Bulls

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine closes out Bulls win vs Grizzlies Bulls Outsiders

bulls_outsiders_podcast_website_listen_now.jpg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine closes out Bulls win vs Grizzlies Bulls Outsiders

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 106-99 win over the Grizzlies.

0:45 - On the Bulls first win streak of the season

2:20 - On Zach LaVine taking over as the team’s closer

5:25 - Viewer comment on Lauri Markkanen being on his way back; discussion on Lauri minutes

10:45 - On Denzel Valentine contributing in meaningful minutes

13:05 - Viewer comment with a different Portillos giveaway suggestion

13:50 - Viewer comment on Satoransky

16:20 - Thoughts on Bulls very blue city edition jerseys

18:30 - Our nightly ‘John makes Big Dave laugh really hard’ moment

19:25 - Viewer comment on concerns over Coby White

21:20 - Viewer comment on Matt breaking multiple mics

22:30 - Viewer comment on Dunn’s defense vs LaVine’s offense

24:15 - On Lebron James not getting called for an obvious travel

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

It's time for the Bulls to free a healthy, eager Denzel Valentine

3-1_denzel_valentine.jpg
USA Today

It's time for the Bulls to free a healthy, eager Denzel Valentine

It’s time for the Bulls to do the right thing and trade Denzel Valentine.

To be clear, this is not the scenario Valentine wanted or envisioned. He enjoys living in Chicago, where his brother, Drew, is an assistant coach for Loyola. He remains respectful of the organization that used the final lottery pick in 2016 on him and would love to represent it on the court.

But that’s the thing: Valentine isn’t playing. Like, at all. And that’s after sitting out an entire season following reconstructive ankle surgery and listening to how much his shooting ability and court vision could help the 2019-2020 Bulls.

It did — for a while.

After logging just 44 total minutes through November and even playing one game in the G League, Valentine averaged 15.5 minutes in 14 December contests. He averaged 7.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.9 steals as the Bulls went 7-7.

Plus, Valentine played with unbridled emotion and joy, and added a swagger that injected some life into a moribund season. Granted, Valentine crossed a line with his first-ever ejection after drawing two technical fouls in a home loss to the Warriors.

But Valentine did what pros are supposed to do: He stayed ready despite inactivity and produced when given the chance.

Look at him now, even. He’s on his feet often during games to cheer on teammates, engaged and enthusiastic, despite knowing whatever playing time comes his way will almost assuredly be mop-up minutes. Perhaps he let some frustration creep into his decision to sit out a Jan. 5 practice with knee soreness; only he knows his body.

But Valentine’s benching remains one of the more mysterious developments of this season. He’s fully healthy, saying recently that his surgically repaired ankle feels great.

When first questioned about Valentine not being in the rotation back on Nov. 11, coach Jim Boylen grew uncharacteristically evasive. Here’s the exchange:

Reporter: Why is [Valentine] out of the rotation?

Boylen: Because I said so.

Reporter: Is there something specific that he needs to improve?

Boylen: I think he needs some seasoning and he needs to play and he needs to grow.

Reporter: Grow in which areas?

Boylen: All areas.

Reporter: Why didn’t you play him at end of the [blowout] Rockets game?

Boylen: Because I didn’t want to.

Boylen has expressed concern to people about Valentine’s lack of explosiveness and athleticism. There likely are defensive concerns, as well. And in Boylen’s defense, he has used a 10-man rotation all season. You can’t play everybody, and somebody will always be looking in from the outside.

But for a team that has emphasized shooting the 3-pointer more consistently, ranking ninth with 35.1 attempts per game, it has always felt odd to see Valentine sit. The Bulls rank 19th at 34.8 percent from 3-point range.

This is a small thing, but making the whole situation even odder is Boylen’s association with Michigan State, where Valentine earned Player of the Year honors. Boylen actually served as an assistant coach for Denzel’s father, Carlton, during his senior season at Michigan State as Boylen began his coaching career as a graduate assistant.

Plus, Tom Izzo, whom Boylen worked with and is close to, loves Denzel Valentine.

Sources said at least one team has expressed interest in Valentine. It’s also possible the Bulls could package Valentine with Thad Young.

Bulls management actually has a history of trying to do the right thing for players as long as it doesn’t harm the future. Think: Honoring Nikola Mirotic’s request for a trade in light of Mirotic’s altercation with Bobby Portis.

It’s time to free Valentine and trade him somewhere he can play. Under Boylen, it’s clearly not here.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

james_wiseman.jpg
USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0