Bulls

Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
10:47 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With rumors swirling about the Bulls potentially acquiring sharpshooter Rasual Butleras previously reported, CSNChicago.com confirmed late Sunday that the swingman received a buyout from the Los Angeles ClippersDerrick Rose discussed how an additional player could affect the teams chemistry.

That would be something that when they get hereif they get here, if someone comes herewell just have to see if it affects the teams chemistry, but I really dont know how it would be right now. I think that we have a good team right now. I think our chemistry is fine, the guys that we have are great and Im fine with the people we have right now, said Rose.

The All-Star point guard strongly believes the current squad is a championship-caliber team. Definitely. Theres no point in us even being here practicing if we didnt think we could win a championship. I think that we have a good team. I think that we have good guys on the team that are winners, that are basketball players, that just want to play ball and win. As for Thibodeau, he was non-committal about the speculation.

I havent heard anything about it, said the coach. If they Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson get close on something, theyll let me know, but like Ive said all along, I love the team we have; I love the guys we have.

If the Bulls were to acquire Butler, the 6-foot-7 swingman would provide them with an additional shooter to spread the defense against teams like the Celtics and Heat, who may be more apt to pack the lane to defend against Roses penetration and Chicagos size. At the same time, Butler would join an already-crowded legion of wing players, as Thibodeau has shown hes comfortable with Keith Bogans as a starter, meaning that since Ronnie Brewers defense is another Thibs priority, Kyle Korver would be the most likely candidate to see a reduction in playing time.

Carlos Boozer spoke about the teams last losslast week in Torontoand how the Bulls have adjusted since then. We learned our lesson in Toronto after the break. We had that five-day breakAll-Star breakcame back and lost that game in Toronto, a team that on paper, we should have beat, but we took them lightly and got kicked in the butt.. Opined Joakim Noah: You know what? Torontosometimes people talk about recordsbut they have a lot of talent. It was my first game back, the first game after the All-Star break. We definitely had a letdown, so you have to learn from our mistakes and its all about experiences and getting better.

In the locker room, Rose muttered to himself about missing free throws, shots in general and being out of rhythm. When queried about it later he responded, Ive just got to get back. Im still putting up my regular numbers, but just getting back, playing in rhythm. But were winning. I could care less about that. He cited the All-Star break as the primary cause. Going four days without really shooting or playing, I think that could throw off anybodys rhythm.

Brian Scalabrine commented on the fan support the Bulls receivednot uncommon at road games as of lateas well as the crowd cheering for him personally. We were in the building tonight, right? A lot of Chicago fans. A lot of MVP chants. It was nice, Scalabrine quipped to CSNChicago.com. The Scalabrine chants were strong tonight. I mean, I cant say anything about that. Thanks for coming out, thanks for supporting the Washington Wizards.

Rose, the recipient of M-V-P chants throughout the game, also discussed the now-familiar aspect of away games. Its crazy, but Im loving it right now, said Rose. Coming into every arena and everybodys cheering it. When asked who got more support between he and Scalabrine, however, the MVP frontrunner answered, Scal. He got some M-V-P cheers, too. Scal gets that everywhere. Hes a good teammate and Im fortunate to have him on my team.

Bulls shooting guard Keith Bogans, a Washington, D.C. area native, has played in several cities during his professional career, but being on a contender makes a ticket to one of his games even more of a prized commodity these days. Its always good to come home and win the way we did today. It gives me bragging rights when I come home in the summer, Bogans told CSNChicago.com. Everybody wants to come to the games, so I just keep it to a minimumimmediate family and a few friendsall that 30 and 40 tickets, Im not doing that anymore.

Gibson limped off the court on two separate occasions, but Thibodeau wasnt concerned. Taj is fine. I think he tweaked his ankle a little bit, but he said he was fine. He went back in.

Rose sympathized with fellow former No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall, also a John Calipari protg. Its definitely hard, just playing through it, said Rose of the Wizards rookie.

His numbers are good, definitely for a rookie and I know that its tough, going from winning all those games, then coming here, not being mentioned with some of the best teams in the NBA. Its tough, man, but hes playing well. Continued Rose: Roses rookie season was a learning experience. This year it is, too, but my rookie year, everything was new. You had to come in, learn how your teammates are, learn an NBA system. It takes a long time to do that and it was hell my rookie year. It was hell, but when you come in, youve got to have a little confidence yourself because guys will take advantage of you if you come in and you dont know what youre doing or it seems like you dont know what youre doing.

Its tough in this league, Ill say, with people that dont have confidence, especially at my position because thats whats going on right now. Its like a point guard league and every night, youve got to be able to come out here and compete against the best Im more comfortable. I think that guys like Keith and everybody, Kurt, made me more comfortable at my position, teaching me certain things on pick-and-rolls, things on plays to put us in a position to win and I have a lot of confidence right now, especially when I play and it has a lot to do with them and the coaching staffI can only imagine what hes going through. Our record wasnt anything like his. We barely got in the playoffs.

Rose also discussed the Bulls current status and postseason possibilities. You have to look at what Miami and Boston are doing. Were in the same little group, where everybodys comparing us and it wouldnt be bad to get that No. 1 spot, said Rose. Teams like the 76ers, Indiana, Charlotte, all those teams are playing good right now, trying to get that spot into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoffsthe Bucks are right thereknowing that you can play one of those teams, you think about it a little bit.

Saunders holds both the Bulls and Rose in high regard, placing the team in rare air atop the Eastern Conference and Rose in a category of his own. I have them in the top three. I think its them and Miami and Boston, and Orlando, as far as right there, too. I think the big thing is how those guys blend together, now that they have them all and whether over the long haul, their perimeter shooting is going to be enough when they go against Boston and teams that really pack it in, said the Wizards coach. Rose is probably the most improved player in the league, how hes played. I think hes given more to their team than anybody in the league. If I had a vote for MVP, thats the guy that Id pick.

Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at: @CSNBullsInsider.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Potential top pick in 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss entire freshman season

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USA TODAY

Potential top pick in 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss entire freshman season

The Bulls will be keeping a close eye on the best young talent the loaded 2018 NBA Draft will have to offer. But they likely won't be seeing much of Missouri's Michael Porter Jr.

The school announced Tuesday that their freshman forward, the top recruit in the country, will miss the remainder of his freshman season.

Porter played all of 100 minutes for the Tigers, amassing 2 pioints and 2 rebounds in the Tigers' win over Iowa State.

The injury isn't to say Porter won't declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, or that it will affect his stock at all. He's still considered a legitimate franchise player and certainly someone all teams drafting in the top 5 will have their eye on.

But there will be competition. Players like Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton and Mo Bamba make up what could be one of the best draft classes in recent memory.

For now the Bulls will have to wait until the spring or summer to see Porter Jr. work out, while doing due diligence on the rest of the class.

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

It'd be a stretch to say that any rookie is having a better or more impactful season than Philadelphia's Ben Simmons. The Sixers are 9-7, and Simmons looks like a 10-year veteran with his decision making, athleticism and all-around feel for the game. He's the frontrunner for MVP, but there are two other rookies vying to catch Simmons and win that title. And they'll face each other tomorrow night in Los Angeles.

Lonzo Ball was the second pick in June's NBA Draft, and fellow Pac-12 freshman standout Lauri Markkanen went five picks later to the Bulls, who had traded up as part of the Jimmy Butler trade. Both players were drafted to rebuilding franchises - the Lakers still working out the kinks in the post-Kobe era, and the Bulls beginning their rebuild after dealing Butler - and were expected to make immediate impacts on their franchises.

Ball's was more pronounced, as the Lakers dealt D'Angelo Russell to the Nets on draft night to free up space at the point for their prized No. 2 pick. Markkanen's came more abruptly, as the 20-year-old was thrust into the starting lineup after Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic's fight put Mirotic in the hospital and Portis on paid leave. However they got there, both players have been impressive in their early NBA careers.

Starting with Markkanen, the Bulls knew the 7-foot stretch forward was a perfect build for the modern NBA. He set freshman 3-point and rebounding records that, since 1992, only some guy named Kevin Durant had reached. After a successful summer in Eurobasket he was set for a large role with the Bulls, and he's succeeded in just about every aspect. His 15.6 points per game are third only to Simmons and the other Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, and his 8.1 rebounds are second to Simmons. And his 2.6 made 3-pointers per game are most among rookies, and well past No. 2 on the list (Utah's Donovan Mitchell, 1.9 per game).

In fact, Markkanen would become the only rookie in NBA history to average at least 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers per game. The 2.5 3-pointers would break a rookie record currently held by Damian Lillard (2.3 per game). The closest a rookie has ever come to reaching those marks was Stephen Curry, who averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-pointers per game as a rookie. Allen Iverson also met the 4/2 threshold, but that's a far cry from Markkanen's 8/2.5 mark. Paul Pierce's rookie season saw him average 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers.

But that's not all. If he kept those averages up he would be just the fifth player EVER to accomplish those thresholds. The others are James Harden, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Antonie Walker, who naturally did it twice.

So, yeah, Markkanen is having quite a rookie year.

So, too, is Ball. While he's had some real issues with efficiency, slashing .313/.228/.462 and has committed 2.6 turnovers per game, his counting stats have been outstanding. Ball is averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists, and that puts him in equally impressive company.

Simmons has reached those numbers this season, too, averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists. You may have heard of the other two players, named Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

The two future Hall of Famers averaged these numbers:

Robertson: 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 9.7 assists (missing averaging a triple-double for the season by 20 assists)

Johnson: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists

Ball is also averaging 0.9 blocks, and no other rookie guard has ever accomplished that. It might not always look pretty for Markkanen and Ball as they feel their way out in the NBA, but just remember watching these two that they're in the midst of making history in the new era of the NBA.