he either has the thinnest of skins and the most calculating of minds, or is incredibly insulated to the point of delusion. Furthermore, as a black man, I find it ludicrous that a multimillionaire many times over would choose these comments as a battleground for a discussion on race. Of course wealthy blacks can be discriminated against, but this isn't one of those situations.

I assume that Phil, being in his 70's, used a term that was popular during the Bulls' first championship run and became embedded in his mind. What person of a certain age doesn't remember Arsenio Hall affectionately referring to his audience as his "posse" in the early nineties? There doesn't have to be a negative connotation just because it's coming from the mouth of a septuagenarian of a different race. I hope that media reach out to former Bulls and Lakers players and personnel to get a different perspective besides the one being pedaled by Lebron, his friends (can't use posse), and Carmelo Anthony of all people.
Terrell Bryant