Bulls

Bulls Producing Wins Despite Constant Changes

Bulls Producing Wins Despite Constant Changes

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010
6:03 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLISPrior to tonights game against the Pacers, Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro updated the assembled media about Joakim Noahs plantar fasciitis treatment, as the teams starting center didnt make the trip to Indiana after playing 27 minutes in last nights overtime home win over Portland.

Everything went well, as planned, and now hes just got to hopefully have a good reaction to all the treatment hes having, said Del Negro, who suffered from the same injury during his own playing days. I dont know if theres been a perfect plan. I could have played him a little bit more against Indiana and Philadelphia, then let him rest a little bit because we needed him against Portland. I played him probably a few too many minutes against Portland, but he wasnt going to play in the back-to-back to kind of monitor it.

Hes going to be out for a couple days, for sure. Hell miss a few games here, which was kind of planned. Were just trying to figure out the best attack for this. Hes going to have some pain once in a while; hopefully we can minimize that with the treatments and all the different modalities that theyre doing, he continued. Its a very difficult injury to figure out. You can play five minutes and have pain, you can play 20 and have pain, you can play 30 and not have anything. Its got to be managed. I know hes feeling a little bit better today with the treatment he had, so hopefully thats a step in the right direction, but its going to be a little bit of time.

Del Negro also addressed Luol Dengs knee, expecting the small forward to play after complaining of soreness after last nights game. As far as the actual matchup tonight, Del Negro believes a focal point is defending Indianas three-point shooting attack and smaller lineups.

We have to have energy, get to the shooters, run them off the three and be efficient in our transition game, said Del Negro. Well try to utilize some of our size up front when we can.

Theres a fine line. Depending on what were doing, posting up and taking advantage of our size up front, compared to what theyre doing in transition. Really, foot speed is a factor, he continued. We just have to be smart about when to attack them inside and also match up with the speed of their personnel.

Del Negro continues to have high regard for newcomer Hakim Warrick, whose acquisition has proven even more valuable with Noahs injury issues.

Hes so athletic, hes long, he runs the court well. We can go to him a little bit in the post, but he has a good feel for the game, observed Del Negro. When youre that athletic, that long, you can do things around the basket and make it look easy.

Pacers head coach Jim OBrien, a Philadelphia native, also is aware of Warricks potential impact, as well as the Bulls addition of Flip Murray, another Philadelphian.

I think Flip Murray is a good pickup. Hes a scoring machine off the bench, said OBrien. Warrick is a very live body and with Noah having been out with the foot problem for an extended period of time and now that they traded Tyrus Thomas, its a good fill-in for them.

OBrien has also noticed the gradual improvement of the Bulls over the course of the season.

Theyre scoring a lot of points, it starts with that. In transition, we need to make sure if you shoot the basketballif youre not sprinting to the offensive glass, then youre sprinting back to half courtso Derrick Rose is not one-on-one in the open floor, said OBrien. Then, you have to get out and challenge Deng and Hinrich.

You have to make sure Brad Miller doesnt get off, he continued. Theyve got a lot weapons. Taj Gibson has had a remarkably strong year for a rookie. Theyre a tough team to handle.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.