Bulls

Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

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Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

CSN Bulls analyst and four-time NBA champion Will Perdue looks at the potential long-term impact, both individually and as a group, for the Bulls if they're unable to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers in their current playoff series.

 

[Ri-gret]

verb

“1. to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).”

It’s been 14 years since I played competitive basketball in the NBA. Sunday afternoon's game between the Cavs and Bulls brought back memories of those "lost and missed opportunities" throughout my career on the floor. The difference between myself and this Bulls team is that I can no longer do anything to correct or change those missed opportunities. This series is tied at 2-2. The Bulls have an opportunity in Game 5 to correct their mistakes from Game 4, to not only help them win Thursday but also to help them win the series.

At the present moment this team may not understand the magnitude of what lies before them. On paper they have the talent, the skill and the depth to beat LeBron James, their nemesis, and the Cavaliers. I know from past experience that they may look at Game 4 as “just one game,” but it could be the defining moment of this series and quite possibly, for some, their careers. It’s not as easy as saying “just put it behind us and learn from our mistakes.” Games that end that way, especially in the playoffs, can leave mental scars and doubt that will carry over into the next game and quite possibly the next season.

[RELATED: Bulls remaining positive heading into Cleveland]

Now is the time for this team to be proactive. Instead of looking back 14 years from now with the thoughts of regret of what could have been in this series against the Cavs, this team has the chance to write history that can be looked back upon and cherished, much like I was afforded the luxury of four championships. Those years bring back the fond memories of battles won, but there are still those memories of battles lost that resurface after watching games like Sunday's last-second loss.

Professional athletes are tormented about missed opportunities. Golfers have nightmares about the missed putts they feel cost them a win on tour. Hockey players have nightmares about penalty shots gone awry. Baseball players are haunted with the errors that may have cost their team the game. You understand my point.

I hope this Bulls team doesn't allow the outcome of Game 4 to define regret. Not only do they need to make the necessary changes required to win Game 5, but it also requires the necessary focus, determination, desire, drive, and both mental and physical energy. This may actually be the biggest hurdle for this team to overcome. Johnny Bach, assistant coach for the Bulls championship run in the 90s, used to always say, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Do the Bulls have the mental fortitude to win and advance?

[MORE: LeBron James is all alone, but it could be enough to top Bulls]

This is the challenge that lies before them. If they don’t win this series it’s not the end of the world, but if they do win it could be life-altering. Remember the Bulls in 1991? We finally beat our nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, 4-0. What happened after that was the first ever championship for the Chicago Bulls organization. There have never been any regretful thoughts of that season.

Moving forward, the future of this team and the history that they write is in the hands of the players and the coaches.  I use this metaphor all of the time on CSN Chicago: I’m not Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling, but if the Bulls lose Game 5...run for cover.

Now it’s time to do your part and rally the troops. Wear your favorite Jersey, your lucky socks, your rally caps...whatever it may be, to show your support for the Bulls and help Derrick Rose, and the team take down LeBron and the Cavs. Let's dethrone “The King.”

This post originally was published on Will Perdue's tumblr page.

Will Perdue is CSN's Bulls analyst. Follow Will on Twitter @Will_Perdue32 and watch him on Bulls Postgame Live with Mark Schanowski after every Bulls playoff game.

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

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AP

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

There were no Lakers or Clippers in the 2018 All-Star Game, but Los Angeles was well-represented with plenty of homegrown talent, plenty of historians with Los Angeles ties and all the pageantry L.A. can provide.

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and James Harden are among the All-Stars who came home to put on the biggest show of entertainment the league has to offer, and the new format featuring captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry produced one of the most competitive finishes in recent All-Star history as the spectacle wasn’t lost on DeRozan, who plays for the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.

“It was a dream come true,” DeRozan said. “I’ll forever be a part of this, and to come out and be a starter in my hometown, it was a dream come true.”

With Chicago hosting the event in 2020, one wonders if the city or the Bulls will be as represented.

“What better time to do it than in Chicago?” Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen said about his aspirations of being an All-Star sooner rather than later.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, to this point, is the only Chicagoan carrying the torch as an All-Star. For years, Chicago could claim their homegrown talent rivaled the likes of Los Angeles and New York, the self-proclaimed “Mecca”.

But now they’ve fallen behind in the way of star power, as Derrick Rose has gone from MVP to one of the biggest “what if” stories in modern-day sports. Jabari Parker was expected to be next in line but his future as a star is murky due to the same dreaded injury bug.

“I didn’t know that. But there’s a lot of great players (from Chicago),” Davis said Saturday during media availability. “Jabari is just coming back, Derrick is going through what he’s going through. That’s fine. D-Wade is getting older. We have a lot of great guys. Guys have been hurt, in D-Wade’s case he’s just getting up there in age now (laughs).”

Davis is arguably the league’s most versatile big man, keeping the New Orleans Pelicans afloat while DeMarcus Cousins is out with an Achilles injury. He’s had to watch the likes of George deal with free agent questions about the prospect of coming home to L.A., even after he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

It still hasn’t stopped the chants from Lakers fans, panting after George in the hope he’ll be a savior of sorts. And even though his contract isn’t up for another few seasons, teams are lining up in the hope they can acquire him through free agency or trade.

It could very well be him getting the chants when the All-Star party comes to Chicago and he could be joined by the likes of Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the big game.

LaVine was in Los Angeles for the weekend and Markkanen opened eyes around the league with his showing in the rising stars game as well as the skills challenge.

Davis could wind up being the object of everyone’s affection and could find himself being recruited by the likes of LaVine.

Even though 2021 is a long way away, a guy can dream, right?

“I mean, I’m cool with a lot of dudes in the NBA. I feel like I’m a likeable guy,” LaVine told NBCSportsChicago.com about recruiting star players to the Bulls franchise. “I can talk about situations like that, it would be my first time being put in a position. It would be a little bit different but I think I can handle it.”

LaVine has his own contract situation to take care of this summer, being a restricted free agent but understands the Bulls’ salary cap position and their long-term goals.

“Yeah I think once the offseason comes and everybody settles down, and I’m comfortable, and I know the position I’ll be in,” LaVine said to NBCSportsChicago.com.

“I think we’ll start having those conversations because we want to get the franchise back to where it was, on that high plateau. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m trying to solidify myself in the league to a certain degree. Once you start reaching those points you can talk to anybody to get to where you want to get to.”

LaVine attended several events over the weekend and shared the same space as several All-Stars in non-media settings. It’s easy to see why he would think he could have that affect with his peers.

Being careful about the rules on tampering, he said about a potential sit-down with Davis, “I would bring some Harold’s chicken to the meeting and we’ll be all good.”

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

Los Angeles—Lauri Markkanen called himself “The Finnisher” when asked what the movie of his life would be called.

Apparently, that moniker didn’t apply to the All-Star Skills challenge as he took down the best big men but couldn’t close against a former Bull, Spencer Dinwiddie, in the final.

The contest highlights players’ ability to dribble around cones shaped like NBA logos, throwing a chest pass into a net while having to complete a layup and then 3-pointer before their opponent does.

Markkanen took down Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid before facing off with Dinwiddie. He held a pose after hitting a triple to beat the uber confident Embiid, in what will likely be used as a memorable gif following the weekend.

His confidence doesn’t come across as blatantly as Embiid’s, but that snapshot shows he’s no humble star in the making. He didn’t even practice for the contest, by his own admission.

“I heard some of the guys did,” Markkanen said. “I didn’t do much, just before the competition, I did a little warm-up.”

Missing on the first pass attempt into the circular net in the final, it gave Dinwiddie the advantage he wouldn’t relinquish, hitting on his second 3-point attempt before Markkanen could make it downcourt to contest.

“It’s a lot harder than I’ve seen,” Markkanen said. “I thought it was gonna be super easy but it was kind of tough. Maybe I need to hold my follow through (on the pass).”

“I saw he missed (the first shot) and I started going. I thought he would’ve missed it too. I think I would’ve gotten it on the third shot.”

Being one of the multi-dimensional big men in today’s game who can be adept on the perimeter as well as the interior, it almost seems like the contest was made for Markkanen. Although he doesn’t do much handling in Fred Hoiberg’s offense, it’s clearly a skill he will develop as time goes on.

The last two winners of the skills challenge were Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, and Markkanen was well aware of the recent trend.

“The last two years the bigs have won,” Markkanen said. “I’m kind of pissed that I couldn’t keep the streak going after (those two). I think there’s a lot of guys who can do that now, it’s why they changed the format to bigs versus smalls.”

For Dinwiddie, who was discarded by the Bulls last season after a promising start in the preseason so they could pick up R.J. Hunter, he’s taken advantage of an opportunity with Brooklyn.

“I think for Chicago it was just another series of unfortunate events,” he said. “They were in win-now mode. I was an unproven guard on a non-guaranteed contract and they felt Michael Carter-Williams gave them a better shot to win.”