Bulls prepared to avoid repeat against Hawks


Bulls prepared to avoid repeat against Hawks

After a frustration-filled loss to the Phoenix Suns last Saturday that dropped their home record to 10-10, the Bulls will try to turn things around tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Bulls are ready to come out fighting after suffering a 17-point loss when the two teams met last month.

The situation was eerily similar to what happened with (last Saturdays loss to Phoenix), coach Tom Thibodeau said. The night before, we had beaten New York on the road and we went down. You cant be looking backwards in the league. You have to know exactly whats in front of you. We actually played well in the first quarter of the game, we were up four and we let our guard down and we got hurt in the second quarter. You have to be a 48 minute team.

Thibodeau and the players took individual and collective ownership after their poor showing at home against Phoenix, and while most may be concerned with the poor home record after being 62-12 in the Thibodeau era before this season the focus for the team centers on its approach to each game, whether viewed marquee or not.

Obviously were disappointed with (the home record), but I dont want it to change how we have to approach each and every day, Thibodeau said. You cant get caught looking backwards and not focusing on exactly whats in front of you right now, which is improvement, being ready to play and understanding how you win. Thats where I want our focus to be, on making the necessary steps that we need to make to improve so that we can be successful.

"I think when the result is not what you want it to be, there could be frustration that creeps in, he continued. I think its important to focus in on the necessary things that you have to do in order to win. Poise under pressure is very important, but making the necessary steps to correct how were playing is the most important thing right now.

Im concerned that were making some of the same mistakes that we made earlier in the year. I want the focus back on our improvement, day by day. I want us to understand how we win and the commitment necessary to win.

The Hawks sit one game ahead of the Bulls in the standings at 21-15, but have lost six of their last eight games.

It would seem a perfect opportunity for the Bulls to redeem themselves at home, but Thibodeau knows whats ahead of them.

Theyre one of the best teams in the East, Thibodeau said of Atlanta. They have a lot of weapons. They can break you down off penetration, their bigs are highly skilled, (Kyle) Korver gives them a great shooter that spreads the floor. He makes everyone on the team better because of the attention you have to give to him, that creates space for players. We have to be ready.

Report: Bulls sign former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins to two-way contract


Report: Bulls sign former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins to two-way contract

A report on Sunday from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports indicated that the Bulls have agreed to a two-way contract with former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins. 

The 6'5'' guard was a teammate of Lauri Markkanen on the 2017 Wildcats, and many expected him to be a potential lottery pick after showing off the all-around skill set that also made him the top player in the state of New York in high school.

After going undrafted, Alkins played for the Toronto Raptors Summer League team, where he put up 9 points, 4.67 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. In the six  Las Vegas Summer League games he played in, Alkins shot poor from the field (37 percent) and the free throw line (62.5 percent), but he knocked down his 3-pointers, shooting 43.9 percent on a healthy 3.5 attempts from deep per game. 

There is an obvious fit on the Bulls for a player like Alkins. He was a career 36.5 percent 3-point shooter in his two college seasons, and has the physical profile of a great wing defender at the NBA-level. Alkins has a 6'9'' wingspan, and at a listed 220 lbs., it is easy to see him having the potential to guard four-to-five different positions on the floor. At this stage of the rebuild, the Bulls could really use as many of the coveted "3-and-D" wings as they can get. And there are some, like, The Ringer's Chris Vernon, who think that Alkins has the potential to become a glue guy.

Alkins will be a fan favorite wherever he plays. You want a Marcus Smart, Tony Allen, or P.J. Tucker–type player when you need a big play in a big game. I see that with Alkins.

-The Ringer's Chris Vernon 

The nature of the two-way contract means that Bulls fans will to catch some Windy City Bulls games to see Alkins in action. But much like Antonio Blakeney last season, we could see Alkins make an instant impact in the G League and get a call-up sooner than later, especially if the Bulls decide to move on from veteran Justin Holiday.

Either way, the pick up is a shrewd move by the Bulls front office. Alkins is a well-rounded, defense-first player who will be joining a young roster overstocked with scoring talent, but thin on defenders capable of guarding on the perimeter or executing a switching defense at a high level.

Jabari Parker and Tyler Ulis shine at open run in Chicago


Jabari Parker and Tyler Ulis shine at open run in Chicago

Jabari Parker is looking forward to what will surely be an intriguing season for he and the Chicago Bulls.

Parker signed a two-year, $40 million contract, that essentially acts as a tryout for the Bulls. The second year of the contract is a team option, meaning should things not go well, the organization can cut ties with him. But after 183 career games with the Bucks over four seasons, it was clear that Parker was in need of a fresh start. In Chicago, he will slide in as the day one starting small forward, and is already paid like a player who is definitely appreciated by his organization.

But with all of the off the court stuff taken care of for now, Parker's main focus is getting in to the best shape of his life, as he prepares for a full season as a wing player. 

Part of Parker's preparation was a great pickup game in downtown Chicago organized by the Chicago Basketball Club.

For Bulls fans itching to get a look at Parker on the court, the video shows off some flashy passing ability, impressive handles and a flurry of pull-up jumpers from the 23-year old forward. He also finishes well in transition in the video, though that is to be taken with a grain of salt as Parker was easily the biggest player on the court. 

Other players in the pickup game included former Simeon teammate of Parker's, Kendrick Nunn; and NBA free agent and former Marion Catholic star Tyler Ulis (a possible Bulls target?). If Parker looks as dynamic against NBA competition as he did in the pickup game below, the Bulls are going to have one of the more valuable contracts in the league in 2020, and would be likely to lock up Parker to a long-term deal.