Bulls

Nobody can get their story straight on Noah going to the bench

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Nobody can get their story straight on Noah going to the bench

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — There appears to be a bit of a discrepancy in the “Joakim Noah volunteers to go to the bench” story many have believed, a move that has made way for Nikola Mirotic to enter the starting lineup before the season opener.

Noah said he never went to coach Fred Hoiberg to say he wanted to come off the bench, which is what Hoiberg said occurred. Knowing Noah as the competitor that he is, it didn’t seem to go parallel with the standards he’s set personally, especially considering he’s in the midst of a contract year.

But it looked as if Hoiberg was trying to protect Noah and prop him up psychologically as opposed to presenting it to the masses as a demotion or some kind of claim he’s no longer an effective player.

“I don’t remember, pick whatever (story) you want,” said Hoiberg coyly. “He came to me and had a discussion. He said he wanted to play with Taj. We had a very easy conversation, and I give him credit for initiating the conversation.”

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Noah agreed that a conversation was had but didn’t say he wanted to go to the bench. At this point it’s semantics, but perhaps it speaks to how Hoiberg wants to protect his players — either that or he made a bigger deal than it should’ve been.

“What I said doesn’t matter,” Noah said. “Right now we’re doing what’s best for the team. We just have to keep building.”

Mirotic’s presence has opened the floor for everybody on the perimeter, and it’s likely Hoiberg grouped Mirotic with Pau Gasol and Noah with Gibson during training camp practices, with the endgame of making Noah see for himself which combinations worked best.

“The conversation said I feel like I play well with Taj and I think Niko and Pau play well together,” Hoiberg said. “That’s how the conversation went.

“That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.”

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Noah said he gets to play center as opposed to power forward with Gasol, which puts him against more agile players, and playing with Gibson allows Gibson to protect the rim a little better.

“I think I’m more effective playing the 5 than the 4, and Pau is the same,” Noah said. “So it makes the most sense.”

Bottom line, it’s worked to the tune of two wins.

“He likes being in there with Taj, and Taj is our best rim runner,” Hoiberg said. “And Jo can facilitate and pass the ball. He said they have great chemistry together, and I agree with him.”

Report: Bulls sign former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins to two-way contract

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USA TODAY

Report: Bulls sign former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins to two-way contract

A report on Sunday from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports indicated that the Bulls have agreed to a two-way contract with former Arizona Wildcat Rawle Alkins. 

The 6'5'' guard was a teammate of Lauri Markkanen on the 2017 Wildcats, and many expected him to be a potential lottery pick after showing off the all-around skill set that also made him the top player in the state of New York in high school.

After going undrafted, Alkins played for the Toronto Raptors Summer League team, where he put up 9 points, 4.67 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. In the six  Las Vegas Summer League games he played in, Alkins shot poor from the field (37 percent) and the free throw line (62.5 percent), but he knocked down his 3-pointers, shooting 43.9 percent on a healthy 3.5 attempts from deep per game. 

There is an obvious fit on the Bulls for a player like Alkins. He was a career 36.5 percent 3-point shooter in his two college seasons, and has the physical profile of a great wing defender at the NBA-level. Alkins has a 6'9'' wingspan, and at a listed 220 lbs., it is easy to see him having the potential to guard four-to-five different positions on the floor. At this stage of the rebuild, the Bulls could really use as many of the coveted "3-and-D" wings as they can get. And there are some, like, The Ringer's Chris Vernon, who think that Alkins has the potential to become a glue guy.

Alkins will be a fan favorite wherever he plays. You want a Marcus Smart, Tony Allen, or P.J. Tucker–type player when you need a big play in a big game. I see that with Alkins.

-The Ringer's Chris Vernon 

The nature of the two-way contract means that Bulls fans will to catch some Windy City Bulls games to see Alkins in action. But much like Antonio Blakeney last season, we could see Alkins make an instant impact in the G League and get a call-up sooner than later, especially if the Bulls decide to move on from veteran Justin Holiday.

Either way, the pick up is a shrewd move by the Bulls front office. Alkins is a well-rounded, defense-first player who will be joining a young roster overstocked with scoring talent, but thin on defenders capable of guarding on the perimeter or executing a switching defense at a high level.

Jabari Parker and Tyler Ulis shine at open run in Chicago

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USA TODAY

Jabari Parker and Tyler Ulis shine at open run in Chicago

Jabari Parker is looking forward to what will surely be an intriguing season for he and the Chicago Bulls.


Parker signed a two-year, $40 million contract, that essentially acts as a tryout for the Bulls. The second year of the contract is a team option, meaning should things not go well, the organization can cut ties with him. But after 183 career games with the Bucks over four seasons, it was clear that Parker was in need of a fresh start. In Chicago, he will slide in as the day one starting small forward, and is already paid like a player who is definitely appreciated by his organization.


But with all of the off the court stuff taken care of for now, Parker's main focus is getting in to the best shape of his life, as he prepares for a full season as a wing player. 


Part of Parker's preparation was a great pickup game in downtown Chicago organized by the Chicago Basketball Club.

 

For Bulls fans itching to get a look at Parker on the court, the video shows off some flashy passing ability, impressive handles and a flurry of pull-up jumpers from the 23-year old forward. He also finishes well in transition in the video, though that is to be taken with a grain of salt as Parker was easily the biggest player on the court. 


Other players in the pickup game included former Simeon teammate of Parker's, Kendrick Nunn; and NBA free agent and former Marion Catholic star Tyler Ulis (a possible Bulls target?). If Parker looks as dynamic against NBA competition as he did in the pickup game below, the Bulls are going to have one of the more valuable contracts in the league in 2020, and would be likely to lock up Parker to a long-term deal.