Bulls

NBA camps postponed, part of preseason canceled

NBA camps postponed, part of preseason canceled

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011
Posted: Sept. 23, 10:26 a.m. Updated: 9:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Follow @CSNBullsInsider
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In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem like much. But the NBA's announcement that the start of training camps and opening slate of exhibition games are the latest casualties of the ongoing lockout should cement the reality of the increasingly dire situation.

We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Unspoken was that after a nearly six-hour Thursday bargaining session in New York during which, by all accounts, no progress was made, pessimism reigns supreme in the lockout talks.

NBA players continue to trickle overseas, player-organized exhibition games continue to be held and plans for "lockout leagues" now move into October. If and when the work stoppage ends this fall, the legal process will take a few weeks to officially get the ball rolling again, leading to a likely abbreviated free-agency period (and the signing of draft picks) before training camps and the exhibition schedule commence.

For the Bulls, it means that an Oct. 10 home game against the Bobcats (yet another opportunity for former draft pick Tyrus Thomas to show Chicago what it's missing) and an Oct. 13 road matchup against the Central Division rival Pacers are scuttled.

Bulls training camp at the Berto Center, which was scheduled to open Oct. 4--team media day would have taken place the day prior--a key ingredient to the season, have been replaced by more individualized or informal group training, if not players seeking competition elsewhere.

But that's just on paper. If anybody can recall the last NBA lockout--in the 1998-99 season, when the NBA slate was cut to just 50 games--the ramifications of even minimal time lost will be reflected in sloppy play, as teams and players struggle to find their groove.

Coming off a banner year that saw the league's popularity rise with ascendance of young players like reigning MVP Derrick Rose and scoring champion Kevin Durant, it's possible that casual fans will be reluctant to embrace the NBA quickly if there's an extended absence.

How do you feel about the NBA delaying the start of training camps and preseason games? If the lockout causes regular-season games to be missed, will it affect how you feel about the league or are you willing to wait it out?

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.

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill discuss the NBA Draft and what happened at the NBA combine that shifted most experts mock drafts.

Kendall also explains why a "promise" to draft a player isn’t guaranteed. He also shares his experience on getting drafted by the Hornets and why he initially felt they were the wrong team for him.

North Carolina "News and Observer" Duke basketball beat writer Jonathan Alexander gives us his opinion on Wendell Carter and the other Duke draft prospects including why he thinks Carter will be a future all-star. Also includes an interview with Carter from the draft combine.

Listen to the full Bulls Talk Podcast right here:

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.