Rock bottom: Bulls submit in blowout loss to Magic


Rock bottom: Bulls submit in blowout loss to Magic

ORLANDO—Jimmy Butler sat with a towel draped around his face, as Pau Gasol muttered something unintelligible as the Bulls came out of a timeout.

Derrick Rose sat with a cold stare, alongside Taj Gibson, whose facial expressions drifted from anger to fury to resignation by the time 40 minutes had passed.

It didn’t take that long for the principle characters to see it wasn’t their night, hasn’t been their week, month or quarter.

The Orlando Magic was merely the latest team to feast on a Bulls team that looks like a dead carcass, a squad that can’t wait to get to April 14, when it’s time to clean out their lockers.

Beaten down, beaten up, fragile and frail, the Bulls look to have nothing left to give this season, as they fell behind by as much as 29 to a Magic team that came in losers of six in a row but left victors in a 111-89 drubbing Saturday night at Amway Center.

It left the question for Fred Hoiberg to answer afterwards, as he had to respond to the notion if his team has quit.

“I sure hope not,” the exasperated Bulls coach said. “Obviously, what I’m saying right now, the message isn’t getting across. We’re going to sit in a room and hopefully get it figured out tomorrow.”

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The Bulls easily submitted, as has been their pattern, and there just appeared to be a lack of passion from the jump. Honest questions need to be asked and answered, and Butler didn’t disagree with the thought some confrontation is necessary.

“Maybe it’s more a generalization instead of me to you. I don’t know. Do we have sensitive guys? I guess we’re gonna find out come tomorrow,” Butler said. “We’ll find out if somebody has a problem with somebody or they don’t like the way somebody is doing something. Now is the time to speak up on it. We’ve been talking about it all year long. We don’t have much confrontation, maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that’s a bad thing. I hope things get changed because we all want to be in the playoffs.”

Without Victor Oladipo, without Nikola Vucevic, the Magic left Dewayne Dedmon—a prime candidate for everybody’s favorite game “Who he play for?” and made everyone wearing red know his name.

He feasted on the Bulls’ frontline, scoring a career-high 18 points with a career-high 13 rebounds—with the former statistic being achieved with four minutes remaining in the first half.

“Just a lack of competitiveness; All we talked about is getting off to a good start tonight, giving ourselves a chance,” Hoiberg said. “We win games, more often than not, when we win the first quarter. They came out and scored 36 on us in the first 12 minutes.”

The only Bull who appeared to be bringing it was Gibson, who made his first eight field goals, schooling young and gifted forward Aaron Gordon while trying his best to keep the Bulls engaged and motivated.

But apparently the Magic onslaught was too much for the Bulls to resist—as was the case on a back-to-back set against another lottery-bound franchise, the New York Knicks.

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“Is the answer in the room? Hell, we all we got, it better be in this room,” Butler said. “And it better carry from this locker room to on the court. That’s the only way to get this fixed, nobody’s gonna play basketball for us.”

The Magic shot 70 percent early in the first and didn’t look back, as Rose and Butler each uncharacteristically missed pairs of free throws in the first half while the game was out of hand.

“It’s a lot. It’s not one thing here or there,” said forward Mike Dunleavy. “It’s not the offense or defense, it’s both. It’s a lot of stuff. To say one thing we’re not doing right and it’ll solve everything, that’s just not the case. It’s a bunch of stuff we’re struggling with. Effort, execution, discipline, continuity, you can go through the whole thing.”

Rose struggled with Elfrid Payton, who played maestro with 15 points and 10 assists in 30 minutes, as the Magic didn’t play terribly well, leaving an opening in the third quarter to cut the lead to nine.

But the Bulls weren’t up to task, shooting just 41 percent from the field and allowing 58 points in the paint to a team that didn’t have an active paint presence.

And even though the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons looked to be in a charitable mood Saturday, being on the way to losses that could’ve given the Bulls a little bit of life, the Bulls had other plans.

No resurrection on this Saturday or Sunday, or maybe any day this season.

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


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


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.