Ask Sam Mailbag: 11.25.16

Horrible play to end Denver game. You inbound the ball to Jimmy who is your superstar and you let him decide to get the shot he wants or give it up.
Mike Sutera

You want to try some things like this early in the season to see which guys you have who might provide you a big play later in the season in a crucial game or playoff. Many for years condemned coach Thibodeau’s penchant for playing every game in November like it was May. Well, you can’t find out about guys without putting them in position to try, right? Any Jimmy shot was going to be a tough one as great as he’s played. I didn’t sense any post game locker room concern that this was an egregious situation. Players seemed more sympathetic for Canaan; not that they were indifferent to the result, but more upset they hadn’t done more earlier. We always can note 100 other things that could have changed the outcome, but like with a player wanting the big shot, that last play is a moment for the coach as well. Injuries happen, but the Bulls best shooter was out, Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic had been erratic. The easy choice would have been to force something into Butler. Perhaps a taller lineup with Robin Lopez to have a shot at that second chance. Canaan shot with about five seconds, so there was time for a pump fake, another pass.

As Hoiberg noted, Canaan made that shot on the same play Saturday. I didn’t have a huge problem with it and actually thought Hoiberg was too tough on himself. He got someone who was one of their best three-point shooters available an open shot for a win in the last five seconds. He also showed faith in more than one or two guys on the roster. You can nit pick over it, but it wasn’t an unreasonable choice.

Wow bad loss in Denver! Yes we're on the road but still it's a bad loss. I like the attitude of the team in the post interviews in owning it, staying together and being positive but still...bad loss in Denver! I know we aren't quite a championship type team but I hope the loss eats at us a little more than what it seems. Especially to Butler who has been amazing and really taken his game to the next level. What he now needs is that killer drive inside to win at all costs. Get a bit of MJ in him. MJ would have been ropeable and then would come out and scored 50 the next night.
I'll be watching for Jimmy to have 30 by the half, 40 by the 3rd vs philly and a 25pt lead before he sits in a blowout. You don't lose to the nuggets or the Knicks at home. Any good coach in any sport will tell you 'you must win the games you are expected to win, always. Then you'll be there challenging to win it all in the end.'
Andrew Brown

How much more of rondo do we have to sit thru this season? Will grant ever play over him or does rondo have to be injured for that to happen again? Grant is better than him.
Billy Habibi

Writing about Dwayne Wade’s leadership in his “Ask Sam” column (11/18/16), Sam stated: “Media and fans tend to force leadership on players if they are among the best on the team. True leadership cannot be taught. Either you are or you are not.” I agree, and nominate Derrick Rose as an example of a star player who couldn’t lead, no matter how much the media wanted him to assume that role. Noah had strong leadership skills, but was frequently injured during his last years with the Bulls. Last year’s team, despite reasonable talent and Jimmy’s attempts to fill the void, lacked leadership. Wade’s leadership, including his accommodations for Butler and Hoiberg, is a key difference between last year’s underachievement and this season’s solid start.
Tom Roberts

It seems to me Mirotic is the key to the Bulls this year. I was down on him in preseason for the exact things we see today, mainly inconsistency. However, when he is hitting shots and confident, it brings this team to another level. He is the first big off the bench and we need him to stay consistent and not get too psyched out when he misses his first shot. I could be wrong, and he could just be one of those wildly inconsistent players, but it looks like it is all mental with him. One night he has 15 points and 15 rebounds and the next night he is 1-7 and the rest of his play suffers as well. I hope he can find consistency and confidence because if he plays like he can and scores 15 a game off the bench, that could be the difference between a deep playoff run and early exit in my opinion.
Mario Persico

Am I correct in assuming that management and Hoiberg agreed to play Portis no matter what? Because he just looks consistently like he's not ready for NBA minutes. It seems every time he comes in the other team goes on a run. Felicio isn't great, but Portis stands out for being lost.
Alejandro Yegros

Good to see Bobby Portis getting big minutes in the 4th QU - he needs to be more assertive both in developing that long range shot to pull defenders out (look how Speighth shot for LA). And for Bobby to be even more active in rebounds. Mirotic is still a bit shy for a guy who was an MVP in Europe- still looks like he's adjusting culturally to being an American/ NBA player. He has that long body - hopefully he starts defending with more length, using those long arms and body - he needs belief in his body-control and athleticism. He looks a little tentative at times. Mirotic is a good passer and hopefully he gains confidence in everything. When Butler, Rondo and Wade create, they need a confident guy like Doug to get off a quality shot - so you don't wind up with Rondo shooting with the clock winding down.
LongGiang Le

Knowing that this is your specialty and all do you see any players on the trade market that the Bulls might acquire who could get them past the Cavs into the NBA Finals. Its never too early for some trade ideas.
Tom Pappalardo

It's too bad we didn't get Wade when he was younger. If he wants to come off the bench at 36, though, I'd still give him a look. The guy's a winner. I maybe didn't even realize how much until now. The Utah game is the perfect example. Last season, they would've let that lead slip away. Maybe Rose would have thrown up a couple 3's and missed. Lest we forget... Taj's block at the arc was excellent! Blocked the shot, retrieved the ball and passed ahead for the score. Sweet!

Alen Art

Rumor has it the Celts asked Isaiah Thomas about how he felt about them acquiring Cousins should he become available and he was very against it. Not shocking. Anyone who has played with him at one point will agree with IT.
Bob Ding