Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 02.10.12

Sam Smith opens his mailbag to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers

I love your trade scenarios (even the loopy ones!), but why in the world won't you call out Thibs for riding Lu and D-Rose too heavily? Rose was trotted out against a woeful (and under manned) Hornets team, wasn't terribly effective and did not get to rest his back at all. He will almost certainly be trotted out against the Bobcats. Lu was running on fumes before his injury and, other than a less-than-stellar shooting night against the Hornets, has looked great since the long rest. Imagine what benefit Rose would gain from getting several days off before Boston. I know you say if players say they can play they should - but he is very young and can't a coach see that the big picture is more important than a single game, especially when the single game is gainst the D-League opponents the Bulls have faced this week?

Stan Faust

Sam: Question: When do you know your team is having a good season?

Answer: When the majority of questions/complaints suggest you stop playing your best players.

That’s pretty much what has been going on lately with the first place Bulls. The biggest single topic questions I’ve been getting with the Dwight Howard mania subsiding is that Thibodeau must stop playing guys so much, especially Rose. I’ll offer right away I’m not sympathetic. Yes, I could see taking starters out a minute or two sooner in blowouts, of which the Bulls have had their share lately. My guess is a Thibodeau team once gave up a 12-point lead in the last minute and he’s never letting that happen again. As he develops more head coaching experience, he’ll get more confident. But I’m pretty much with Thibodeau on this one. If a player is hurt, he says so and doesn’t play. No argument there. But if you can play, you play. There’s a bigger issue here, actually a few. One is if you’re the MVP. Sure, you owe your team. But you also are responsible to the game. The MVP often comes to a city once a season. Fans want to see him and pay a lot of money. Michael Jordan always understood that. So did Magic and Bird and all the great ones. Bird had a bad back for years. You’d see him being stretched out in timeouts. Maybe you say if he took off a month he wouldn’t have had to retire after 13 years. But he also understood what he meant to the game and to the fans. I remember after Jordan broke his foot. Doctors told the Bulls he shouldn’t play because there was a chance of a career ending injury. Jordan insisted he wanted to play and the fans sided with him over management, which was being cautious. And that was a team contending for nothing. Plus, things have changed now in the schedule. The worst part is past, and that basically was just two more games a month than usual. I’m not going the old guy route of things were better because they were not. The present always is better than the past. But there seems almost a softening of America in this. There has much written and discussed about a generation of kids over protected, given trophies for participation, celebrated for trying. I’ve done some of that myself with my kids. But NBA players are the greatest athletes in the world, bigger, stronger and healthier. They are treated better than any athletes. They travel with a full time masseuse and personal trainers. Often there are chefs. It’s all charter aircraft and the best hotels in the world. All to prepare them to play for the highest prices charged in professional sports. I also remember the two most rested Bulls in the playoffs last season from lack of play in the season and being substituted the most liberally were Noah and Boozer. And they played poorly in the conference finals. And so if they can, they should play. They owe that to the fans of the game and to the game itself. Russell and Oscar and West and Baylor and Barry and Havlicek and Reed and Kareem played. For much less money and under much harsher conditions. If we want to spoil our kids, fine. But we don’t have to pamper our professional athletes. The game has done much for them, and all the game is asking for is their participation. They owe at least that.

Why are a majority of media folks making such a big deal about the amount of minutes Deng and Rose play? Their minutes are right in line with the majority star players in the NBA today. Are folks making an issue of this simply because there isn’t much else to write about and discuss right now other than the occasional bad Dwight Howard trade rumor?

John Swank

Sam: That has something to do with it, so I think I better get back to offering up some trade suggestions. Though at 22-6 I keep hesitating to break up the team. Can I be getting soft, too?

I want to get your input on the 76ers game and Thibs' decision to bench all the starters in the fourth. I understand that he was frustrated with their level of play and that it was the bench players that made the game competitive, but it was a 12 [point] game with 4 or 5 minutes [left]! Derrick Rose has had so many great fourth quarter performances and the Bulls have had so many incredible comeback victories this and last season. I thought that Thibs let the 76ers win by going with Lucas and Scal to close out the game. Maybe he was sending a message to the Bulls that they have to play 48 minutes or resting the guys for the Knicks, but ultimately the goal always is to win, especially against a team like the 76ers who might make some noise in the playoffs, is becoming a conference rival, and has been beating the Bulls of late. Do you agree with Thibs decision?

Denis Yavorskiy

Sam: This would be the official other side of the argument. You better rest Rose and Deng, but not if the team might lose. Of course, what’s also left unsaid in this discussion is that there’s this notion that the reserve players can go 40 minutes because who really needs them? Yet, one of the strengths of the Bulls is a well rested second unit. And the reason guys are bench players is because they generally can’t produce if you leave them on the floor for too long. So the more you play them instead of starters the more games you’ll lose the more they’ll be worn down for the end of the season. And these are not guys accustomed to playing big minutes. If you paid attention, the Bulls starters dominated the Hornets while the reserves basically played them even. Thibs can’t win on this one, but that it is the main topic of discussion of late suggests things are better than they should be.

What do you think explains the disparity between Boozer's play when Rose is in and in games that Rose has missed? Or is it simply that these games have, other than the game against Memphis, come against some truly awful teams (PHX, CLE, CHA, NJ, WAS)?

Mark Bala

Sam: Boozer has had some of his best games with Rose out with 23 and 9 and 24 and 6, though he also had a four points and six rebounds game. It’s not like C.J. Watson is a great floor leader as he’s more a scoring point guard. Rose does run much of his pick and roll stuff with Noah because Noah is a better screener than Boozer. Lately, I’ve noticed Rose making more of an effort to find Boozer rolling to the basket. But Rose does tend to penetrate more than Watson and thus take Boozer out of a comfort zone and shot opportunities more. Still, it is a small sample for now.

Jeremy Lin - solid PG or 15 minutes of fame? A limited run of performances to go on, I know, but your thoughts?

Richard Connor

Sam: He’s a surprise to everyone, especially the Knicks, who had him targeted for the D-league before everyone got hurt. But those three games are not a fluke. The NBA always has had trouble indentifying talent in white, playmaking guards with Steve Nash and John Stockton, Hall of Fame players, not being picked in the lottery. Yes, in New York they have him ticketed for the Hall of Fame, so we’re not going there quite yet. But he sure looks like he can play.

I love how hard Taj plays defense, grabs boards and scores down low but is it me or has he regressed, as far as, hitting that baseline jumper that he used to? Is he still working on his shot or just working on his post game? This is why I think it's important to have Boozer around because he still provides an offensive option.

Ivan Rodriguez

Sam: I’ve seen the same thing. Everyone watches Boozer on defense, or not on defense. But Boozer does score and can score, and the Bulls problem against Miami in the playoffs was a lack of scoring. Sure, Boozer could have done more. But all those calling for Gibson — yes, he looks better with power dunks and aggression — miss the point that his shot has been missing for a year or more and he is not much of a scorer. You can play with him as a starter, which I felt was possible in 2010, but that was when I felt the Bulls could get Joe Johnson. If you start Gibson, you better have a 25-point scorer with Rose, and then wonder what you are going to do with Noah. There just isn’t enough scoring on the floor with Gibson.

We're going to lose games since Bulls management won't at least sign another shooting guard like Mike James. The Bulls must have money somewhere to have made that type of move.

Kieron Smith

Sam: That’s a short term view. Sure, Hamilton is out and the Bulls are mixing and matching and Brewer cannot be counted upon for much offense. But the need isn’t immediate. There will be opportunities closer to the trade deadline and when players go for buyouts later in March. The Bulls don’t have much flexibility under the luxury tax, so they’re better off seeing if something bigger comes along and if there is a greater need later.

What is the lowest drafted rookie who has won the rookie of the year award?

Aaron Ward

Sam: There aren’t many lately. Probably in this recent era it’s Mark Jackson, who went 18th to the Knicks, though that was a bit ago. In the early years of the league there were up to 20 or more draft rounds with friends being drafted as there was little or no scouting. Probably the best of those was Woody Sauldsberry in the late 50’s as rookie of the year and I think an eighth round pick.

Why so much hate for Deron Williams? I must confess I am a UofI alum and given the current state of Illini hoops, I do need to hang on to the glory years. And I don't dispute the basics of what you report in terms of his run-in with Sloan and his eventual ouster in Utah. But what I don't get is why do you portray him as being the example for 'what is wrong with the NBA' these days? Is he worse than LeBron or Dwight Howard or Chris Paul or Carlos Boozer or any of those guys? Yes, some others are much better players, but not all. Isn't he still a top 5 point guard?

Pete Patrino

Sam: I don’t hate him, and I have commended his play, though he does lose it against the Bulls and gives up on his team trying to beat Rose. He is a talent and an excellent floor leader. But is very moody and can be one of the more unpleasant people to deal with in the NBA. From his rookie season, he often had an attitude with reporters for little reason, being short, curt or trying to be intimidating. I know a lot of people dislike LeBron, but he’s far more personable and friendly and decent, at least with media. For the most part, media members don’t want these guys as friends, just a chance to ask some questions and chat about the game and pass on the information to fans. Williams is one of those rare guys — and there aren’t many — who pout and grump and make it difficult at times. Reporters who cover him have to talk to him because he’s the star, but I know from talking to media members and staffers around the league he’s been someone generally considered difficult. No, not a criminal and not an embarrassment to the organization. Just someone who’ll look back years later and wonder why he acted like he did.

Do you think the Bulls would get involved in the J.R. Smith sweepstakes?

Omar DeJesus

Sam: No. Let’s say that pretty much would end the days of the beautiful ball movement the Bulls have had, especially lately.

If Deng put off surgery to save his Bulls season, does that mean missing out on his London 2012 "hometown" Olympics? He has to get the surgery done eventually. That would be unfortunate considering what an ambassador he is for their UK national bball team. Or it was Shaq diesel that said, "I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time." Thus maybe Deng will follow the Shaq big toe blueprint and put off surgery until after the Olympics and miss the start of next season?

Matt Thacker

Sam: I see where Kobe says he’s fine now and I’m not sure if there is surgery to come. So I don’t know the future with Deng. I’m sure he wants to play in the Olympics, and he should. And he’s no Shaq, waiting around so he can get in more wave running and surfing in the summer. I suppose it’s possible he could miss some time, but you can see in Deng he’s serious about playing given the way he’s come back and I’ll go with him as having the best interests of himself and the team at heart.

Watching the Bulls lacklustre performance against the 76ers and their struggles against the other top teams in the East, I’m really beginning to get worried about our chances in the playoffs. No longer do I think Miami are our only hurdle as I see the 76ers and Indiana as huge threats to our success. It appears in such games that we are so reliant on Derrick to score 30+ and win games off his own bat, as his supporting cast continue to come up short. I’m beginning to get the feeling that our incredibly deep team which is great in the regular season is going to struggle come playoff time due to the lack of another superstar. My feeling is that we may be very lucky and win a Championship, but I doubt we’d be able to do it several times with our current team. I think it is time for the Bulls to pull the trigger and make an aggressive attempt to trade for Dwight Howard in order to get another superstar player. Barring Derrick and Luol, who I believe is an All-Star level player and way more important to the team’s success than Joakim, I would be offering anyone else to Orlando.

Mark Magris

Sam: The wins lately have slowed down the Get Howard emails as well as the growing feeling he doesn’t care to play in Chicago. As the Magic said, his agents still have not asked to speak with anyone but the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks. Obviously, it’s ridiculous to suggest you can make a deal for Howard without giving up all your best players but Rose. But the larger issue is the one I have to laugh at, that one championship might not be enough. What gets lost with fans, especially Bulls fans, at times is how many franchises never win. The Bulls had six championships. Sure, everyone would like to see their team win all the time. But everyone is trying. How about getting one and going from there. I am not opposed to someone like Howard, though he can’t shoot and you can’t throw him the ball at the end of games because of his free throw problems. I think even with him you’d still have scoring issues as you’d likely give up Korver in any deal. But at this point perhaps you give this team a chance to see what it can accomplish before blowing it up.

I find this annoying. I really love how on the front page of ESPN, in the headlines, the Knicks, a sub-500 team is on the front page because they beat a 5-20 team in the Wizards. And then, on in the highlights, he goes, No Amar'e no Melo? No problem! When the Bulls were without their top two string PGs including Derrick Rose. They also didn't have Luol Deng, Rip Hamilton, and other key players, they beat the Wizards. The only place I found this being mentioned from an ESPN website was espnchicago and it said injury plagued Bulls beat Wizards. Bulls win and the world goes on to live another day. Then when the Knicks win, the whole world has to know that the Knicks won a game against the worst team in the league. One win is not very important especially against the worst team in the league. Why are all of the national sports networks biased towards east coast teams, particularly New York teams?

Andrew Bedows

Sam: Because ESPN stands for the Eastern Seaboard People Network.

I like to read about NBA history and players, and this week subject was Gary Payton. Reading about the 1996 Finals, I found this: "Midway through the 1996 NBA Finals, Seattle coach George Karl made the decision to assign Payton to play defense as a shooting guard instead of his normal point guard assignment in order to defend Jordan. Payton held Jordan and the Bulls to their lowest offensive output in an NBA finals and frustrated the best player in the game. In his first three NBA Finals, Jordan averaged 36.3 points per game and had scored at least 30 points in 14 of his 17 games. However, in the 1996 Finals, Jordan averaged 27.3 points per game and scored more than 30 points in only 1 of the 6 games. The Sonics won that game by 21 points and Payton held Jordan to 26 points – Jordan's second-lowest-scoring Finals game in his career up to that point. In game 6, which the Bulls would win to capture the Championship, Payton played 47 minutes and Jordan missed 14 of his 19 shots, getting a career Finals low 22 points. By the end of the series, Michael Jordan had been held under 30 points in 5 of the 6 games, including his three lowest-scoring Finals games up to that point."

Did Payton really guard Jordan that well? Who was best the player to ever guard Jordan in your opinion? I heard Starks was a tough matchup for him, but the numbers Payton achieved are defintely a statement.

Alexandre Telles

Sam: That Finals was interesting because the story was Payton was afraid to defend Jordan. Payton was Defensive Player of the Year that season, but for the first three games the Supersonics didn’t have him guard Jordan. The Bulls went ahead 3-0 and after a 72-10 season and three days between Games 3 and 4, the story for national media was to celebrate the Bulls and declare them the best team ever. The Bulls got caught up in that and took their foot off the gas and got caught by an aggressive Seattle team. Seattle also gave Payton some help and they won two games. But the Bulls went back home and won Game 6 and the title. Payton was a good defender, though never a real, bother to Jordan. Jordan always said Joe Dumars bothered him. Sometimes Vernon Maxwell did, though that was because many felt Maxwell might pull out a pistol some time and do something crazy. There really was no one defender who truly gave Jordan problems. His toughest opponent may have been the Oakland arena, where he broke his foot in 1985 and was tentative there for several years afterward.

Out of all the supposed free agents/trades that our team could obtain, how does everyone know which players want to win? All these people making accusations (about Howard and others) are just virtual GM's sitting at their desks. How do they all know what the players feelings are? I know money is a huge motivating factor, but I find it hard to believe that some players don't want to win.

Ryan Kolodzej

Sam: Everyone wants to win. What game did anyone ever play in no matter where in which the other team didn’t want to win? None. It’s media shorthand (laziness?) for declaring some players not as serious. It’s like saying guys are not winners because they never were on a championship team. That’s nonsense, but makes it easier for media to create their story lines.

I’m not about to pick holes in the Bulls recent offense which hasn’t been lacking points BUT with Kyle Korver’s recent hot shooting do you think he is getting enough shots? For example – last night’s game against New Jersey he only took 4 shots in 29 minutes. Are they running enough plays for him (as they seemed to do with Rip in the line-up) or is he giving up the ball to easily coming of screens etc. as he is a willing passer averaging close to 3 assist in that period? Also, do you think he will be included in this years three point shoot out?

Andrew Robson

Sam: The Bulls run a lot of plays for Korver, but he is at heart unusually unselfish for a shooter. When he feels himself covered, he’ll look for the pass, which is unusual with shooters. Lately, he’s been trying to pump fake and step in for a shot, which he hadn’t done much in the past. But defenses have been seeking him out, especially with Hamilton out. I would like to see the Bulls skip the ball across court to him more as he shoots better when he’s squared up rather than fighting over screens. I’m told he is not scheduled to participate in this year’s three point contest.

I don't understand why the Bulls do not isolate Rose and space the floor with shooters (Rip, Kyle, Luol) more often during those times when the offense is struggling and we really need a bucket. He obviously doesn't need a pick to take anyone off the dribble. I understand the pick and roll is the Bulls so called "bread and butter", but it seems to me like it's always too congested in the paint, which makes Rose have to force up crazy forced shots at the rim. They almost never space it for him without having someone set a screen.

Evan Lin

Sam: I guess the reason is Thibs has a coach of the year award and we don’t. I’ve mentioned it at times, more last season. It’s that so called one/four flat offense with four players along the baseline and Rose breaking down his defender. I’d like to see it more, but it does figure to put more strain on Rose with more defense going for him. So maybe that’s one reason. For now, as long as the Bulls keep winning there’s not much reason to change, I guess.

Every outlet (after Philadelphia) for the story is saying just about the same thing: the Bulls still need a wing scorer who can get his own shot. Is it time to consider trading Asik? If I remember right, he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Given the Bulls' payroll, it may be tough to match an offer, especially as big men are hard to come by (as is defense). So, who do you go after? I saw O.J. Mayo do his best Jamal Crawford imitation the other night, shooting from everywhere on the court and missing most of the time, never looking to pass. Ditto for Courtney Lee in a Rockets game (and he looks very small). Rip is the answer, I think, because he did give Wade fits. You know, it's hard. The Bulls do have a great team, and I like Brewer. Korver seems too inconsistent, and he doesn't move like Rip. So, if you were going to put a package together, who would you go after? If in fact, Chris Kaman is on the block from NO, would/could he help (as a second-team scoring center, I assume). He's not the wing, but he is an offensive option that clearly does not exist in Asik.

Jim Hecimovich

Sam: I’ve given that some thought as well as Asik’s minutes have shrunk lately, though he did play more and have a better game against the Hornets. One of the issues is what you mention, that there are flaws and issues with the guys who in theory may be available. And then you give up your only other center (last season there was Kurt Thomas) and Noah doesn’t exactly have a history of full health. So it’s probably too much of a risk to leave the team with a potentially large hole. As the Bulls can match with Asik, there remains a reasonable chance they can keep him.

I was wondering if you can confirm the status of Wilson Chandler after he is released from his contract in China in March. Will he be an unrestricted FA or restricted? He would be someone I think the Bulls could use if they are able to pick him up.

Danny Shimon

Sam: He is saying he intends to resign with Denver long term as they have matching rights as a restricted free agent.

Word on the street is that the Hornets are actively shopping Chris Kaman and his expiring contract. I propose swapping Noah and his long term deal for Kaman and a future first round pick. The trade gives the Bulls future cap flexibility to address deals for Taj and Omer. It narrows down your amnesty possibilities (Boozer). It gives you a true center to play alongside Boozer for the rest of the year. I love Noah but this has to be done for the good of the Bulls future. Taj and Omer are must keeps. The depth and defense they provide is outstanding.

Gordon Yeboah

Sam: This is another of my fantasy league emails. I get a bunch of these every week. At one time, I was the only one making up deals. Now with the popularity of fantasy leagues everyone thinks they can be a GM. Yeah, trade this guy for that. See if that works. It’s much easier in fantasy land. Kaman, yes, is an offensive center much more so than Noah, as we saw when the Bulls beat New Orleans. But he has a huge history of injuries and if I’m uncertain about breaking up this 22-6 team for Dwight Howard I’m sure not going to recommend it for Chris Kaman. I’d like to keep Taj and Omer as well, but I don’t see where their scoring is superior to Noah’s. Noah can frustrate you, but you don’t come across active, aggressive seven footers like him. For Howard I can see. Otherwise, nah.

In every mailbag I have read you seem to get about 5 emails from people asking you about crazy trades that would destroy the Bulls team that made it to the Eastern Confrence finals and has the best record again this year. Why not play Derrick and C.J. together more? C.J. has been scoring alot in his minutes and his 3 point shot has gotten a lot better.

Jake Pomfret

Sam: Thibs has been doing a lot more of that lately. It’s not a great defensive lineup given their size and basically forcing Derrick to work harder by taking the better scoring guard. With half the fans wanting to see Derrick not even playing, it’s not something the Bulls are going to do much. But there are times for it as Watson has had a much better season and is playing much more confidently. What you’d like to see more of is what we saw briefly against the Nets with Derrick going into the post. It was been talked about a lot before the season, but Rose hasn’t tried it much. Playing off the ball with Watson, perhaps we’ll see it some more.

I was a little bit in disagreement about something you wrote in your mailbag. You seemed to think that Dwight Howard was joking when he said that about "if God" wanted him to play with Derrick Rose, he would. I recall reading a short bio of Howard once, I think on Wikipedia (maybe it was accurate, maybe not), stating that he took his faith in God very seriously, even though he is something of a jokester in other matters. I think he was dead serious about not minding playing with Derrick. Then again, you're right about him seeming not to want to come to Chicago. Only if God willed it would he come. That's assuming the Orlando GM would even be considering a trade for any Bulls players, which I can't see happening. I have no idea where the big man will end up, though. My real question is sort of unrelated to basketball. I noticed in the past you did not capitalize the letter G when you reported Derrick thanking God after a win. You wrote "thank god." This may have been in one of last year's columns. Are you a believer in God or are you more secular? I was just curious. I'l be continuing to read your columns either way.

Colin Ilike

Sam: I do follow the views of the Founders to separate religion and sports. OK, I’ll be serious because the issue is. I do take religion seriously. I come from a very religious background. I believe it’s a private matter and I’ve never been that comfortable with the way athletes use it. Not to say athletes are not religious. Many are. And serious about it. I know there was much made about Tim Tebow this season, but I thought he handled it all well. He seems to make his beliefs personal even with those prayerful displays. I find it confusing with athletes often as people will say “thank god,” not meaning the supreme being. The locker room when someone is naked and answering questions isn’t always the best place to get that explanation. Also, my personal bias is I find it insulting to religion to involve it in the mundane events of a ballgame. So I tend to generally ignore such references. I have an advisor on this, Mark Miller, a nationally recognized church leader. I didn’t take seriously Howard’s comments, so I asked Mark. Here’s how he responded: “It's amazing how much people put on God... and what God will do on their behalf. I think (many) athletes are dumbed-down on theology and how God functions. One of the basic truths on all this goes in this manner: What is the function of faith?

"Generally two ways, well in opposition to each other. The first way is to understand faith as protection. That is, If I am faithful and good God will keep cancer away. The other is to experience faith as endurance. I'm not sure what will happen in my life, and I will try to be good and I will try to recognize hurt and reduce it in others, but my trust is I will endure no matter what.”

I don’t know it to Mark’s level, but I don’t think it applies to free throws. It often reminds me of my favorite such story with Anthony Mason. This was when players were doing those prayer circles on the court. After one game, Mason was leading a group at center court and called for the losing coach walking off the court to join, the coach, distracted, said this wasn’t the time. So Mason said, “Then (*&^%**) you, coach.” Not that it means much, but after that I tried to keep the basketball discussion to a more mundane level.

Should Melo be on the All-Star team? Or is that my (dislike) for the Knicks getting the best of me?

Mike Sutera

Sam: He hasn’t had an All-Star worthy season, much like Deron Williams, who got picked by the coaches. Name does mean something, but more than that fans want to see their favorites. I like the idea of fan voting. It’s an exhibition and fans should get to see whom they want to see most in that game.

Boozer, Asik and Butler (or Hamilton/Korver) and a draft pick for Garnett and Allen. Imagine a starting line up of: Garnett, Noah, Deng, Allen/Hamilton and Rose.

Dan Abdo

Sam: I’m fairly sure the Celtics’ idea of rebuilding after their latest Big Three era doesn’t include a 30-year-old forward past his best seasons making $15 million annually so it limits them in free agency. But that’s just me.

Luol Deng looks terrific coming back from the injury, but it's obvious that he has problems finishing with his left hand. So, how effective do you think he can be going forward, especially against the Miami Heat's [LeBron] James?

Zong Xian

Sam: That will be something to watch as the season progresses. He’s not going to be as good as he was without a serious injury, obviously. But he is a competitor and the Bulls will take their chances.

This is more of a bugbear than a Bulls question. Where do you stand on NBA Finals winners being automatically labelled as "World Champions?" I find this extremely arrogant and presumptuous. The team that wins the NBA Finals is the NBA champion, not world champion. FIBA world rankings and results clearly demonstrate that the USA are not a lay down mozaire (although I concede that the team they'll have this Olympics will be mouth wateringly elite). So I don't understand this desire to take a domestic league victor and shove them on a global pedestal?

Jon Birt

Sam: As we say, just Americans being Americans. I assume a “bugbear” is a pet peeve, but I did like that usage.

People seem to be bashing Boozer for taking too many mid range shots, but he's shooting 45% from midrange, which isn't bad (Same % as Bosh). Also, it's not like he can't finish at the rim. He's shooting 52% from in the paint but outside the restricted area, and 65% in the restricted area.

Walter Castelaz

Sam: Boozer is productive, but TV keeps showing those shots of a lack of help on defense and you think he should be wearing a Wizards uniform. But the Bulls don’t have anywhere else for now to get that 16 and 8.

Besides D-Rose, I think the most important Bull is Stacey King. Do you know what his contract situation is and is he as loved by the Bulls brass as he is by the fans?

Andy Aroffe

Sam: Stacey is very popular within the organization. The TV broadcasters generally work on three year deals, but I don’t know Stacey’s. I do know from being around Stacey since he was a rookie with the Bulls that he has found his niche. As he said the day he was born, “Easy on the slap, Doc.”

The Bulls play in Madison Square Garden and you don't mention the smell of urine from the circus? Either you're losing your touch or you're maturing, I can't decide which.

Tim Johnson

Sam: I was too sick from the smell to think straight. I’m just now getting my senses back from the new vomit scented wall paper in the hallways.


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