Bulls, Wizards have little in common


Bulls, Wizards have little in common

The Bulls' opponent Wednesday night at the United Center, the Wizards, share a few commonalities. The two franchises were the only team Michael Jordan ever played for and both feature explosive point guards who were former No. 1 overall draft picks after being coached in college for a season by John Calipari. That's where the similarities end.

Washington comes to Chicago with a 1-8 record, following Tuesday night's victory over the Raptors. An awful team last season, their performance was chalked up to youth and being a rebuilding year. But the Wizards have outdone themselves this season, as head coach Flip Saunders has basically accused the team of not playing hard or paying attention to scouting reports on opponents, while the players have admitted to playing too much one-on-one basketball.

John Wall, their second-year point guard, has been accused of regressing in his sophomore campaign. I've known Wall since he was an unknown high-school prospect, so I'm admittedly biased, but I know his work ethic (and witnessed it last summer, as he gallivanted across the country in search of competition and workouts to improve his game) and competitive spirit. Clearly, some of the blame has to fall upon his shoulders, as the organization's franchise player and starting point guard, but the Wizards' lack of veteran leadership (reserve swingmen Mo Evans and Roger Mason are quality role players and solid locker-room presences, but it's hard to make your opinion heard when you don't get the opportunity to impact the outcome of game's much) is severely lacking and with Andray Blatche and Nick Young, holdovers from a past, undisciplined and selfish era still aboard, Wall isn't exactly getting great mentoring on a daily basis.

Saunders appears to have lost his team already and will probably follow ouster Kings head coach Paul Westphal as the next NBA coach to be fired, but at least some of the fallout should affect the status of team general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who presided over the rise and fall of the organization in the wake of former All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas' fall from grace. While Grunfeld wasn't allowed to have contact with Wizards players during the lockout, it seems that he was wholly unprepared to make moves that could benefit the organization.

For example, it was well-known that Young, a restricted free agent, wanted out of Washington and one of the team's midseason acquisitions last year, fellow shooting guard Jordan Crawford, looked ready to fill the void, based on a solid end to his rookie campaign. But after other teams showed little to no interest in Young, the Wizards brought him back for his fourth season on a qualifying offer, a move that likely disappointed Young because of the financial ramifications and also won't help the team, as the noted gunner, in a second consecutive contract season, will likely stunt Crawford's development and focus on his individual success at the expense of a team he didn't want to return to.

Then, you have Blatche, who is certainly talented, but hasn't come close to living up to his multi-year contract extension, obtained after a breakout season and preceded by an offseason weight gain and injury. Another promising player, JaVale McGee -- Chicago fans might remember him from his late-game attempts to get a triple-double in the waning moments of a blowout loss against the Bulls last season -- is a rare true center and an athletic freak, whose pure athleticism rivals that of Dwight Howard's, hasn't developed much over his young career.

It isn't yet a lost cause for Wall or the Wizards -- rookies Chris Singleton and athletic Euro big man Jan Vesely both have potential, while second-year players Crawford and workhorse power forward Trevor Booker have excellent motors, if some limitations, and although it's hard to see a high-profile free agent signing with a team so down in the dumps, stranger things have happened to teams with cap space -- but with the direction the team is going in, they'll already have a great shot at the No. 1 overall pick in a loaded upcoming draft, so now is the time to clean house. Saunders is unlikely to finish the season in Washington, but Grunfeld should follow him out of the door and either the remaining personnel staff or whoever is hired to run their basketball operations needs to quickly evaluate who, besides Blatche and Young, doesn't deserve to stay.

But while hope springs eternal, it's unlikely to shine through for the Wizards at the United Center, as a focused Bulls team, even in the third game of their only back-to-back-to-back of the season, won't look to let up after seeing another young team in the Timberwolves, nearly shock them Tuesday night in Minnesota. One thing is for certain, though: when Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson talk about how miserable it was to be a .500 team and barely sneak into the playoffs as an eighth seed just a couple of years ago, all they have to do Wednesday is look at the visitors' bench to know the definition of real misery.

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young invited to USA Basketball training camp for 2019 FIBA World Cup

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young invited to USA Basketball training camp for 2019 FIBA World Cup

Thaddeus Young could don one more different jersey before he hits the court with the Bulls for the first time.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Young has been invited to participate in USA Basketball's training camp roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Team USA has seen several star NBA players withdraw their name for consideration from the team in recent days, including Wizards guard Bradley Beal and 76ers forward Tobias Harris. Thus, there is at least a small chance that Young makes the final roster, which would be the fourth-straight World Cup in which a Bull plays for Team USA

Derrick Rose donned the stars and stripes in both 2010 and 2014, following Kirk Hinrich in 2006 and Jay Williams in 2002. Perhaps Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be the next player to receive an invite?

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Report: Bulls to hire Damian Cotter as Windy City head coach


Report: Bulls to hire Damian Cotter as Windy City head coach

The Windy City Bulls are expected to name Damian Cotter their head coach, according to 2 Ways & 10 Days' Adam Johnson.

The Bulls were in search of a replacement for Charlie Henry, who took an assistant coaching role at Alabama University in April after two seasons with Windy City.

Cotter spent last season as an assistant with the Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards' G-League affiliate. In 2018, Cotter was an assistant for the Long Island Nets, the Brooklyn Nets' G-League affiliate. Cotter, an Australian native, has also coached the NBL's Sydney Kings both as an assistant (2013-14) and head coach (2014-15). He has also coached U-19 men's and women's teams in Australia.

Coaching turnover isn't rare in the G-League, and Windy City is no exception. Cotter will become the team's third different head coach in four seasons since the team was founded in 2016. Nate Loenser, now an assistant under Jim Boylen and the coach of the Bulls' 2019 Summer League team, was Windy City's inaugural head coach.

Windy City enjoyed their first winning season in 2019, going 27-23 under Henry and bowing out in the first round of the postseason to the Westchester Knicks.

Myriad injuries to the NBA's Bulls meant that a half dozen Windy City alums saw time on the United Center floor at the end of last season. Those players included Walt Lemon, Jakarr Sampson, Brandon Sampson, Ryan Arcidiacono, Rawle Alkins and Cristiano Felicio.