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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 2.12.2016

Did you see ESPN doesn't have Kobe in the top ten of all time. And Lebron is #3. What are they thinking?
Abe Rotbart

With Jay Williams coming out with his book last week got me to thinking what could've been. Do you think he would've been as good as Derrick Rose or would the Bulls been any closer to a championship had he not made that terrible decision to get on that bike? Personally in the NBA I don't think he was as good as he thinks he was but to hear him tell it he was headed for a hall of fame type career. Just wanted to know your thoughts on him.
Carl Reynolds

So, Phil and Thibs. Do you see either one going for that?
Alejandro Yegros

What a mess this season has become! The Bulls are now tied for the last playoff spot in the East. It's time to face reality and accept that even when healthy, they won't get past Cleveland (and possibly a few other teams) to win the East. That said, are they better off trading guys like Pau and Taj for future picks and cap relief at the trade deadline? Wouldn't they be better served missing this year's playoffs altogether and hope to get lucky in the draft lottery (ala 2007-08)? I say it's time to retool (notice I didn't say "rebuild") around Jimmy and Bobby.
Mike Burgher

The Bulls are definitely on a skid now, and the boo-birds even came out. The fourth quarter was played by a group that, besides Derrick and Doug, was basically the end of the Bulls bench at the beginning of the year-- Felicio, Bairstow, and Brooks. Everybody seems to be pretty much bummed out to be playing for the Bulls (bad body language), and as Neil and Stacey mentioned many times during the broadcast tonight, there is little to no movement in the offense and people are just taking turns going one on one. Hoiberg definitely needs to be given time to get this up and running. As I remember, in Budenholzer's first season in Atlanta, they did not have an outstanding record, but in year two they clicked and took the #1 seed in the East. Maybe it will just take time and a few roster tweaks in the off season to get the Hoiberg era going like we hoped. On the other hand, maybe we are looking at last year's Knicks team, which, despite being expected to make the playoffs, basically never played well together in large part because they were a team waiting to get broken up, and they never invested in making it work as a team. Everyone was looking at the future and where they would end up, with basically only Carmelo knowing he would stick around. If you could look into your crystal ball, do you see this season as an adjustment period like Atlanta in Budenholzer's first year, or do you see this season and team ultimately falling apart like last year's Knicks team?
Michael Gates

Bulls fans, myself included, are pretty upset these days and we're looking for someone to blame! It's not been much fun tuning into the games these last few weeks. But one of the narratives I've been reading is that Gar Foreman has killed this team by drafting poorly the last few years. I was looking back at the draft choices the Bulls have made since he became GM. I don't think anybody is arguing that 2009 and 2011 weren't very successful. The 4 drafts since have not produced any players that are jumping off the page yet. But only one of those picks came inside the Top 20. Is it fair to condemn the front office for a lack of success in the draft?
2009 - James Johnson (16) Taj Gibson (26)

2010 - Kevin Seraphin (17)

2011 - Nikola Mirotic (23) Jimmy Butler (30)

2012 - Marquis Teague (29)

2013 - Tony Snell (20)

2014 - Doug McDermott (11)

2015 - Bobby Portis (22)

Stephen Fulton

With the Bulls being in obvious need of a shakeup, and with Fisher out and Phil's comments about NY seeking a big trade, any chance the Bulls go after Melo? I've been against the idea most of the season, but with the Bulls losing their way so badly I feel like it might be the right time to pull the trigger on something big. Quite a risk, but potential reward...
Geoff Robson

Why would anyone think our bottom 7 guys (and two banged up starters in Pau and Derrick) could beat the top 7 guys from any other NBA team?
Chris Granner

Rose for Joe Johnson who says no? Gives Bulls more cap space this summer. Helps the Nets win more games now and Rose does have a better upside than Johnson - albeit a huge injury risk. If not this trade, do u have any potential Rose trades? His contract is awful but only lasts 1 more year after this one, surely someone looking to win now would take a flyer on him, no?
Billy Habibi

The Bulls are 50- ish win team right now when healthy. The current thought among many fans seems to be that the Bulls are good enough to compete in the playoffs but not good enough to truly contend unless they get some lucky breaks like an injury or something. Therefore, they're worthless and the team ought to be blown up. But my question is, blown up for what? What good would that do? If the Bulls are a 50 win team that means they are basically one star away from potentially being a true contender. I could understand if the Bulls were in the "dreaded middle" but they're not. The way I see it, if they blow it up they will have Butler and some role players which means they will be too good to get a low pick but not good enough to attract a quality free agent. At least where things are now, they could be in a position to acquire some quality talent to push them to the top.

I don't know about you but I don't want to watch 3 seasons of 20-30 wins during Butler's prime when we could be competing every year.
Joe Tanner

What Golden State is doing this year is pretty amazing but the team that I'm really impressed with is the Spurs. They have been overshadowed by GS's great season and aren't talked about much but they are right there with GS in standings with an unbeaten home record of 28-0. What's more impressive is that Greg Popovich strategically rests his star players regularly. Pops makes coaching look easy, is always having fun and everyone seems to love him. He's got to be one of the greatest coaches ever if not the best.
Jay Choi

I used to be a Kobe hater, still am most days.But lately I'm rooting for him a bit. They are 14 games out of 8th place. The teams ahead of them aren't that special. With 30 games left in the season can Kobe make the playoffs one last time?
Matthew Mikulice

Why hasn’t the Bulls management figured out that the real reason why this team is so inconsistent (injuries or not) is the fact that we just have too many players in Gasol, Mirotic and McDermott who are all poor defenders? This goes back to last season even with Thibs so it really has nothing to do with coaching change. Even with Boozer he was much better than these 3 guys since he can at least box out and get defensive rebounds.
Tom Choi

A lot of people are talking about why this Bulls team is struggling and placing the blame on hoiberg and the players. Players such as Deng and even Nazr Mohammed were good leaders who could communicate properly and the players we have now: So at what point will the front office blow up the roster
Abdinassir Suldan

You indicated that the mailbag tone from your readers was angry. I don’t get the anger. Maybe it’s politics seeping over into sports or infecting the general populace. Why be angry, especially now the Butler is hurt. You pointed out that all these guys play hard. I agree. Maybe not smart all the time but there are no slackers. Hard to be angry starting Bairstow. Hard to be angry while playing Felicio. Hard to be angry playing without 4 of your top 6. Tell your readers to lighten up, enjoy the journey and remember that these are people not robots.
Greg Young

Actually, the tone does remind me of the political season, the name calling, the cheap shots, the vindictive demands for retribution. And then there are the candidates. There’s obviously an anger in the country that has produced such hostile reactions, though these are more common than you think in politics. Jefferson’s win over Adams in 1800 was one of the dirtiest and ugliest ever and I read where in 1796 Washington was routinely called a traitor and a British sympathizer by allies of Jefferson, who were mad Washington sided with Hamilton. Makes Trump and Cruz look passive. We always thought sports was supposed to be the simple escape, the toy store of the world, a place to get away from the anger and ugliness to play games and enjoy the greatest athletes in the world. Have we become that corrupted? Hey, you ever got me being serious. I need to watch an All-Star game.