true ios true ios true android false computer $upper($url_encode($(QUERY_STRING{'bypassCountry'}))) NONE $url_encode($(GEO{'country_code'})) $url_encode($(GEO{'country_code'})) $(bpc) true true false Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 3.25.2016 |

Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 3.25.2016

You may not be quite as aware of this as I am, because NBA League Pass often gives me the opponent’s feed of the games. But even some Bulls fans are culpable. You know how Kobe said that in the ‘legend of MJ’ he never missed a shot? Well, the pre-ACL Rose has a somewhat similar mythology. He was phenomenal!

So, what I’m getting at is this. Whenever you hear a an opponent’s feed or a national broadcast, the first thing they tell you (usually before play has begun) is that Derrick Rose isn’t what he used to be and probably will never get back to that level. Then he goes to the hoop, and they say, “That looked like the Derrick of old.” And after he’s done that 2 or 3 times, and maybe hit a couple of floaters or bank-shots, or nailed a 3… Well, they’re really impressed. One of the Jazz announcers the other night. He explained how Rose used to be unstoppable, driving to the hoop and hitting 3’s.

And I thought, “Wait just a minute there. I don’t remember that.” Yes, he was a blur going to the rim. And that was hard to stop without fouling, but a lot of those fouls went uncalled, and he really didn’t shoot well from anywhere else. His pre-ACL 3-point average was about 29%. And he was a weak defender too. That’s why I thought – even at the time – that he was not the strongest of MVPs; more flash than complete player.

You also hear how Rose used to dunk all the time. What? I remember him as dunking very selectively. Maybe my memory is flawed, but it looks to me that he’s every bit as fast as he ever was and actually finishes at the rim better than he used to. Noah & Taj used to clean up a lot of missed Rose layups... remember?

My point is that – aside from sitting out with minor injuries – Rose is truly playing better than he ever has, In his past 16 games (since 2/5), he’s scoring about 20 ppg and shooting about 43% from the arc, with almost 6 assists/game and an assist/TO ratio of 1.8 (not bad, but s/b better). His offense is a lot more versatile, he’s passing better than ever, and his D is much improved from those early days. He was a bit more prolific in the pre-ACL years, but mostly because he dominated

the ball and had so little help. That was more a matter of necessity than anything else. Rose is 27, the age around which most players peak. But having missed about 2 years to injury, and being as cautious as he has this season, it’s likely that we still haven’t seen the best of Derrick Rose. There may be some days ahead to make everybody forget those false memories of “the old Rose”.
Art Alenik

I am glad D Rose is playing well as I hope he can have some consistent success. His overall numbers are better than Dragic who got roughly 90 million contract I think. Since the All-Star break, Rose has been a model of efficiency, averaging 20 points and 5.2 assists on 52 percent shooting and 50 from 3-point range. With this and say playing 65 games does he make the all star game and what range does he sign as a free agent and where Chicago or elsewhere?
Kevin Franzen

Gasol’s defense is getting worse. Have a great offensive game, get rebounds and the let opponents just stroll by him to the basket. Why is taking a charge so hard for him? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Gasol fan! Just seems to be soft at times, allowing 6 – 8 points a game that may be huge in the results!
Rex Doty

Why does it seems like the Bulls players have no urgency or desire to beat lowly teams like the Knicks? This goes back to last season where they only tend to play hard against elite teams but doesn’t seem to do so against weaker teams. What makes this even worse is that this has nothing to do with coaching change or injuries too.
Tom Choi

What are your thoughts on Felicio? Do you reckon Cristiano Felicio could have a future with the Bulls??
Shaun Chalmer

A lot of talk recently about a LeBron lead super team. I like it. Mainly because the Cavs are boring.

But I'm not buying them all ending up on the Clippers.

I am, however, intrigued by another potential Lakers Super Power.

If LeBron were to leave Ohio again, it'd have to be for a solid chance to compete for a title. And as the Cavs are currently constructed, I don't see them winning it all anytime soon.

Ipredict LeBron and Wade sign with the Lakers.

And somehow, Chris Paul and Carmelo are both traded to the Lakers. Not sure who'd play center, but I'm sure someone would volunteer to take a pay cut (Noah).

A lot would depend on if the Lakers get a Top 3 pick.

I can see the Knicks taking either Russell or a Top 3 pick for Melo.

Whether the Clippers would enable the Lakers to add Paul is the only flaw in my theory. But if for example they had the opportunity to swap an aging point guard for a young potential star that potentially could appeal to them, I would think.

And for cap purposes, they can probably entice a team to take on the contracts of either Young or Williams by including Randle.

Another fun question would be who would coach this juggernaut.

Thibs? Phil Jackson (if he's forced out in NY), not sure. A puppet. Doesn't really matter honestly.

Mike Kay

I'm still enjoying this season (unlike most Bulls fans it seems) because I enjoy watching younger players grow, seeing castoffs like Moore and Holiday get a chance, and it's been great to see Rose stay relatively healthy and hush the critics. However, I also always enjoy looking forward to the future and am interested in realistic moves (what I can't trade Bairstow and Brooks for a perennial All Star!?).

I know you are unsure who the Bulls bring back between Noah and/or Gasol (probably leaning towards the latter if he wants to return) so the bigs situation is tough to judge (maybe a stretch four/five like Horford or cheaper options like Dudley, Teletovic, or Green).

You've said it before, and I agree, the Bulls need a shooting guard so Butler can play Small Forward. I'd like to see them draft and develop one (maybe Beasley from Florida State or Malcolm Brogdon who will go lower since he's older) and sign someone. For a few years maybe Joe Johnson? Cheaper options, Courtney Lee, Jamal Crawford off the bench. Wow, for the era of letting three pointers fly, there aren't many good shooting guards are there? The pipe dream would be to swing a deal with the flailing Suns for Devin Booker, but he's about all they have worth keeping. What kind of options do you think the Bulls have? Looking at free agents really shows how difficult it is to build a team through free agency especially with an expanding cap.
Michael Kolodiej

Chandler Parsons:His tenure in Dallas has been a disaster.
Mike Sutera

The Bulls 2nd unit gave up a nice lead against the Kings. In both the 1st and 2nd half we had a lineup of Portis/Taj/McD/Holiday/Brooks. This leaves Brooks to dominate the ball and run the offense for 25% of the game. Why rest our 3 best players at the same time? Considering that Butler and Rose both excel in the same area (driving to the hoop) and don't exactly need to play off each other, it almost seems too obvious to stagger their minutes. What am I missing?
Dan Michler

Do the Bulls practice the odd man rush ? You know the old 3 on 2 break where you get the ball to the middle early and you get a layup every time ? They seem to have messed up about 4 of these in the first quarter of tonight's raptor game already.
Guy Danilowitz

Wanted to get your thoughts on our young guys. Do you see guys like Portis, McDermott and Mirotic becoming genuine starters in the next few years? Obviously not superstars, but do you think they are good enough to help get the Bulls up? Or do you think it will be our own version of the last decade of the Atlanta Hawks? Good team, but never going to get there?

I could see Portis getting up there, but he needs to develop his D (though I think it's pretty good for young big taken in the late first round), likewise with McDermott. Would love to see Portis go in the Garnett direction - certainly has the mental element (to a degree), and looks to have a solid game under him as well.

Though with McDermott, I see a lot of effort on D, but he needs to work on his physical attributes - agility and lateral quickness. I can't imagine him starting at SF against the likes of Durant, LeBron, etc. even if Jimmy takes them on the defensive end.

I'm still torn on Niko. Great ability and potential to be a weapon, but at the same time, he can be very inconsistent on offense. Coupled with average (or below average) D, I find it hard to see him being more than an offensive spark off the bench.

Keen to hear your thoughts.
Daniel George

Do you think the Bulls would have made a run at the finals if everyone, including Dunleavy, were healthy from day 1? Even with the coaching changeover, it seems like this Bulls team would have been formidable in the playoffs. Rose is back on track, McDermott has put his game together, and who knows were Mirotic would have been at this point. If Rose, Butler, and Hoiberg had been able to pull it together, it certainly seems with the depth they would have had, the Bulls would have resembled the team the front office had envisioned at the beginning of the year. I know. Lots of "would haves."
William Kochneff