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.

Why the Bulls should take Charles Bassey with the No. 38 pick

Why the Bulls should take Charles Bassey with the No. 38 pick

This is the first entry in our "8 for 38" series, where will be looking at eight different under-the-radar NBA prospects that the Bulls could snag with their No. 38 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Charles Bassey/ 6’11’’/ 275 lbs./ Freshman/ Western Kentucky  

Bassey is a a well-regarded five-star recruit from Nigeria, who played his college ball at Western Kentucky University. He is a physical force on the court but definitely is a raw prospect at this stage of his development.

Bassey came into the season as an assumed first round talent, however, his stock has dropped after his impressive freshman season still revealed holes in his game that will definitely be exploited at the NBA level. All that being said, he was quite the prospect at WKU.

Strengths:

In his lone season at WKU, Bassey averaged 14.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on 62.7 percent shooting from the field. His impressive double double average was built on his insane dominance inside the paint.

He shot an astounding 77.4 percent on shots at the rim and that number is even higher on non-post up shots around the basket. Bassey has a rudimentary hook shot that he can hit over his left shoulder but his postgame isn’t the hub of his offense. He generates most of his points by finishing on pick-and-rolls and using his faceup game.

Bassey’s physicality leads to him setting hard screens, and when he doesn’t set a hard screen, he slips to the basket quickly where he takes advantage with his soft touch when looking to score. It is tough for help defenders to knock Bassey off his path when he is rolling to the rim, as his immense lower body strength allows him to displace smaller players.

When Bassey faces up from 15-feet and in, he uses the aforementioned soft touch to convert on 40.8 percent of his 2-PT jump shots per Hoop-Math.com. On top of that, he generally has the speed to blow by most big men.

Bassey’s biggest strength from day one in the NBA will be his motor. He clearly gets fired up for big matchups, as he showcased when he dominated Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, who ended up winning the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given by the Basketball Hall of Fame to the country’s best center. In their late December matchup, Bassey helped hold Happ to a very inefficient 20 points on 23 shots.

In that same game Bassey finished with 19 points (7/8 FG, 5/5 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocks. He has arguably had better games, but the all-around versatility showcased in the stat line above is outstanding.

Bassey has flashed the ability to make nice passes before:

Since Bassey’s NBA offense will be centered around pick-and-roll plays, further developing his decision making on the short-roll will be a boon to whatever team drafts him.

On defense, Bassey already shows the ability to be an asset in the right system. When he is allowed to play in a traditional defensive system that has the center dropping back in pick-and-roll coverage, he swallows up shots with his 7-foot-3 wingspan.

Weaknesses:

The gigantic weakness Bassey showcased this season was an inability to function as a switch defender. He was great when it comes to protecting the rim--he averaged 2.4 blocks per game-- but he was consistently beat off the dribble by guards.

Of course it is rare to find any center--let alone a young one--that has the legitimate ability to function at a high-level when it comes to switching on to smaller, faster players. But that is precisely what makes Bassey the exact type of center you can find easily.

This is why a player of his talent level can slip into the second round.

Another big issue for Bassey is hands, or more specifically, the inability to hold on to passes when diving to the rim. As mentioned above, pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop basketball is how Bassey will carve out a niche in the league. But he occasionally struggled to hold on to the ball on throws that many would not even consider to be “tough passes”.

In the above strengths section it is mentioned how Bassey has some untapped potential as a passer, but he will never cash in on that potential if simply possessing the ball is a difficulty for him. He isn’t as explosive as usual if there are multiple defenders crowding him and raking at the ball, which happens often.

Over 1,067 minutes Basey amassed 24 assists as compared to a whopping 97 turnovers.

Long term outlook:

I believe Bassey will have a long NBA career due to his finishing in the paint and ability to block shots.

Bassey ran roughshod over his mostly Conference USA opposition on the season.

His 62.7 percent shooting from the field and 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes were a few of the many things that showed that Bassey is at least ready for the physicality of the NBA.

But to become much more than a solid journeyman center, Bassey will have to hone his perimeter jump shot to the point that he can become a solid 3-point threat. He shot 45 percent on a very limited 20 attempts from 3-point range and converted on 76.9 percent of his free throws, an enticing set of numbers that show the type of player he could be in the future.

Whether or not Robin Lopez stays, the Bulls will be short on center depth next season.  After Wendell Carter Jr. went down for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, we saw the Bulls play ultra-small lineups that got beat up on the glass often as Jim Boylen was still reluctant to play Felicio more than 15 minutes per game.

Adding a high-upside prospect like Bassey helps Boylen and co. avoid over-using lineups with Lauri Markkanen at center, which helps keep Markkanen fresh and theoretically improves the overall team defense. 

From one GOAT to another: "Greatest comeback I've ever seen"

michaeljordan_1920_woods.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

From one GOAT to another: "Greatest comeback I've ever seen"

 

Michael Jordan is no stranger to amazing comebacks.

The man widely agreed upon to be the greatest player of all time, won six NBA Championships, with three of them coming after a full season sabbatical in which he played minor league baseball with the White Sox affiliate. And of course, MJ had his even later comeback with the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003, in which the year 40-year old Jordan averaged 21.2 PPG over two seasons to close out his career.

That is why Jordan’s effusive praise of Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters victory should not be taken lightly in the greater context of sports history.

In an article written by The Athletic’s David Aldridge, Jordan talks about how he holds Woods’ 2019 Masters win in extremely high regard, calling it “the greatest comeback I've ever seen."

Jordan, a famously avid golfer himself and a friend of Woods, stated, “I’ve been a fan for I don’t know how long.....I never thought he’d get back physically.....He didn’t think he’d get back physically.”

Major success had escaped Woods--who only had one victory in 2018--due to a litany of back injuries and subsequent surgeries.

With Woods having a major victory under his belt for the 2019 season, he certainly has momentum rolling in his favor. That momentum could carry Woods to another major run of PGA Tour success, and MJ agreed that Woods’ belief in himself was perhaps the biggest factor in his 2019 Masters win.

“No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He's probably the only person who believed he could get back.”