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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 5.08.2015

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

By Sam Smith | 5.08.2015 | 2:02 p.m. CT

There's not much to criticize about the Bulls after that great game 1. My only issue was the use of Niko. I understand Thibs limiting his minutes in this series but if he's going to play him don't you think he has to pay more attention to who's on the floor for Cleveland when Niko goes in? He should not be in when Cleveland has 2 bigs on the floor because he cannot bang with Thompson down low. I think Niko would be a huge asset for us on the court when the Cavs go small with the likes of Miller, Marion or Jones at the 4. Any chance Thibs takes notice of this and changes his rotation around? Niko getting 4-5 minutes in the 1st half just to see if he's hot is a great luxury to have, it just needs to be the right matchup.
Billy Habibi

If necessary, would Cavs consider using hack-a-Noah? I mean what is up with his FTs lately? There's no elevation and he's 2 for the last 20 attempts! He was never a good FT shooter but not this bad. Plus he's always had a knack to make the important ones. His bad knees can't be the reason for this! He's just not the same player overall these days.
Bambi Choy

I'm not saying we played well in Game 2, but there was not a 20 point difference between the teams. They get so many bailout calls it's sickening. We probably would have lost this game anyway because they were on fire from deep, but we could have had a good shot at being under a 10 point deficit starting the fourth. In Game 1 we dominated them, and they were close in the fourth because of all those Kyrie bailouts and made up and-ones, those two Derrick scores that were taken away from him and all the free throws we don't get. This game was the same: double standards on foul calls right from the start and we never got even a slight chance to fight back. Again, Gasol and Rose are two future hall of famers and don't get whistles, Irving had more years in the league than playoff games coming into the series; shouldn't it be Rose and Gasol the ones to get a few bailouts? It's not like the NBA is rigged as people at times say, it's just the way it is against James' teams even if it's not done on purpose. You have to make up for that extra 10 point differential his team gets from officiating. I have faith though, we will be stronger than everything that gets thrown at us and send the Cavs fishing because we're by far the better team if Game 2 was the best they can do.
Cosimo Sarti

I know what JR Smith is capable of but I don't think the Bulls need to worry about him so much. Yes, he's dangerous. He can hit 5 three's in a row... very quickly! He can miss that many as well. I'd like to see him jack up long jumpers and watch Kyrie run around in circles all game. I'd be fine with that.
Victor Devaldivielso

I know the MVP voting is pretty subjective. But.... There was one guy that thought James Harden wasn't one of the top five players of the season. Is this for real? Should he be voting next year? Arent there any rules to prevent this kind of voting? It sounds kind of ludicrous. And [by the way], there was 7 guys who thought LeBron wasn't in the top-5 this year. I know LeBron is the best player and maybe, just maybe we can find 5 guys with a better season. Then again, not sure I can. Curry, Harden, Westbrook, Paul and Davis maybe? I don't really think so. And I'm one of those "LeBron's haters." But c'mon... 5 guys better than LeBron this season? With all the changes and the emotional season in Cleveland? How can the league change the MVP voting so it will be better suited? And btw, do you think the players should be the ones voting? Guess that would be even worse?
Rui Dias

Do you think Adam Silver will take action against the [Cleveland] organization for the awful video depicting domestic violence at their game? It's not funny. When an executive gets caught saying something racist, in private, they get exiled, but showing a woman get bodyslammed and humiliated to a packed house gets a pass? The Rocket's media guy got canned for a lot less.
Wesley Davis

I was reading Adrian Woj's column and was shocked to see that he claims Thibs departure is imminent. And that the management already had a substitute in Fred Hoiberg. He didn't quote anyone, actually. But the way he wrote, it seemed like he is pretty sure. I thought that maybe something was already set.
Alexandre Telles

If the Bulls beat the Cavs and make it to the next round, which team from the other series would be the better matchup for the Bulls? Hawks or Wiz?
Edward Fung

Congrats to Jimmy on his Most Improved Award – well deserved. Thibodeau and Bulls Management have been together since 2010-11 Season – through that time:

2010-11 - Coach of the Year – Tom Thibodeau
2010-11 - MVP – Derrick Rose
2010-11 – Executive of the Year – Gar Forman (John Paxon)
2013-14 - Defensive Player of the Year – Joakim Noah
2014-15 – Most Improved Player – Jimmy Butler
2014-15 Rookie of the Year – Nicola Mirotic (2nd)
All Stars – Rose (2), Deng (2), Noah (2), Gasol (1), Butler (1)
All NBA First team – Rose (10-11), Noah (13-14)
All Defensive Teams – Noah (3 times), Luol Deng (once), Jimmy Butler (once)

Add Luol Deng – Citizenship Award - 13/14 (Cavs) & Kyle Korver (Sportsmanship Award – 14-15 (Hawks).I’m not saying that all the noise around Thibs future at the Bulls is rubbish (I have no idea how that will play out), but adding Thibs 255-139 record that the above awards looks like a coach and management team that has shown success on all levels for an organisation.
Andrew Robson

We were having this debate in my office. Who would win in a 3 point contest if it happened today – John Paxson or Lebron James? I’m guessing Pax still has his shot and could take down Lebron.
Clem Zuercher