Bulls

Who should join near-lock Rose on 2012 Olympic team?

638746.png

Who should join near-lock Rose on 2012 Olympic team?

Just as news that Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer won't make the cut of finalists for the 2012 USA Olympic men's basketball team -- along with fellow 2008 participants Michael Redd of the Suns, Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd -- wasn't a shocker, it's no surprise that Derrick Rose did make the list.
Barring injury, the Bulls point guard and reigning league MVP is almost a lock to make the squad, but who else will join him?

Pencil in the likes of the back-to-back NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Thunder, current Magic center Dwight Howard, Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony and the Heat duo of LeBron James and Chicago native Dwyane Wade.

The other half of the dozen-man roster is where it gets tricky, but if it's up to me -- based on their skill sets and the 19-man player pool, first reported by Chris Sheridan -- I'd go with Clippers floor general Chris Paul, his young teammate Blake Griffin, NBA rebounding champ Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, Hornets sharpshooter Eric Gordon and 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala.

The final two picks might seem like head-scratchers -- leaving off point guards Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Lamar Odom, and center Tyson Chandler -- but if the goal is to win a gold medal, then role players and specialists like Gordon (shooting) and Iguodala (defense) are necessary, though it's hard to leave off veterans like Odom, Billups and Chandler, let alone young talents such as Westbrook and Aldridge.

However, evaluating the snubs on how they play for their NBA teams and present production -- Odom has started the season miserably after being traded to Dallas, Billups isn't getting any younger, Aldridge won't get the same touches he sees in Portland and the abilities of Westbrook, Chandler and Williams are relatively duplicated, if not surpassed, by Rose, Howard and Paul, respectively (Gordon is currently hurt and Iguodala has struggled, but they'd be specialists) -- it doesn't appear they'd make it a more complete team, though the value of chemistry can't be underestimated, helping the cases of 2010 World Championships veterans Odom, Chandler and Billups.

The final roster won't be set until after the NBA season concludes, so there's plenty of time for debate.

Who would be on your roster and what players should have been included in the group of finalists?

Olympic swimmer Ryan Held reps Bulls' Ryan Arcidiacono at TYR Pro Series

arcidiacono_for_mark.jpg
USA Today

Olympic swimmer Ryan Held reps Bulls' Ryan Arcidiacono at TYR Pro Series

When Ryan Arcidiacono saw Olympic swimmer Ryan Held’s latest Twitter post showing his homestate Bulls some love, the guard did a double-take.

“I was like, ‘I wonder if it’s Chandler [Hutchison],’” Arcidiacono said of Held wearing a Bulls No. 15 jersey as he prepared to take the blocks for a race. “And then I saw him bend and I could see my name and I was like, ‘Wow. That’s pretty cool.’”

This is the depth of Held’s fandom. The Springfield, Ill., native is breaking out Arcidiacono jerseys from the journeyman guard’s rookie season. Arcidiacono wears No. 51 now. Hutchison sports No. 15. 

“He’s a Bulls fan,” Arcidiacono said of Held. “I’ve never met him but we’ve exchanged some [direct messages] on Twitter. This last one, I Tweeted back at him and said, ‘Way to represent.’ I also wished him luck.” 

Held, who swam at Springfield’s Sacred-Heart Griffin High, may not need it. The Illinois swimmer of the year in 2014, he qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics and swam a leg on the gold-medal winning 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls, Cavaliers making no excuses in spite of stilted travel schedule

usatsi_13595091.jpg
USA Today

Bulls, Cavaliers making no excuses in spite of stilted travel schedule

Snowy conditions in Chicago marred both the Bulls and Cavaliers' travel plans ahead of their bout Saturday night at the UC. Each team had its flights from respective departure cities (for the Bulls, Philadelphia; for the Cavaliers, Memphis) overnight on Friday, and didn't arrive in Chicago until Saturday morning.

But, before the game, both coaches scoffed good-naturedly at the notion that the stilted schedule might impact their preparation time or energy.

"We still showed up for our meal in Chicago at the same time," Cavaliers head coach John Beilein said. "I think with the NBA what I've observed is the long nap time in the afternoon is more important than anything for these guys. So we didn't get much sleep the night before, had to get up early. But we got to the hotel and ate at 11, and from 12 to 4 our guys got some pretty good rest."

"This has happened before. We're on a back-to-back, we need to do the basics better. I haven't talked about the travel, I'm not going to talk to the team about how difficult it was or whatever. I don't do that," Jim Boylen said. "This is the pro part, the professional part, so we gotta come out and play hard."

That the Bulls will do, as they do every night. And perhaps, in spite of their grueling January slate, they might find an edge over a Cavaliers team currently running a gauntlet of their own.

For the Cavs, this game is the last of a six-game road trip, on which they're 2-3 to this point. In that context, there might not be a more nightmarish matchup than the Bulls, given their ability to force turnovers. The Bulls' aggressive, trapping defensive scheme yields 17.8 opponent turnovers per game, the most in the NBA. The Cavaliers commit the second-most turnovers per game in the league (16.3) and own the league's highest turnover rate (16.4%).

"We're playing a very different team now with the way they play defense, very aggressive, steal the ball a lot," Beilein said. "We tried to show as much film as we could without wearing [the players] out, make sure that we were fresh seeing as we're coming off a back-to-back. They're leading the league in turning people over, we're leading the league in turning the ball over, so that'll be an interesting question whether we can solve that today."

"We always hope to have active hands and make people play through our hands," Boylen said. "Hopefully [we] do what we do."

The Bulls enter play 15-28, the Cavaliers 12-30. And both are coming off losses on the front end of their back-to-backs — the Bulls 100-89 to the 76ers and the Cavaliers 113-109 to the upstart Grizzlies. Logistical misfortunes aside, there's a game to be played tonight, and don't expect any excuses from either side.

"Both of us [the Cavaliers and Bulls] are coming off tough losses and we both have to deal with it, and you know, we'll see," Beilein said. "Hopefully it's going to be a really good game, and whichever team can battle that adversity the best is gonna win." 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.