Bulls

Knicks legend talks old rivalry, beginning of new one

Knicks legend talks old rivalry, beginning of new one

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
2:20 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEW YORKPrior to Saturdays Bulls-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, CSNChicago.com caught up with Knicks legend John Starksa central figure in the Chicago-New York rivalry of the 1990s and now v\: behavior:url(defaultVML);o\: behavior:url(defaultVML);w\: behavior:url(defaultVML);.shape behavior:url(defaultVML);st1\:behavior:url(defaultieooui) the Knicks' Alumni Relations and Fan Development Adviso--to talk about the new budding rivalry, the Knicks revival, his thoughts on the Bulls potential, his influence on some of Chicagos current players and his memories of that era, including former teammate Kurt Thomas and one of his assistant coaches in New York, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
CSNChicago.com: Its not the same as when you guys had the rivalry, but do you see it developing into that type of thing, since both teams are young?
John Starks: If both teams continue to have success, thats the main thing when you try to create rivalries. Both teams have to be on top of their games. Obviously it hasnt been that way for a minutefor usand Chicago, over the last couple of years, has been starting to get it back. As we continue to have that type of success, it will continue to create that type of potential of a good rivalry.
CSNChicago.com: What are your thoughts about the Knicks revival this year?

John Starks: Oh, its been very good, very positive. The guys have been responding this year. Obviously bringing in Amarea true superstarand bringing in Raymond Felton, a very solid point guard thats capable of running the team and making big plays and hitting big shots, it means so much. And then, the development of Wilson Chandler, as well as Gallinari, has been a very rewarding feeling for us as an organization. Then, youre talking about Landry Fields, whos been a big, big bonus, coming in here and doing what hes doing, makes a big difference in how this team is playing.
CSNChicago.com: Can you pinpoint anybody on this rosternot necessarily of yourself, game-wisebut the heart that you played with, the toughness?

John Starks: Raymond Felton comes to mind. Hes that type of player. Hes a kid that that won a national championship before in college and has been trying to prove himself since he got in the league. He had a lot of success last year with the Charlotte Bobcats, leading them to the playoffs. He really reminds me of myself.

CSNChicago.com: As far as the BullsI dont know how much youve had a chance to watch them; obviously Derrick Rose is the guy everybody talks aboutbut youve got guys like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, they talk about growing up in New York and watching you play. How much does that mean to you that guysand theyre even big menthey got inspired by you?
John Starks: You know, it means a lot. Those are two very talented young players that you mentioned and to see them progress in this league and the way they come in and work, its kind of like a throwback to the old-school players. Guys that really appreciate the opportunity of playing in this league and they go out there and try to improve year after year. You talk about Joakim, when he came in, he wasnt really that highly thought of as a very solid big man, but he has developed his game over the years. And when you talk about Taj, hes proving himself year after year. So, it means a lot to the league when you have young players like that, that are committed.

CSNChicago.com: The Bulls in general, where do you see them this year, as far as their ceiling or moving forward even, what they can do as far as being an upper-echelon team and making a potential championship run?

John Starks: Its all within the framework of the team itself. Theyve got a good coach in Tom Thibodeau and theyve got good assistant coaches, and I know they have former players that are around the team, so the sky is the limit for those guys. Its just how far within themselves that they want to go.

CSNChicago.com: Did Tom Thibodeau ever coach you here?

John Starks: Tom was my assistant coach. Tom has come a long way and Im glad to see he got an opportunity to be a head coach, and hes doing a fabulous job with a good, young team in Chicago. Thats a credit to him and his work ethic, and what hes learned over the years coaching under Doc Rivers and then under Jeff Van Gundy. Guys like that paid their dues and then when they get the opportunity, they have to take advantage of it and hes showing that hes a very qualified coach.
CSNChicago.com: Is it crazy to still see Kurt Thomas out here?
John Starks: Yeah, it is a little crazy, but like I say, hes a throwback to the old-school days and guys like that understand what it means to be in this league and they work at it. If youre a big man and youre working hard like that, you can stay in this league because they need guys like him with his experience to help with the young players, so its good to see that hes still kicking the tires.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's 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.

NBA Power Rankings: MVP race heating up

mvp-race.jpg
USA TODAY

NBA Power Rankings: MVP race heating up

We are almost 30 games into the 2018-19 NBA regular season and the true contenders have started to seperate themselves from the pack.

The Raptors, Bucks and Sixers have been locked into a three-way race as the likely candidates for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Celtics and Pacers gaining on them.

Out West, the entire conference is jumbled together with improved contenders popping up left and right, but the Warriors juggernaut appears  to be back on track. Strong MVP candidates have shaped the league this season and chief among them is former unanimous MVP Steph Curry. He has only played in 16 of their 27 games but has been absolutely astonishing when he has played.

The Warriors are a great team without Curry and a transcendent one with him. He is averaging 29 PPG, 5 APG and 5 RPG while shooting a career-best 51 percent from the field. Curry turned in a 42-point masterpiece in their recent win over the Cavaliers, and 20 points and 8 assists in a big win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.


The Bucks followed up that loss to the World Champion Warriors with a 5-point win over the Raptors. In the win, Milwaukee’s MVP candidate--Giannis Antetokounmpo--racked up 19 points, 19 rebounds and 6 assists and helped hold Kawhi Leonard to 8-18 shooting.


Even with the loss, Toronto is still in the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the play of Leonard is the driving force behind their league-leading 21 wins. And the other teams closing in on their record that haven’t been mentioned all have legitimate MVP hopefuls, sans the Clippers and Pacers, who have relied on an offense-by committee.

LeBron James—for once in his career—will actually be a dark-horse for MVP should the Lakers continue to sit in the lower half of the playoff race, fighting for seeds No.5 through No. 8. But his season can’t be ignored. James is leading the Lakers in points (28), assists (6), rebounds (7), and steals (1) per game. While Tyson Chandler and Javale McGee have been the key to the Lakers great defense, James has almost single-handedly elevated the Lakers offense to 15th in the league in offensive efficiency.

The Lakers will be a dangerous playoff team should they qualify, and it would be another reminder of the transformative power that James can have on a franchise.

We have big NBA games this week--more so in the West--that will suss out the MVP race a bit more. The Trail Blazers go up against the Grizzlies in Memphis, the Jazz take on the Magic in Mexico City, Nuggets play the Thunder in Denver and there is also a Lakers-Rockets rematch that features two squads that got into a very heated battle the last time they faced off.

The No. 8 seed is 8 games back of 1st place in the East, and a mere 3.5 games back of 1st place in the West, signifying just how tightly contested the 2018-19 season has been. See how the parity-filled league hierarchy shakes out in our latest Power Rankings, right here.

REPORT: Bulls players contacted the NBPA due to 'extreme tactics' from Jim Boylen

REPORT: Bulls players contacted the NBPA due to 'extreme tactics' from Jim Boylen

In a story published by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, it was stated that Bulls players reached out to the National Basketball Players Association on Sunday to protest what they felt were “extreme tactics” from new head coach Jim Boylen.

Boylen has made headlines from the start of his tenure as head coach, solidifying his stature as the former “bad cop” to Fred Hoiberg’s “good cop” through lengthy practices and questioning the team’s toughness and intensity.

Boylen has made his coaching style widely-known and shows no plans to change his hard-nosed ways, though Goodwill’s story says that sources told Yahoo Sports that Boylen felt that substituting out all five players at once was extreme in the moment. He initially pulled out all five players after going down 17-0 against the Celtics, and did it again after a 5-3 run by Boston in the second half that definitely seemed like an odd time to pull all five starters.

A telling excerpt from Goodwill’s piece was:

Players felt like they were being treated like high school athletes and those feelings of disrespect escalated when Boylen told the media the players needed to get in better shape, sources said.

Some of the disconnect seems to be stemming from what is being set forth as reasonable expectations. In Goodwill's piece it is stated that Boylen referenced his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs when speaking to the team, and it seems that some of the players are tired of hearing about his connections to the storied franchise:

A player responded, sources said, telling Boylen in essence that they aren’t the Spurs and, more importantly, he isn’t Popovich.

This year is about the development of the Bulls young talent as they likely prepare for another lottery pick. And now any meaningful development is in jeopardy, with so much drama now surrounding the team.

The main issue with firing Fred Hoiberg was always the awkward timing, and things appear to be getting much worse as it is clear there is some disconnect between Boylen and this roster.

A point that Boylen has tried to emphasize multiple times is that the players need to trust him. But with a reported (and unorthodox) directly-after-the-game film session, multiple 2+ hour practices and the aforementioned 5-man substitution in the blowout loss to Boston, it is clear that it will be hard for the players to fully trust him until they are on the same page as far as what both sides—Boylen and the players—expect from each other.