Bulls

Is Brewer ready for the starting role?

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Is Brewer ready for the starting role?

We all know that the Bulls are in need of and should pursue a shooting guard, but what about Ronnie Brewer?

Brewer wants a shot at the starting role, considering he showed up to training camp healthier than last year when he suffered with a sore hamstring.

"Last year, I was a little unhealthy," Brewer told the Chicago Tribune. "Not that I felt like it changed the season because I feel we had a great season and Keith (Bogans) did a phenomenal job, and I did pretty well with the role I had. But now no matter who they bring in or if they bring Keith back, it's going to be a fight in training camp. We're going to push each other and make each other better at that two spot."

But Brewer wants to be No. 1. Can he handle it? He played a big part in the Bulls' bench mob, but what are his numbers like? Not too far off from his fellow guards.

Brewer averaged 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last season. Bogans averaged 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists while Kyle Korver averaged 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

See why we need to upgrade?

Whether Tom Thibodeau thinks he can handle it or not, Brewer is going to put up a fight.

"Whatever we've got to do to win, I'm all about that," he told the Chicago Tribune. "But me as a player, I've got to do everything I possibly can to put myself in a situation where I can go out there and contribute. "

This is when we dip into his free agent competition. The Bulls are ready to shop and Brewer will have to work hard to match up to the possible shooting guards available.

Restricted free agent Arron Afflalo averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 42 percent from the arc. Then we go to Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Marcus Thornton who averages 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from the arc.

Already looking better...

Jason Richardson and Caron Butler are also options but Butler, who was at the Berto Center with the Bulls Thursday, is coming off knee surgery. He averaged 15 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 45 percent from the field and 43.1 percent from the arc.

It's a nice wish, but I feel like Brewer may need some more time. The Bulls will have their eyes open for players bought out with the amnesty clause such as Brandon Roy, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon. They'll be bringing in shooting guards the next few days as the free agent frenzy begins Dec. 9.

As for Brewer, "If my number is called, I will be ready," he said. "I feel like Thibs can feel confident wherever he puts me in the game."
Do you think Brewer can handle the starting role? Who do you want to see the Bulls pick up as a shooting guard?

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

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USA Today

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

 

It’s no secret that the Bulls’ season hangs in the balance. At 17-30, the team is at once three games out of a playoff spot and slated ninth in the current lottery standings. 

To hear head coach Jim Boylen and co. tell it, a playoff berth remains the more desirable of those two timelines. But according to Basketball Reference, the Bulls have the third most difficult remaining strength of schedule in the East. And worse, they’ll have to face the (immediate) future without Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and Daniel Gafford.

The loss of Markkanen — the most recent of that group to go down — has tipping point potential. In the Bulls’ first game without him, they mustered just 81 points at home against a swooning Sacramento Kings squad, shooting 8-for-37 from 3-point range in the process. The team’s need for secondary scoring outside of Zach LaVine glared

But, as Boylen has maintained all season, the Bulls are not going to change the way they play. They just need to play better.

“We gotta play faster, we gotta move the ball. I thought we had a couple possessions where the ball stuck. The ball can’t stick. We gotta move it, we gotta drive it,” Boylen said of the loss to the Kings before the Bulls’ Saturday night matchup with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. “I also think we missed some opportunities that we need to make.

“Our margin for error is not great. We have to make the plays we can make and make the shots we can make.”

For now, at least, the starting lineup won’t change (sorry #StartCoby crowd) -- though Boylen said he’ll keep his rotation fluid. As for outside reinforcements being brought in?

“We have not talked about that. Doesn’t mean we won’t,” Boylen said when asked if the Bulls could actually pivot to ‘buying’ at the trade deadline, given their relative proximity to a playoff spot. “We’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of games, and a lot of games, so my focus has been on that.

“I love the guys we have,” he added. “And we’re gonna keep coaching and teaching the guys we have. I’ve got a good group, a coachable group.”

Absent from those adjectives was ‘interchangeable’ but that word has been ever-present in Boylen’s vocabulary through the ups and downs of this season. In his first full year at the helm, his primary goal remains clear.

“Because we’re establishing this system,” Boylen said when asked why, through thick and thin, the team’s playing style hasn’t changed, as it did last season after Boylen was hired. “Last year, we were tearing it down and then establishing it. Now we’re gonna keep establishing it.”

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Reaction to Lauri Markkanen’s injury and loss to Kings

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USA TODAY

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Reaction to Lauri Markkanen’s injury and loss to Kings

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 98-81 loss to the Kings.

1:00 - Reaction to the loss and LaVine getting double-teamed

2:50 - On Jim Boylen saying don’t expect system changes with Markkanen hurt

4:25 - Sabine’s list of things that have happened since the last time the Kings made the playoffs in 2006

5:35 - Viewer comment on LaVine and Coby

6:40 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine

8:00 - On the importance of 1st vs 3rd quarter

9:00 - Viewer comment on possible trades

11:00 - Viewer comment on seeing Bulls without Markkanen

14:30 - On Lauri Markkanen’s hip injury and missing 4-6 weeks

18:40 - Viewer comment asking if Bulls should shut down Markkanen

19:50 - Hey Matt Peck, did you see what DRose did tonight?

21:15 - Viewer comment on what to expect from Lauri when he returns

23:40 - Viewer asking the greatest moment the Outsiders have witnessed

24:55 - On NBA naming the All-Star starters

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: