Bulls

Korver has fond memories of time with Bulls

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Korver has fond memories of time with Bulls

ATLANTA After Kyle Korvers Hawks defeated the Bulls at Philips Arena, the season series between the former members of the Bench Mob and the current Bulls now stands at two games apiece.

MORE: Bulls suffer letdown in Atlanta

The elite perimeter threats 13 points, including 3-of-6 shooting from long distance, gave the Bulls their second loss to player who left this offseason, as Omer Asiks Rockets beat them in Houston with the rematch looming at the United Center on Christmas Day and Ronnie Brewers Knicks fell to them twice after Fridays game in New York.

MORE: Do the Bulls have the Knicks' number?

Theres always mixed emotions the first time you play an old team. You want to go out there and play well, for sure. Ive got a lot of great memories of those guys, Korver said afterwards. We fought hard there for two years, man, and you develop relationships with those guys through all that. I think as a team, we really needed tonight. We needed to play well, we needed a win. It also just happened to be against my old team.

His new team isnt too shabby either, as the Hawks have quietly been one of the leagues surprises early in the campaign after dealing All-Star Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in the offseason.

The seasons still young and we still have a lot of growth in us. We have a lot of areas where we can grow a lot, actually. But I think, for the most part, we play really unselfishly and we play really hard, and I think when you combine those two things, especially here in the NBA, good things happen and thats what happened so far for us, Korver explained. Weve had great games, weve had a couple stinkers weve had a couple of them in a row before this game so we have a lot of room for growth. We have a lot of unique pieces, so were trying to put them all together.

Former teammate Joakim Noah added: Theyre very competitive, they have a lot of different weapons, theyre playing well as a team. But at the end of the day, talk doesnt help you win basketball games. Youve got to go out there and compete. They competed harder than us tonight.

Korver admitted that he has a special place in his heart for Chicago, though he acknowledges there were some inconveniences in the Windy City that he could do without.

I miss the people, man. I miss the fans. Such a great sports town. Ive got a lot of really good friends there, on the team, off the team. I was involved in a really great community there. I definitely miss the people, he said. I definitely dont miss driving in and out from the Berto to downtown. I use up like one tank of gas a month here and thats a beautiful thing for a lot of reasons. But other than that, I definitely miss a lot about Chicago.

While many observers around the NBA believed the Bulls would be in for a down year without Derrick Rose to start the season, dont count Korver among that group.

I was surprised that everyone doubted them so much at the beginning of the season. I didnt understand it all the way. Theres such a strong system put in place there and they keep in plugging in guys, and the core is still the same, Korver explained. Joakims gotten better this year. Luol is Luol, hes just their rock. You take a couple good players and you have a great coach, and youre going to have a good team. Theyre going to hold down the fort until Derrick comes back, whenever that is and at the end of the season, youve got to watch out for them, for sure.

MORE: Deng plays through injured shoulder in Bulls loss

Korver wasnt the only Hawks player to have a reunion, as Atlantas starting point guard Jeff Teague faced off with his younger brother, Bulls rookie Marquis Teague, for the first time.

It was fun, man. Im just happy for him, said Jeff, who had 11 points and eight assists, compared to Marquis eight points and three assists, albeit mainly in garbage time. Being 19, 20 however old he is; hes one of them but to be out there, being able to fulfill your dream, it was good to see him out there.

It's time for the Bulls to spin the point guard roulette wheel

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It's time for the Bulls to spin the point guard roulette wheel

Over the last couple seasons we've had some fun on our Bulls Pregame Live shows with the ever-changing cast of characters at the point guard position. We even brought the point guard roulette wheel to the show a couple years ago when Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne all saw significant time at the position.

Grant began last season as the starter, followed by Kris Dunn and Payne with a little Ryan Arcidiacono mixed in.

But this season was supposed to be different. Dunn showed enough in his 52 game stint (13.4 points, 6 assists per game) in 2017-18 that he entered training camp as the unquestioned starter, with Payne and Arcidiacono as backups. The front office and coaching staff expected the 3rd year guard out of Providence to establish himself as a quality starter with elite skills at the defensive end.

Now, after playing just one regular season game, Dunn has been sidelined again, this time with a sprained left MCL suffered in his debut at Dallas Monday night. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action, which should get him back on the court sometime in early December, right about the same time Lauri Markkanen is expected to return from his elbow injury.

So, what does Fred Hoiberg do now? Initially, you can expect Payne to replace Dunn in the starting lineup, with newly signed Shaq Harrison getting a look in the backup role. In case you don't know much about Harrison, he's an undrafted four-year player out of Tulsa, who spent most of the last two seasons in the NBA G-League. Like Dunn, Harrison is a physical 6'4" defense-first player who should be able to pressure some of the elite point guards the Bulls will face in the coming weeks. The front office showed their level of interest in Harrison's potential by signing him to a two-year NBA contract which includes a guaranteed salary for this season.

The Bulls also signed former Marian Catholic H.S. star Tyler Ulis to a two-way contract after he was released by Golden State in the final cutdown. Ulis started 58 games for Phoenix over the last two seasons, and is lightning quick in the open court. Problem is, he's generously listed at 5'10" which could create some serious issues at the defensive end.

And then there's always Arcidiacono, a Hoiberg favorite who's fundamentally sound, a solid defender and a decent outside shooter. Arcidiacono didn't play in Dallas Monday with Dunn back as the starter and it will be interesting to see how he's used with the coaching staff searching for answers at the position.

From my perspective, the Bulls' best option might be not going with a point guard at all in the starting lineup. Zach LaVine is on the hottest offensive streak of his young career, and he's most effective with the ball in his hands. LaVine played a lot of point guard during his rookie season in Minnesota, and he's more than capable of pushing the ball in transition.

Yes, I know having LaVine defend some of the high-scoring point guards around the league is not an ideal formula for success. The Bulls could move Justin Holiday to the shooting guard position, and see if he can match up defensively against opposing point guards. Again, not ideal.

The Bulls will be facing the likes of Kemba Walker, Trae Young, Steph Curry and Chris Paul over the next week and a half, and going without a true point guard might create defensive issues that are impossible to overcome. That's why you should expect to see Harrison take on a significant role in the upcoming games, since he's the only point guard currently available on the roster that has the physical skills to replicate in some fashion what Dunn brings on the defensive end.

Any way you look at it, the Bulls will be in survival mode over the next six weeks, trying to scratch out as many wins as they can until Markkanen and Dunn are healthy enough to get back on the court.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

Kelly Crull, Mark Strotman and Will Perdue react to the news that Kris Dunn will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

[MORE: It's time for the Bulls to spin the point guard roulette wheel]

00:55     Strotman reacting to the injury, expectations now for team

3:00        Perdue on impact on defense

4:55        Expectation on who will get majority of minutes moving forward at PG

7:40        Where Bulls are mentally as a team 

11:30     How Hoiberg will approach the options at point guard

12:55     Will the Bulls consider tanking again?

14:50     Making the case for LaVine to run point with Blakeney at the 2

16:05     How Dunn’s injury could impact Markkanen’s return

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: