Bulls

Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
10:47 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With rumors swirling about the Bulls potentially acquiring sharpshooter Rasual Butleras previously reported, CSNChicago.com confirmed late Sunday that the swingman received a buyout from the Los Angeles ClippersDerrick Rose discussed how an additional player could affect the teams chemistry.

That would be something that when they get hereif they get here, if someone comes herewell just have to see if it affects the teams chemistry, but I really dont know how it would be right now. I think that we have a good team right now. I think our chemistry is fine, the guys that we have are great and Im fine with the people we have right now, said Rose.

The All-Star point guard strongly believes the current squad is a championship-caliber team. Definitely. Theres no point in us even being here practicing if we didnt think we could win a championship. I think that we have a good team. I think that we have good guys on the team that are winners, that are basketball players, that just want to play ball and win. As for Thibodeau, he was non-committal about the speculation.

I havent heard anything about it, said the coach. If they Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson get close on something, theyll let me know, but like Ive said all along, I love the team we have; I love the guys we have.

If the Bulls were to acquire Butler, the 6-foot-7 swingman would provide them with an additional shooter to spread the defense against teams like the Celtics and Heat, who may be more apt to pack the lane to defend against Roses penetration and Chicagos size. At the same time, Butler would join an already-crowded legion of wing players, as Thibodeau has shown hes comfortable with Keith Bogans as a starter, meaning that since Ronnie Brewers defense is another Thibs priority, Kyle Korver would be the most likely candidate to see a reduction in playing time.

Carlos Boozer spoke about the teams last losslast week in Torontoand how the Bulls have adjusted since then. We learned our lesson in Toronto after the break. We had that five-day breakAll-Star breakcame back and lost that game in Toronto, a team that on paper, we should have beat, but we took them lightly and got kicked in the butt.. Opined Joakim Noah: You know what? Torontosometimes people talk about recordsbut they have a lot of talent. It was my first game back, the first game after the All-Star break. We definitely had a letdown, so you have to learn from our mistakes and its all about experiences and getting better.

In the locker room, Rose muttered to himself about missing free throws, shots in general and being out of rhythm. When queried about it later he responded, Ive just got to get back. Im still putting up my regular numbers, but just getting back, playing in rhythm. But were winning. I could care less about that. He cited the All-Star break as the primary cause. Going four days without really shooting or playing, I think that could throw off anybodys rhythm.

Brian Scalabrine commented on the fan support the Bulls receivednot uncommon at road games as of lateas well as the crowd cheering for him personally. We were in the building tonight, right? A lot of Chicago fans. A lot of MVP chants. It was nice, Scalabrine quipped to CSNChicago.com. The Scalabrine chants were strong tonight. I mean, I cant say anything about that. Thanks for coming out, thanks for supporting the Washington Wizards.

Rose, the recipient of M-V-P chants throughout the game, also discussed the now-familiar aspect of away games. Its crazy, but Im loving it right now, said Rose. Coming into every arena and everybodys cheering it. When asked who got more support between he and Scalabrine, however, the MVP frontrunner answered, Scal. He got some M-V-P cheers, too. Scal gets that everywhere. Hes a good teammate and Im fortunate to have him on my team.

Bulls shooting guard Keith Bogans, a Washington, D.C. area native, has played in several cities during his professional career, but being on a contender makes a ticket to one of his games even more of a prized commodity these days. Its always good to come home and win the way we did today. It gives me bragging rights when I come home in the summer, Bogans told CSNChicago.com. Everybody wants to come to the games, so I just keep it to a minimumimmediate family and a few friendsall that 30 and 40 tickets, Im not doing that anymore.

Gibson limped off the court on two separate occasions, but Thibodeau wasnt concerned. Taj is fine. I think he tweaked his ankle a little bit, but he said he was fine. He went back in.

Rose sympathized with fellow former No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall, also a John Calipari protg. Its definitely hard, just playing through it, said Rose of the Wizards rookie.

His numbers are good, definitely for a rookie and I know that its tough, going from winning all those games, then coming here, not being mentioned with some of the best teams in the NBA. Its tough, man, but hes playing well. Continued Rose: Roses rookie season was a learning experience. This year it is, too, but my rookie year, everything was new. You had to come in, learn how your teammates are, learn an NBA system. It takes a long time to do that and it was hell my rookie year. It was hell, but when you come in, youve got to have a little confidence yourself because guys will take advantage of you if you come in and you dont know what youre doing or it seems like you dont know what youre doing.

Its tough in this league, Ill say, with people that dont have confidence, especially at my position because thats whats going on right now. Its like a point guard league and every night, youve got to be able to come out here and compete against the best Im more comfortable. I think that guys like Keith and everybody, Kurt, made me more comfortable at my position, teaching me certain things on pick-and-rolls, things on plays to put us in a position to win and I have a lot of confidence right now, especially when I play and it has a lot to do with them and the coaching staffI can only imagine what hes going through. Our record wasnt anything like his. We barely got in the playoffs.

Rose also discussed the Bulls current status and postseason possibilities. You have to look at what Miami and Boston are doing. Were in the same little group, where everybodys comparing us and it wouldnt be bad to get that No. 1 spot, said Rose. Teams like the 76ers, Indiana, Charlotte, all those teams are playing good right now, trying to get that spot into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoffsthe Bucks are right thereknowing that you can play one of those teams, you think about it a little bit.

Saunders holds both the Bulls and Rose in high regard, placing the team in rare air atop the Eastern Conference and Rose in a category of his own. I have them in the top three. I think its them and Miami and Boston, and Orlando, as far as right there, too. I think the big thing is how those guys blend together, now that they have them all and whether over the long haul, their perimeter shooting is going to be enough when they go against Boston and teams that really pack it in, said the Wizards coach. Rose is probably the most improved player in the league, how hes played. I think hes given more to their team than anybody in the league. If I had a vote for MVP, thats the guy that Id pick.

Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at: @CSNBullsInsider.

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 announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

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USA TODAY

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

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USA TODAY

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

Finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference last season cost Stan Van Gundy his job as Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations. Van Gundy was replaced on the bench by 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the conference semi-finals.

Casey’s job in Detroit is to find a way to develop the young players on the roster while getting the team to the playoffs. He has a pair of All-Star caliber players in the front court, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, along with highly-paid, erratic point guard Reggie Jackson.

Griffin has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Van Gundy decided to roll the dice at mid-season a year ago by trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley AND a 1st round pick to the Clippers for the former slam dunk champion in a desperate bid to save his job. The trade didn’t work out for Van Gundy, but it’s possible Griffin could enjoy a resurgence in Detroit this season.

The 29-year-old power forward scored 26 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Pistons’ 103-100 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Drummond had a monster game with 24 points and 20 rebounds. As Bulls fans know all too well, Drummond has made the 20 rebound game commonplace when facing Fred Hoiberg’s squad in recent years.

As for Jackson, a severely sprained right ankle limited him to just 45 games last season, probably costing Detroit a chance to make the playoffs. The 8th year pro is lightning quick, with the ability to disrupt defenses by getting into the paint and challenging bigger defenders at the rim. Jackson scored 19 points in the season opener against Brooklyn, and he’ll be a problem for the Bulls Saturday night, especially if Kris Dunn is unavailable.

Casey is still trying to figure out how to use the rest of the roster Van Gundy built, with recent 1st round pick Henry Ellenson and former rotation player Jon Leuer getting DNP-CD’s against the Nets. Meanwhile, two other expected rotation players, small forward Stanley Johnson and swingman Reggie Bullock missed the opener because of injuries.

That left second year guard Luke Kennard and 2018 2nd round draft pick Bruce Brown as the other starters in game one, something that’s unlikely to continue once everyone’s healthy.

So, how do the Bulls even their record at 1-1 on Saturday? Here are my three keys:

1. Keep Drummond and Griffin off the offensive boards. This is much easier said than done. Drummond in particular is relentless going after missed shots, and his bulk will cause problems for 19 year old rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Hoiberg hinted at possible line-up changes on Friday morning, which could include starting veteran Robin Lopez at center to battle Drummond inside. Griffin has turned into more of a jump shooter now and doesn’t have the multiple jump capability that characterized his early seasons in the NBA, but he’s still a threat to create 2nd shot opportunities.

2. Close out on three-point shooters. Of all the defensive issues for the Bulls in Philadelphia on Thursday, losing touch with shooters in transition was probably the most troublesome. Robert Covington seemed to be open at the three-point line throughout the game, and Bulls players struggled to handle cross-match situations. Kennard had one of the best games of his rookie season against the Bulls, and Jackson, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway are all capable of heating up from long distance.

3. Attack Detroit’s interior defense. The Bulls were at their best offensively in the first quarter against Philadelphia when they drove to the basket to set up easy scoring chances. Zach LaVine was getting to the rim at will in scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening 12 minutes, and his penetration also set up Bobby Portis for open looks from the three-point line. Hopefully, Dunn will return to stabilize the point guard position and give the Bulls' first unit another shot creator so they can sustain their pace and scoring potential over four quarters.

Saturday’s home opener is definitely winnable against a Detroit team still finding its way under a new coaching staff. Better effort and attention to detail on the defensive end along with a fast-paced, drive and kick offensive attack should make for an exciting opening night at the United Center.

Make sure to join Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, Kelly Crull and me for a special one hour edition of Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and the new My Teams app, followed by the play by play call with Neil Funk and Stacey King at 7 p.m. And, stay tuned after the final buzzer for reaction and analysis on an expanded edition of Bulls Postgame Live.