Bulls

Jabari Parker will be a great addition, as long as the team comes first

Jabari Parker will be a great addition, as long as the team comes first

"No comment."

These were the words of Jabari Parker following the media addressing him about if he was willing to accepting any role, referring to him coming off the bench, as he did in Chicago's blowout win over the Pacers on Wednesday.

This is disappointing, but it won't be a lingering issue as long as all parties involved move forward with clarity.

It is OK for Parker to be upset with coming off the bench, a player confident in himself should want to be a starter. And coming off of two ACL surgeries, Parker came to Chicago hoping to get an opportunity to be a huge part of the Bulls young core. Through four preseason games, Parker has yet to shoot near even 40 percent from the field. But with such a small body of work, no one is saying the Bulls should give up on Parker.

Four preseason games obviously don't mean a ton, and after four seasons in the league he is still just 23 years old. But Parker needs to realize the great opportunity he has ahead of him, and make the best of the situation. The Bulls may have overpaid a little bit, but it's OK since they had the money. But it's not like Parker had a ton of suitors to choose from. He should move forward viewing this 2-year, $40 million contract with the Bulls as a tryout for the whole league.

Let's think about what Bobby Portis has said in the past regarding coming off the bench versus what Parker has said publicly. Portis is a player who is very productive on the floor, and could be starting for many teams in the league. He, much like Parker, has had roadblocks in his career but has not let them affect his work ethic or attitude. Even after the aftermath of the Nikola Mirotic incident that saw Portis become a constant bench fixture made the statement: "I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like to score the ball? That’s a fun gig,” Parker doesn't have to make statements about being thrilled with a possible 6th man role, but saying "no comment" to such a direct question is simply unacceptable.

One of the things you are taught early on as an NBA player is to never say "no comment". You are allowing anyone who is not you—be it friends, family, media or otherwise—to control the narrative by commenting for you.

The Jabari Parker signing was never about just Parker, it's about him meshing his talents with the current roster to breed long-term cohesiveness. While Parker has not shot the ball well, he and the team as a whole did play better against Indiana. And that type of improvement is what has been expected from day one. With players this young, the Bulls front office is hoping to see a gradual increase in improvement on a steady basis. The inconsistency has to go away.

But remember, this is not necessarily a huge deal. Parker is an extremely talented player, and we have yet to see how he performs once the real games begin. If Parker is again asked how he feels about coming off the bench, being honest is going to be the best practice. For this Bulls team to reach their full potential this season, Parker will need to bring along his unique blend of shot-creating, playmaking and rebounding ability. Whether he comes of the bench or starts, the sky's the limit for Parker.

It is simply up to him to run with the opportunity.

Report: ESPN moving release of 'The Last Dance' documentary on 1998 Bulls to April

Report: ESPN moving release of 'The Last Dance' documentary on 1998 Bulls to April

It's happening. We did it.

Monday night, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that ESPN is moving up the release date of 'The Last Dance,' the highly anticipated 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Bulls, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Marchand, the new start date will be April 19. Until now, the docuseries was billed as being released some time in June.

Some writing had been on the wall that this might be coming. In mid-March, commercials for 'The Last Dance' began advertising the series as 'Coming Soon' instead of 'Coming in June.' ESPN shortly thereafter dismissed rumors of the release date moving up — saying the documentary had yet to be completed — only to be indirectly contradicted by LeBron James and (ESPN employee) Richard Jefferson on the Road Trippin' podcast late last week.

Now, it's nearly official. Marchand reported that ESPN is planning to announce the new release date on Good Morning America Tuesday morning.

So rejoice, Bulls fans and sports lovers, at large. It won't replace the entirety of the void left by the halting of live sports, but this series is sure to be essential, enthralling TV, and as close as the sports world get to a monocultural event under the current parameters.

And above all, what a win for NBA Twitter. They keep rolling in.

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.

Bulls observations: The full Dennis Rodman experience sends Knicks packing

Bulls observations: The full Dennis Rodman experience sends Knicks packing

The Knicks are hitting the links and the Bulls are going to the Eastern Conference Finals. Observations:

A splendid series for Dennis Rodman

This series felt like the full Dennis Rodman experience, and it was delightful. In terms of production, he averaged 15.6 rebounds (4.8 offensive) across five games and dished two game-swinging assists to close out Game 4 at The Garden. As a team, the Bulls were +39 on the boards (winning the offensive glass 84-45) in the series.

In the clincher, Rodman posted 11 points and 12 rebounds — relatively pedestrian by his standards. But he was omnipresent throughout nonetheless, a whirlwind of limbs careening into every rebound scrum, passing lane and screen set. His swagger and unbridled joy for the game were on full display, too:

 

 

Every foul call (there were six in this one, plus an ejection) drew a performance. Every bump from a Knicks player elicited subtle retaliation. And every move he made was met by raucous cheers from the home crowd. Chicago really loved Rodman, and he earned it every time he stepped on the floor.

It all culminated with a litany of peak Dennis moments in the fourth quarter. With just over four minutes left to play, he leapt down the floor and into Luc Longley’s arms after a fastbreak Longley dunk that he assisted put the Bulls up 13. Moments later, he sealed the game for good with a layup to similar celebration (this time, Ron Harper got the hug). 

And the coups de gras: With about a minute left and the game out of reach, he picked up a suspect second technical (which led to an ejection) after he had committed a sixth personal foul. A fiery exit and impassioned jersey chuck into the frenzied UC stands capped it off. All in a day’s work for The Worm. His evolution from fierce rival to beloved anti-hero is truly something to behold.

 

Unfortunately, NBC Sports Chicago wasn’t able to get the reel from this game’s ‘Walk of Shame’ but we’re sure it was as entertaining as ever after this one.

“Playing in the mud”

Those were Tom Dore’s words early in the fourth quarter, and boy were they apt. For this game and the entire series. 

Without fail, mid-90s Bulls-Knicks seems to be a recipe for slog. A fistfight where all the blows are contested midrange jumpers and wild elbows. Only once in the series did a team reach 100 points (the Knicks, in Game 3). In this one, the Knicks hit their first 3-pointer with just outside of a minute remaining in the third quarter (finishing 2-for-13 overall). 

Man, how times have changed: 

 

But ultimately, this series amounts to another whooping, one the Knicks appeared noticeably demoralized by the end of. The Bulls’ swagger is just unmatched. We’ve detailed Rodman’s individual exploits, but there really is a collective feeling of inevitability when this team gets rolling, as they did in the second half of this game. Somehow, Michael Jordan’s 36-point average in this series felt under-the-radar, but he was capable of ripping New York’s hearts out seemingly on a whim.  

And beyond even the players, this team’s energy seemed to seep into the city around them. At one point in this game, cameras panned to a fan-posted ‘Title Ticker’ on the UC wall, counting down the numbers of wins remaining until another Bulls championship. “Another One Bites the Dust” blared as the Knicks sauntered off, defeated. Even from afar, it’s apparent that this dynasty was a full-city effort.

And another late-series gem, from Johnny “Red” Kerr: 

So long, Knickerbockers.

Passing thoughts

  • Jordan (35 points, 5 assists) and Pippen (15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals) remain absolutely ridiculous. And Ron Harper, who poured in an impactful 12, is still one of my biggest personal revelations from this Rewind run. Couldn’t go this whole post without shouting out their nights.

  • We had a sad, then animated, then sad again Spike Lee make multiple appearances throughout this one. You simply have to respect the grind.

  • Seriously. Bring back the classic Bulls intro theme. I’ll never ask for anything again.

  • Uh, what?

 

See you Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic.

Every other night through April 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing the entirety of the Bulls' 1996 NBA championship run. Find the full schedule here.

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.