Bulls

In the post: Healthy Bulls display great depth

In the post: Healthy Bulls display great depth

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010
12:20 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Kyle Korver, in his return to the lineup after dealing with a cyst in his left ankle, didnt have the most prolific scoring night, but had a solid all-around performance.

My legs felt good, my ankle felt good. I didnt have rhythm on my shot. I just kind of rushed my shot a little bit probably. It felt good to play basketball today again. Its been four or five days since Ive really played, so it was good, Korver told CSNChicago.com. Its everything. Shooting is legs and confidence. Your actual shot theres a whole bunch of great shooters that have got nasty form; you see all kinds of great shooters that you dont know what hand theyre shooting with half the time but your legs and your confidence, thats all of shooting and thats a huge thing and I know. The next few days, try to get some rhythm back.

Korver is a big believer in the Bulls second unit, feeling that aspect of the team is underrated. Oh, I think the bench is great. Once we get healthy, it will be even better. We have a lot of guys that can play. Omer Asik has really come along. Hes been a huge surprise for us. I dont think anyone thought hed be this good, this fast. When Booz comes back, Taj goes to the second lineup, too. Were going to be all right, Korver told CSNChicago.com. I dont think we lose anything when the second team comes in. Weve got a lot of guys that play hard, some veterans that know how to play and I think its going to be one of our strengths this year.

--James Johnson, an efficient double-figure scorer for the second straight game, told CSNChicago.com hes starting to find his niche with this years team after an up-and-down rookie campaign.

I felt comfortable. I practice with them every dayweve just been going as hard as we can, weve got good chemistry with each other, they dont mind me taking the shots and I dont mind taking the shots. Were out there playing as hard as we can, said Johnson. I want to be as physical as possible, but I just want to help the team, no matter what it is that I need to do. If I need to get physical, Ill get physical, but if I need to go get buckets, then thats what I have to do. But other than that, Im just doing me."

Johnson added a little bit of trash talk, saying the Bulls second unit is the team that beats first team most of the time, then asking fellow reserve Brian Scalabrine to confirm: Man, whos telling these stories? Scal, who wins first team or second team? See? Its a known fact. Thats okay. We know what happens. Just come to practice, man.

As for his coach, Thibodeau was pleased with the performance of Johnson, something that may have complicated his desire to figure out a set rotation to begin the regular season next week. I thought Johnson played very well, I thought all-around defensively he was very good, I thought he made quick decisions that were solid, said Thibodeau. I thought the team functioned well I thought a lot of guys played well but the rotation thing, thatll be something well study some more. Were not quite ready to make a decision on that and once we are, well talk to the players first.

--Ronnie Brewer is finally beginning to regain his mobility after suffering a pulled hamstring in training camp and his timing, showing he can be a playmaker on a Bulls team with only two true two point guards (Derrick Rose and C.J. Watson) on the roster.

These last two games, Ive been able to move a lot better. My shots still not where I want it to be. My legs trying to catch up to my body, but my hamstrings not really restricting me anymore and Im able to make cuts, slide and run the floor like Im supposed to do, Brewer told CSNChicago.com. I made a turnover today making a late decision trying to get him C.J. Watson the ball in the corner, but I feel comfortable handling the basketball, coming off pick-and-rolls if I get a rebound, pushing it up the court so I feel like if Im out on the court with D. Rose, if Im out on the court with C.J., Im comfortable with handling the ball and making plays for other people.

Dont forget to follow Aggrey Sam on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider

Why the Bulls should take Charles Bassey with the No. 38 pick

Why the Bulls should take Charles Bassey with the No. 38 pick

This is the first entry in our "8 for 38" series, where will be looking at eight different under-the-radar NBA prospects that the Bulls could snag with their No. 38 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Charles Bassey/ 6’11’’/ 275 lbs./ Freshman/ Western Kentucky  

Bassey is a a well-regarded five-star recruit from Nigeria, who played his college ball at Western Kentucky University. He is a physical force on the court but definitely is a raw prospect at this stage of his development.

Bassey came into the season as an assumed first round talent, however, his stock has dropped after his impressive freshman season still revealed holes in his game that will definitely be exploited at the NBA level. All that being said, he was quite the prospect at WKU.

Strengths:

In his lone season at WKU, Bassey averaged 14.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on 62.7 percent shooting from the field. His impressive double double average was built on his insane dominance inside the paint.

He shot an astounding 77.4 percent on shots at the rim and that number is even higher on non-post up shots around the basket. Bassey has a rudimentary hook shot that he can hit over his left shoulder but his postgame isn’t the hub of his offense. He generates most of his points by finishing on pick-and-rolls and using his faceup game.

Bassey’s physicality leads to him setting hard screens, and when he doesn’t set a hard screen, he slips to the basket quickly where he takes advantage with his soft touch when looking to score. It is tough for help defenders to knock Bassey off his path when he is rolling to the rim, as his immense lower body strength allows him to displace smaller players.

When Bassey faces up from 15-feet and in, he uses the aforementioned soft touch to convert on 40.8 percent of his 2-PT jump shots per Hoop-Math.com. On top of that, he generally has the speed to blow by most big men.

Bassey’s biggest strength from day one in the NBA will be his motor. He clearly gets fired up for big matchups, as he showcased when he dominated Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, who ended up winning the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given by the Basketball Hall of Fame to the country’s best center. In their late December matchup, Bassey helped hold Happ to a very inefficient 20 points on 23 shots.

In that same game Bassey finished with 19 points (7/8 FG, 5/5 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocks. He has arguably had better games, but the all-around versatility showcased in the stat line above is outstanding.

Bassey has flashed the ability to make nice passes before:

Since Bassey’s NBA offense will be centered around pick-and-roll plays, further developing his decision making on the short-roll will be a boon to whatever team drafts him.

On defense, Bassey already shows the ability to be an asset in the right system. When he is allowed to play in a traditional defensive system that has the center dropping back in pick-and-roll coverage, he swallows up shots with his 7-foot-3 wingspan.

Weaknesses:

The gigantic weakness Bassey showcased this season was an inability to function as a switch defender. He was great when it comes to protecting the rim--he averaged 2.4 blocks per game-- but he was consistently beat off the dribble by guards.

Of course it is rare to find any center--let alone a young one--that has the legitimate ability to function at a high-level when it comes to switching on to smaller, faster players. But that is precisely what makes Bassey the exact type of center you can find easily.

This is why a player of his talent level can slip into the second round.

Another big issue for Bassey is hands, or more specifically, the inability to hold on to passes when diving to the rim. As mentioned above, pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop basketball is how Bassey will carve out a niche in the league. But he occasionally struggled to hold on to the ball on throws that many would not even consider to be “tough passes”.

In the above strengths section it is mentioned how Bassey has some untapped potential as a passer, but he will never cash in on that potential if simply possessing the ball is a difficulty for him. He isn’t as explosive as usual if there are multiple defenders crowding him and raking at the ball, which happens often.

Over 1,067 minutes Basey amassed 24 assists as compared to a whopping 97 turnovers.

Long term outlook:

I believe Bassey will have a long NBA career due to his finishing in the paint and ability to block shots.

Bassey ran roughshod over his mostly Conference USA opposition on the season.

His 62.7 percent shooting from the field and 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes were a few of the many things that showed that Bassey is at least ready for the physicality of the NBA.

But to become much more than a solid journeyman center, Bassey will have to hone his perimeter jump shot to the point that he can become a solid 3-point threat. He shot 45 percent on a very limited 20 attempts from 3-point range and converted on 76.9 percent of his free throws, an enticing set of numbers that show the type of player he could be in the future.

Whether or not Robin Lopez stays, the Bulls will be short on center depth next season.  After Wendell Carter Jr. went down for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, we saw the Bulls play ultra-small lineups that got beat up on the glass often as Jim Boylen was still reluctant to play Felicio more than 15 minutes per game.

Adding a high-upside prospect like Bassey helps Boylen and co. avoid over-using lineups with Lauri Markkanen at center, which helps keep Markkanen fresh and theoretically improves the overall team defense. 

From one GOAT to another: "Greatest comeback I've ever seen"

michaeljordan_1920_woods.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

From one GOAT to another: "Greatest comeback I've ever seen"

 

Michael Jordan is no stranger to amazing comebacks.

The man widely agreed upon to be the greatest player of all time, won six NBA Championships, with three of them coming after a full season sabbatical in which he played minor league baseball with the White Sox affiliate. And of course, MJ had his even later comeback with the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003, in which the year 40-year old Jordan averaged 21.2 PPG over two seasons to close out his career.

That is why Jordan’s effusive praise of Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters victory should not be taken lightly in the greater context of sports history.

In an article written by The Athletic’s David Aldridge, Jordan talks about how he holds Woods’ 2019 Masters win in extremely high regard, calling it “the greatest comeback I've ever seen."

Jordan, a famously avid golfer himself and a friend of Woods, stated, “I’ve been a fan for I don’t know how long.....I never thought he’d get back physically.....He didn’t think he’d get back physically.”

Major success had escaped Woods--who only had one victory in 2018--due to a litany of back injuries and subsequent surgeries.

With Woods having a major victory under his belt for the 2019 season, he certainly has momentum rolling in his favor. That momentum could carry Woods to another major run of PGA Tour success, and MJ agreed that Woods’ belief in himself was perhaps the biggest factor in his 2019 Masters win.

“No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He's probably the only person who believed he could get back.”