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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 1.30.2015

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By Sam Smith | 1.30.2015 | 3:17 p.m. CT

Earlier this week I asked someone in an online chat at another basketball site what to make of this latest round of Thibs talk, and he replied with something very simple: From what he understood, there's tension between Thibs and the front office, but they're both motivated to make it work. If that's truly the case, why do so many drop the last part when reporting on the Bulls? They're making it work. That seems a lot less "crisis-level" than "Thibs is on the hot seat" or "relationship is beyond repair" or "breakup is imminent." So why does this story keep popping up? I'm just a dumb fan, but it seems to me if the Bulls wanted Thibs gone, he'd be fired. If Thibs found it so unbearable to work for the Bulls, he'd resign. What's so bad? Is it really so horrible for Thibs to earn $4 million a year coaching players who have almost unanimous buy-in to him and reward him with wins and accolades? Is the Bulls front office really frustrated with all those playoff games and winning seasons and having one of the highest respected coaches in the league in their organization? This has been going on for three years, and quite frankly after hearing last year about how Thibs had a handshake agreement in place to coach the Knicks (it must be a lot of work for Thibs fitting into that Derek Fisher costume and flying to New York to coach between Bulls games), it's hard to take anything written about the situation seriously. I tend to think that one sentence sums it up best: there's tension, but they're making it work. Or is there more?
Chris Feldman

The Bulls-Thibs rift stories keep growing. Even part of Van Gundy's "Bulls's owned media outlets" is reporting on that. My take is that Thibs is already near the top of the NBA tenure list, and the only guys in front of him have won a championship, or in the case of Scott Brooks, at least made it to the Finals. So if you don't win a championship, it seems you're not staying more than five years or so, no matter how good you are. Is this going to be the case here?
Alejandro Yegros

It's interesting how the radio media in this town has no context. There are teams across the league who have been healthy and for several years have been mediocre or even underachieving (Clippers, Houston, maybe Washington, OKC). Their coaches remain with those teams. There are also teams who have lost one top player and have collapsed or lost horribly (OKC, Pacers) and their coaches remain. The Bulls have done neither. It just seems odd to me that there is not enough context in this town.
Matt Adler

The same reason rose never got a lot of foul calls early in his career is because a lot don't look like fouls in full speed, not until you see it in slow mo can you see the contact most times. As you used to write about back then he's so good at avoiding contact and so strong that the contact doesn't really affect him. To me he reminds me of someone playing street ball. You know you're not going to get a foul call and free throws so you try to make the layup even through a lot of contact. But maybe you could tell Jimmy Butler to give Rose some lessons on throwing his head back when he receives any contact. Only James Harden has mastered that move even more than Butler if you ask me. So I don't blame officials for not calling some of the touch fouls that may occur when he drives. As long as it's just light body contact and not a hack across the arm that really affects the shot, I say let em play. I hate all the stoppages in pro sports; we already got enough.
Brandon Revering

In your opinion, what's the issue with this Bulls team? I've seen every game this season and I can't seem to put my finger on it. Thibs says defense and intensity but our sputtering offense consistently turns into easy baskets for the opponent. This is the NBA and it's made up of the best athletes and competitors in the world. Even the worst teams can dominate when given enough confidence.
Charles Kupcek

Do you think Rose should be shooting 9 three pointers a game ? I mean I think it's ok for him to shoot threes but unless you're Stephen Curry or Kyle Korver I don't believe you should have 9 and 10 attempts from behind the arc . Does the coach tell him that? I remember Rose had the prettiest game in the NBA. Now his game has to be the most frustrating game to watch. Every time he shoots a three I cringe.
Keorn Thomas

Why didn't Kareem ever get a coaching gig? He is certainly more knowledgeable than many coaches now. How have your personal interactions with him been over the years?
Adnaan Hamid

I saw a clip of Draymond Green's tip-in to send the Bulls-Warriors into overtime. I watched it several times. Every time I watched, he went over the back of Noah with enough contact to push Noah to the end line. I know the league doesn't like to have games settled by officiating, but that seemed too egregious to miss. Combine that with the Warriors' "immaculate defense" of D Rose and you have to think that a Bulls win wasn't in the original script for that game.
Kirk Landers

I forgot to ask: What happens to the “protected 10” draft choice if the protection kicks in? It looks like the Kings may well finish among the bottom 10 teams. Does that mean the Bulls get nothing? Or does the choice roll over somehow into the future such as an unprotected no. 1 in 2016?
David Thompson

As aggressively as Derrick played against Golden State, the difference was the bigs. Noah 18 pts 15 rebs, Pau 18 pts 16 rebs. Is that how you beat GS in the playoffs? Their bigs are not that good with Bogut always injured. The playoffs are slowed down anyway, with more half court play. Can a team still win in the playoffs mostly shooting from the outside? Or, is this the new era of NBA?
Ateeq Ahmad

I am so glad I was able to watch the entire Warriors game. Unfortunately, I had to watch the game with the Warriors crew announcing the game. They kept pointing out Derrick's weird stat line, 33 shots, 11 TO's, no assists (until the final Hinrich 3 in regulation). They, however, failed to mention he was playing without his soon-to-be All-Star backcourt mate so he needed to shoot a lot more than he wants, had 7 rebounds, was explosive getting to the rim, and was +10 (tied for the best on the team) in +/-. Seeing Derrick yesterday (along with Noah) gave me chills because I know we can be special if things fall into place. However, I am just going to enjoy the ride this year and love the team exactly the way they are. Are they flawed? Yes, but who isn't this year? I do wish they could go back to their defensive roots, but who am I to say anything as they just hung with and beat the best offensive team in the NBA. Can't wait til May!
Adam Garcia