Ask Sam Mailbag 9.30.2016

Just 2 questions: Where have you been and is it time for a mailbag? I still have reservations about this year’s roster but as always, it is interesting to watch. I have a bet with a guy as to which team has more wins: Knicks or Bulls? I’m nervous because I went home town.
Greg Young

Referencing your 10 questions article: Question #11: who is going to rebound for Bulls?

Gibson, obviously. Lopez scares me a little here. His rpm is not eye popping, though he does seem to be a pretty good offensive rebounder. He doesn't pass, but he doesn't turn it over a huge amount, either. You probably get a lot of dribble handoffs and stickbacks with this guy. He doesn't get to the free throw line a lot. He does play like a rim protector, though. Portis can rebound but both he and Mirotic are spotty. Here, I think that DMD is underrated. He's nobody's Larry Smith, but I bet he'd open an eye or two. Both Rondo and Wade have chipped in, and if Butler goes to the frontcourt, he's willing. I think my point here is that lots of rebounds left with the two seven foot guys.

Question #12: How many games do the old guys actually play?

If Rondo is interested, the Wade/Rondo/Butler group with Lopez in front of the rim can play defense, especially if they start Gibson. Start Gibson, though, and ball suddenly seems like it's been dipped in superglue. Will this group get to play together enough? it takes time to jell on defense. Practice is nice. Games are better. With less 3pt shooting, offense not including FT may be harder to count on. Defense can bridge the gap when they're stranded by their offense. Thing is, this group is absolutely capable.

Question #13: Second team. What gives?

No more Hinrich to set up this group. They can score with Portis and DMD. Last year, I sorta liked these two together, since both attack but in compatible ways. I know nothing about Grant's game, but if he can slash and play defense, he can pair with DMD who's a little heavy footed and slow in the hips but fights like crazy to have a decent perimeter. You'd sorta like Gibson with this group because he's a good help defender and rim protector. Add Snell playing awake and it entirely changes the complexion of the second unit, but up until now any such prospect has been fantasy. If it's Mirotic off the bench, he's a good enough rebounder to get it done against the other team's bench but he's a bit of a space cadet defensively. I sorta wonder who's distributing if both DMD and Mirotic play together. Canaan? He strikes me as a guy looking for his own shot. It gives me something to watch this season.

Pete Zievers

I see you gave Snell a mention on your article of a couple days ago. I don't know if you recall, but two years ago I predicted this would be Snell's year. Hope I was correct.
William Kochneff

If the Bulls wanted to be competitive they should have gone into bidding wars to get Whiteside (or Batum). That would have been aggressive and competitive. Then pick up another FA next year. Or go Full Tank mode. Get a top notch draft pick. Instead, GarPax waited until the last minute to get two free agents who are damaged goods... Now we'll have a team that wins 38-42 games (only if no injuries, unlikely). Full of limited one way players that will be frustrating to watch. We won't get into the playoffs, and we won't get a great draft choice.
Matt Ruth

Do you think Jim Buss has gotten the short end of the stick? He's made some questionable decisions (e.g., Mike Brown and Steve Nash), but some of what has happened can't be blamed on him. Getting Dwight Howard was a gamble, but what choice did Buss and Mitch Kupchak have (the latter of whom seems to go blameless in this entire saga)? Andrew Bynum ended up having his career cut short by injuries. Perhaps the worst decision he made was signing Kobe Bryant for two years, tying up money, player development, and thereby stunting the progression of the franchise. And media seem to be clamoring for his sister to take over; his sister has zero experience evaluating players, whereas Buss at least went on scouting assignments and had relationships with team scouts. I can't see the Lakers doing that much better under the current CBA under Jeanie Buss, or Jerry for that matter.
Terrell Bryant

What are the Bucks trying to do? They signed Delly and Terry and are experimenting with Giannis at point. The way I see it, they have at least four point guards who should all play. If Thon Maker is a center then they also have four centers who should all get time. It seems very ill-fitting to me.
Matthew Mikulice