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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 1.01.2016

Is it possible that the Chicago Bulls can hire back Tom Thibodeau, but as assistant couch strictly for defensive purposes? Because the Bulls offence have gotten better, thanks to Fred Hoiberg, but the Bulls have lose its defensive side a bit. It is always said that defense win games, and if you stop the other team from scoring the less you have to score. I believe bringing Tom Thibodeau back on board will make the Bulls more well rounded and allow them to win more games.
Lewis Dokie

I know there are many people who think this is "Butler's team" per say, who think that Butler is the best player on the team and needs to be the leader. I just don't think that is the case still. Rose still has some blurry vision and is finally stringing games together, and I still think that Rose is this team's best player and he is, like always, the best chance the Bulls have at putting together a strong playoff run. In other words, they won't go far without a healthy and consistent threat from D-Rose. I'm not trying to criticize Butler, but I just don't think he makes other players on his team that much better on the offensive end like Rose does. Derrick creates so much more space for everyone else as well as giving bigs like Noah and Gibson opportunities for tip-ins much more often than Butler. I just think Rose makes it easier for everyone else, while Jimmy is just better at those 1 on 1 moments where the Bulls need a score and doesn't involve his teammates as much. They each have their strengths, I just think Rose's is more important.
Jon Kueper

Saw in the New York media speculation about Brandon Jennings to the Knicks. Also I saw one of the big basketball web sites said the Bulls were interested in Kevin Martin.
Mike Sutera

Tony had a big game against the raptors and I was really happy for him. Do you believe that he will ever go to the next level as a player because I believe there is a good player in there. Against Toronto, what impressed me was that he put the ball on the floor and made some really good plays.

It wouldn't surprise me if he has a stinker the next game but why do you think he struggles for consistency? is it a lack of confidence or is he just passive by nature, because I believe he can become another playmaker and good shooter that can help the team.
Abdinassir Suldan

Why is ET out of the rotation? He was the new coach's fave at the beginning of the season. He used to get quality minutes in the crunch time of the game over the other back up guards. I understand DRose was out and there were more minutes for the guards, but he is completely out of the rotation. He used to be the first backup point guard off the bench. It seems that, like with Thibs, Cap'n Kirk is Hoiborg's favorite regardless what shows up on the stat sheet and Brooks can fill up the stat sheet with points if nothing else.
Alex Marguilis

I saw Tony Wroten was waived by the 76ers on Christmas Eve. Personally, I'm a huge fan of his game; specifically his versatility. I could envision him starting at the 1 or the 2 (mostly the 2 given he's not as adept a passer as Derrick) and Jimmy at the 3 depending on the matchup. Do you think the Bulls have any interest? It seems like such a no brainer to me because of his ability to play the 1 or 2 with Rose, let Jimmy play the 3 with McDermott and Dun Dun out, and would be cost effective and seemingly low risk.
David Israel

I think that Doug McDermott, as he gains more experience, will become a really good player. I can already see he has some athletic ability going to the basket – he's not just a deadly spot-up shooter. Give me a comp. Who do you think he may turn into as a comparison to past NBA players.
Matt Adler

Talk about a bad yr, al Jefferson. Suspension and what looks to be a season ending injury. No one is going to sign him to big money. May have to take another 1 yr to reestablish himself.
Bobby Ding

Gasol is a rim protector, but he can't guard against a small lineup. Noah has had health issues. Noah plays faster and is five years younger. Portis, Gibson, Mirotic, and Noah seems like a better group
William Kochneff

After the big win against the Thunder, it appears this team is going to continually need top competition to bring out its best. If this holds true that means it will be a very dangerous playoff team but probably under achieve during the long season. This is a tradeoff I can live with. It is also the opposite of how the team played under Thibs. Presumably by the time the playoffs arrive Derrick's double vision is gone. Hopefully Noah will also be at full speed too and Dunleavy can play. I guess its time to be a little patient with these guys and believe they will deliver when it counts the most.
Tom Pappalardo

John Wall was right about the ballot results. Irving has just played 3 games this season and is at the top of the votes. And Irving is an overrated point guard. John Wall deserves it. He's probably the best pg in the east right now. Of course, I still have Rose over Wall. But we all know Rose hasn't played at an allstar level yet. Wall definitely deserves it. Is the allstar a joke?
Josiah Regencia

If I'm Gar Forman right now my big decision is how far can Jimmy take me over the next 5 years? He doesn't dominate games. He affects them, but he's maybe a #2 option on a championship team at his best, but even that is pushing it. His value is through the roof now though, so I'd swing for the fences. I bet we could get a top 1 pick protection on it in this draft. The window for this particular team isn't quite closed, but it's likely that moving Butler this year at the deadline will have this team better off than they are right now 5 years from now. Crowder/Bradley, Thomas and top 2 protection and a late 1st/early second? Or Covington, Noel and top 2 this year plus one of the late first rounders?
Wesley Davis