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Bulls Draft: Power forward breakdown

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Bulls Draft: Power forward breakdown

Carlos Boozer was able to stay healthy, playing in all 66 regular season games, but his numbers still did not match the 13.5 million the Bulls paid him in 2011-12. Still, he was vital to the Bulls' offense in Derrick Rose's absence, working as the second scorer behind Luol Deng. As long as the Bulls are paying him eight figures per year, fans will take issue with his performance. But Boozer actually increased his field goal percentage, blocks and steals and lowered his fouls and turnovers per game last year.
Of the bright spots in Chicago last year, the brightest may have been Taj Gibson's continued improvement. His versatility, commitment to the glass and ability to block shots gave the Bulls an excellent reserve duo in the front court with Omer Asik. Gibson continues to put up impressive numbers in limited minutes (20.4 minutes per game), and it will be interesting to see how those minutes fluctuate as the Bulls move around some pieces this off-season.
The folklore hero of Chicago, Brian Scalibrine, averaged 1.1 points in 4.4 minutes per game. He is set to hit free agency this off-season.
BULLS HISTORY
Since 2000, the Bulls have made 29 draft selections. They have spent eight of those selections on power forwards: 2000: Marcus Fizer (Iowa State); 2001: Lonny Baxter (Maryland); 2003: Mario Austin (Mississippi State), Matt Bonner (Florida), Tommy Smith (Arizona State); 2004: Jackson Vroman (Iowa State); 2006: LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas); 2009: Taj Gibson
WHAT THE BULLS NEED IN A POWER FORWARD
The Bulls have a nice balance offensively and defensively with Boozer and Gibson in the mix. For as well as both fit into the system and their roles, the Bulls really do not have someone who can stretch out a defense. Gibson and Boozer both have range to 18 feet, but it wouldn't hurt to add a big who can hit from beyond the arc, in the same mold as an Ersan Ilyosova or Channing Frye.
Top 11 2012 Draft prospects
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky -- The consensus No. 1 overall pick has the skill set, the upside and the intangibles to be a franchise player for the rebuilding New Orleans Hornets.2. Thomas Robinson, Kansas -- The 6-foot-9 Robinson made a giant leap in his junior season, and was named a first team All-American while averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds.3. John Henson, North Carolina -- More of a project at this point, Henson brings excellent length (7-foot-5 wingspan) and a shot blocking presence. He will need time to progress offensively.4. Terrence Jones, Kentucky -- Jones is one of the more versatile, inside-out forwards in the class. His work ethic is questioned at times, but his skill set is not.5. Perry Jones, Baylor -- One of the most athletic players in the draft, Jones will need some time to perfect his craft at the next level.6. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State -- Injury concerns have him falling down draft boards, potentially out of the lottery,7. Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State -- He made a questionable decision not participating at the NBA Combine, but his athleticism should have him drafted somewhere in the mid-first round.8. Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure -- Nicholson did nothing but put up numbers for the Bonnies, and while he lacks elite athleticism, he could come in and play right away for a team.9. Mike Scott, Virginia -- Overshadowed by the successes of North Carolina and Duke, Scott was a first team All-ACC member after averaging 18.1 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Cavaliers.10. Miles Plumlee, Duke -- Mason's older brother didn't produce much for the Blue Devils, but his ability to grab boards could have him drafted in the second round.11. Drew Gordon, New Mexico -- Seemingly past his troubles at UCLA, Gordon is a face-up forward with good measurables.
ANALYSIS
Davis and Robinson will be off the board five picks into the draft, at most, while Henson could go as early as No. 9 to the Detroit Pistons. As is the case for the Bulls at point guard, Gar Forman and John Paxson most likely would not move up into the lottery to go after a front court player.
But if they are serious about taking the best player available, a player such as Moultrie, Nicholson or even Sullinger (depending on how serious teams think his muscle condition is) could be available.
Either way, it's unlikely the Bulls go searching for a power forward with the No. 29 pick. With too many needs on the perimeter, and Boozer and Gibson locked in for next year there are simply too many other routes the Bulls could go with their late first round selection.

ICYMI: The Bears lose a shootout, the Bulls drop their home-opener and the Blackhawks

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ICYMI: The Bears lose a shootout, the Bulls drop their home-opener and the Blackhawks

It was a busy weekend for Chicago sports fans, from the Bulls' home-opener, to two Blackhawks games and a shootout at Soldier Field between the Bears and Patriots.

Bears

The Bears came a yard away on a Hail Mary pass from forcing overtime, ultimately losing a 38-31 shootout to the Patriots and showing they still have much to prove. Mitchell Trubisky said that there is a new standard and that coming up short is not good enough anymore.

While Trubisky's accuracy was uneven Sunday, he showed continued development, throwing for 300+ yards for the third straight game. He also scored on a nifty eight-yard rushing touchdown in which he covered 71.9 yards of distance.

While the Bears struggled to contain the Patriots' offense and recorded just one sack, the defense is still confident in the unit and team overall. 

Bulls

Off the court, Denzel Valentine suffered a setback on his injured left ankle and will be reevaluated in two weeks. On the court, the Bulls' defense cost them Saturday against the Pistons, but especially late on Ish Smith's game-winning basket for the Pistons.

With Kris Dunn on paternity leave, the Bulls signed guard Shaquille Harrison and waived center Omer Asik. The move comes on the heels of Fred Hoiberg saying potential lineup changes are "still up in the air." 

The Bulls also announced three broadcasters that will call the first five road games minus-longtime play-by-play man Neil Funk. Funk is cutting 20 road games from his schedule this season.

Blackhawks

Corey Crawford picked up his first win since Dec. 17, 2017, leading the Blackhawks to victory in vintage fashion. The Blackhawks were outshot 28-15 through two periods, and Crawford stood tall en route to a 4-1 Blackhawks' win.

Following his return from a major injury, the Blackhawks will monitor Crawford's workload moving forward. 

Meanwhile, in Columbus, Blue Jackets forward Anthony Duclair regrets not making the most of his stint with the Blackhawks last season. Also, the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks are both experiencing challenges as a result of the Brandon Saad-Artemi Panarin trade from last summer.

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they set an NHL record and tied a franchise record (confusing, we know) by allowing 33 shots on goal during the second period Sunday. The Blackhawks ultimately fell 6-3, though Alexandre Fortin scored his first career NHL goal in the process.

Glanville: Fall to Spring - A player’s offseason changes meaning with each changing season

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USA TODAY

Glanville: Fall to Spring - A player’s offseason changes meaning with each changing season

A few weeks after the we (the Cubs) were eliminated from the 2003 playoffs, I got a phone call from my college professor. Since it was officially the off-season, I was in the early stages of a break from following a pocket schedule to tell me where to be every day for nearly eight months.

But this was a man I could not refuse. I chose my college major to go into his field of transportation engineering and he was calling because he needed a teaching assistant to accompany him on his trip to South Africa.

One minute I could barely move off of my couch in my Chicago apartment after losing Game 7 against the Marlins. The next minute, I would be standing within miles of the Southern most point in Africa at the Cape of Good Hope. Why not? I needed the distraction so I agreed to go.

The offseason is its own transition. Leaving the regimen of routine, of batting practice and bus times, to an open ended world that you have to re-learn again. When I finished my first full major league season in 1997, I lived in Streeterville at the Navy Pier Apartments.

That offseason, I decided to stay an extra month in Chicago only to wake up panicked for the first two weeks because I thought I was missing stretch time for a home day game. A major league schedule becomes etched in your DNA after a while.

It is also a time that you get to reflect. The regular season does not give you a moment to really get perspective on what was just accomplished, what it all means, what you would change. I always joked about the T-shirt I wanted to a sell that listed all of the things a major league player figures out during the off-season. From the perfect swing to the ex-girlfriend you need to un-break-up with next week.

It all becomes so clear when a 96 MPH fastball isn’t coming at you.

For years, I would arrange a training program to follow, but I quickly learned that I had to mix it up. There was only so much repetition I could stand in the off-season. So some years, I moved to the site of spring training and worked out early with the staff, other years I found a spot at home where I grew up or wherever I played during the season, to train.

I was single when I played, but now with a family, I have a better understanding of the challenges my teammates would express as they were re-engaging as a daily father again after this long absentee existence.

To keep it fresh and spicy, when I got older in the game, I enrolled in a dance studio and took a winter of dance lessons. Salsa, Foxtrot, Rumba, you name it. On Thursdays we had to dance for an hour straight, changing partners in the room every song change. Dancing with the Stars had nothing on me.

Of course, not every offseason is fun and games. There were years when I wasn’t sure I would have a job the next year, or I was in the throes of a trade rumor. In 1997, I was traded from the Cubs to the Phillies two days before Christmas. In 2002, my father passed away on the last game of the season, leading the offseason to be a time of mourning.

By my final season in 2005, I thought I was officially on my couch forever. I was going to fade away into oblivion like many players do. No fanfare, the phone just would stop ringing and I would just let the silence wash over me. The Yankees had called earlier in that off-season, acting like they were doing me a favor which I turned down, then they called back later with a more open tone, seeing me as a potential key piece in their outfield with Bernie Williams slowing down quite a bit at that point.

I did get off that couch for that call, only to get released the last week of camp, so I was back on the couch, with a fiancé and some extra salt in the wounds after that final meeting with Brian Cashman and Joe Torre, who boxed me into the coaches office to tell me I was released. Released? Come on. Never had that happen before.

The Cubs players will go through all of this if they have the good fortune of playing a long time. The wave of uncertainty, the meaning of age in this game spares no one. Each offseason is a time to reset, a period where you get away, seemingly adrift from the game, then as spring gets closer, the shoreline comes up in the horizon once again, magnetically drawing you to its shores for another season.

Amazingly, you don’t always know your age and what it has done to your body. 34 can’t be that old, right? I can still run, or throw 95. Then those 23-year-olds in camp are the wake up call, or maybe you are that 23-year-old and can’t believe your locker is next to Ryne Sandberg’s.

Then you blink, and you are advising Jimmy Rollins about etiquette and realize you have become that guy, the seasoned vet, preaching about locker room respect.

For the 2018 Cubs, they fell short of their goal to repeat their 2016 magic. Failed to meet their singular destination that meant success over all else. Yet, those who come back for 2019, will not be the same player, the same person, that left the locker room at the close this season. They will have grown, changed, aged, wizened up, rehabbed, hardened. All of which means that new perspective is the inevitable part of this time off, whether you like it or not.

Baseball is a game that has this unique dynamic. The highest intensity rhythm of any sport. Every day you are tested. You are pushed to the brink by sheer attrition. According to my teammate Ed Smith, who was playing third base at the time when Michael Jordan reached third, Jordan, after playing well over 100 games in a row, said to him “Man, I have never been this tired in my entire life.”

The grind.

Then it stops on a dime. Season over. Only on baseball’s terms.

But you may be granted another spring. Another crack at it. Until one day, the baseball winter never ends and its time for you to plant your own spring.