Ask Sam Mailbag: 12.22.16

Man oh man is this team frustrating to figure out. A lot of
inconsistency in the east we can be thankful too, for keeping us around
the 8th seed. Still what I find the most frustrating is that the Bulls
just don't seem to take care of business on their home court and in
front of their fans. We have often spoken about how hard it is on the
road to win and teams are happy to walk away with with a few wins on a
road trip. Heck we were all pumping fists on our circus road trip after
we won more than 50% of the games played. Yet teams come to Chicago and
seem to walk all over us. Bad teams too like Washington today, the
Lakers etc etc. If we want to be a good team, I think the basis of that
has to start at home. Set the high standard 'that nobody beats us on our
floor'. I'll go and read all the cliche comments now from various sites
on the players after thoughts like 'we'll be alight, just need to watch
some tape, get back in the gym, get back to work' or 'x player hitting 3
x 3 pointers in the 3rd quarter, that wasn't in the scouting report!'.

Andrew Brown

The Bulls are a decent team that could potentially be very good, if they
had lineups conducive to closing games in the modern NBA. The staple for
most teams is a bread and butter pick and roll with a versatile wing and
a big man that can step out and hit a jumper, while having a weak side
shooter to relieve the pressure, a slasher and someone to pound the
glass. Bulls do not have a lineup that fits that mold and even if they
do, they have not figured out how to use it. The team simply lacks
complete players. Ideally, I would close with: Wade Butler McDermott
Mirotic Taj That lineup would be a nightmare on defense but at least
offensively (on paper) addresses the ability to create open shots.
Sundeep Shah

The problem is they need him on the floor so much because of his threat and ability to lead
and score. Hoiberg has taken to playing another starter or two with him
when he plays with the reserves, but he played almost 11 minutes in the
fourth against the Wizards. There’s always one player who gets more
blame, like Boozer a few years back, Rose more recently. So now it’s
going toward Rondo as he’s never going to have great shooting
statistics. But with Carter-Williams basically out since the Bulls got
him, there is no other point guard. You can’t walk the ball up in the
fourth and then score a lot, also. Rondo, as Hoiberg noted, is the
fastest and going to distribute. I agree. It would be nice to have five
offensive players for scoring, but then if you get 35, maybe they get
45. Hoiberg has balanced the minutes well this season, and Jimmy and
Wade are best when they are in isolation. You need some movement as a
result and Rondo is going to be best with that. Look, Wade and Butler
aren’t going to be 13 for 40 often. It happens. The Minnesota/Milwaukee
week was bad, agreed. This Bulls team is great rebounding and crashing
the boards. It bit them a bit against the Wizards as Washington got some
rebounds on long shots and ran out. There may have been a few too many
long ones taken in that fourth quarter, actually, because that’s when
it’s hardest to protect back. It’s still a puzzle, but there’s a fit
there somewhere.

Is the experiment of Dougie at the power forward position over? I know
that is our biggest logjam with Taj succeeding, and Bobby and Niko both
having up-and-down years. The rest of the rotation is pretty well locked
up by now but Doug was and is so promising I'd like to see him resume a
Ryan Anderson role. Rondo/MCW Wade/Canaan Butler Gibson Lopez/Felicio PS
Its so great that you never need to talk about Robin Lopez, so quietly
consistent and reliable!
Matthew Mikulice

I've also been surprised at how much McDermott has been used recently,
especially in the 4th quarter, when he has proven time and time again
that he cannot make an open shot. Mirotic isn't shooting the ball well
either, and it's forcing guys like Butler and Wade to shoot more from
the arc with mixed results. So far I prefer Butler taking threes to
either of those guys, which doesn't bode well for this season. I'm not
sure how Hoiberg is going to be able to influence this team without at
least one shooter to space the floor effectively. It's to the point
where I wish they would start playing Zipser just to see if he is
capable of making an open three once in a while. At least then, Stacey
King would be able to make a corny Christmas joke about Zipser also
being the name of one of Santa's reindeer.
Marcus Nikokiris

Taj Gibson seems to be playing at an all-star level these days. On the
list of most valuable Bulls on this years' team, where do you rank him?
William Kochneff

It’s hard to call it rebuilding given the starting five. The helpful
return of MDW will be welcomed but there have been few signs of growth
and development in the young players. The future of the Bulls?
John Petersen

Wow The Bulls are struggling now. Why not make trade now? How about
Demarcus Cousins for Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
Ryan Carpel

Cousins can basically score on anyone with a combination of a rare
three-point shooting touch and power that might match Shaq or Wilt. But
he’ll routinely take the inbounds pass and dribble around for 20
seconds, stand outside and shoot 28 footers while the guards are inside.
Cousins passes with a soft touch, but not according to any actual plan.
He throws himself at the basket and complains every single time. Then he
rarely runs back on defense as a result. He broods, then unleashes fury
at some official or teammate or opponent. It’s no coincidence the Kings
have been the league’s most underachieving team since he’s been there.
And he’s had good teammates. Rudy Gay has had success often; USA
Basketball loved him. He’s played with Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans,
Hassan Whiteside (no wonder he had trouble as a rookie), Jason Thompson,
Marco Belinelli, Darren Collison, Patrick Patrterson, Chuck Hayes, Carl
Landry, most long time NBA starters and pros and some All-Stars . Now,
someone will take a chance. Benoit Benjamin played for nine NBA teams.
Teams always do on talent. It might be someone desperate who can’t seem
to make that last big step. It will be big news, and that city’s fans
will be excited, and then everyone will regret it and the Kings will be
the biggest beneficiaries and most relieved. I think it would be a
breathless team to write about with Cousins instead of Butler; though
sort of like writing about a burning building or an avalanche swamping a
group of skiers. There’s only the mourning to come.

Our Bulls have beaten the Cavs and the Spurs while losing to lowly teams
like the Nuggets, Lakers, Mavs, Wolves and the Bucks (back to back
massacre). Are we now the most feared team in the playoffs, that is if
we make it?
Bambi Choy