Bulls

Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

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Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

CSN Bulls analyst and four-time NBA champion Will Perdue looks at the potential long-term impact, both individually and as a group, for the Bulls if they're unable to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers in their current playoff series.

 

[Ri-gret]

verb

“1. to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).”

It’s been 14 years since I played competitive basketball in the NBA. Sunday afternoon's game between the Cavs and Bulls brought back memories of those "lost and missed opportunities" throughout my career on the floor. The difference between myself and this Bulls team is that I can no longer do anything to correct or change those missed opportunities. This series is tied at 2-2. The Bulls have an opportunity in Game 5 to correct their mistakes from Game 4, to not only help them win Thursday but also to help them win the series.

At the present moment this team may not understand the magnitude of what lies before them. On paper they have the talent, the skill and the depth to beat LeBron James, their nemesis, and the Cavaliers. I know from past experience that they may look at Game 4 as “just one game,” but it could be the defining moment of this series and quite possibly, for some, their careers. It’s not as easy as saying “just put it behind us and learn from our mistakes.” Games that end that way, especially in the playoffs, can leave mental scars and doubt that will carry over into the next game and quite possibly the next season.

[RELATED: Bulls remaining positive heading into Cleveland]

Now is the time for this team to be proactive. Instead of looking back 14 years from now with the thoughts of regret of what could have been in this series against the Cavs, this team has the chance to write history that can be looked back upon and cherished, much like I was afforded the luxury of four championships. Those years bring back the fond memories of battles won, but there are still those memories of battles lost that resurface after watching games like Sunday's last-second loss.

Professional athletes are tormented about missed opportunities. Golfers have nightmares about the missed putts they feel cost them a win on tour. Hockey players have nightmares about penalty shots gone awry. Baseball players are haunted with the errors that may have cost their team the game. You understand my point.

I hope this Bulls team doesn't allow the outcome of Game 4 to define regret. Not only do they need to make the necessary changes required to win Game 5, but it also requires the necessary focus, determination, desire, drive, and both mental and physical energy. This may actually be the biggest hurdle for this team to overcome. Johnny Bach, assistant coach for the Bulls championship run in the 90s, used to always say, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Do the Bulls have the mental fortitude to win and advance?

[MORE: LeBron James is all alone, but it could be enough to top Bulls]

This is the challenge that lies before them. If they don’t win this series it’s not the end of the world, but if they do win it could be life-altering. Remember the Bulls in 1991? We finally beat our nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, 4-0. What happened after that was the first ever championship for the Chicago Bulls organization. There have never been any regretful thoughts of that season.

Moving forward, the future of this team and the history that they write is in the hands of the players and the coaches.  I use this metaphor all of the time on CSN Chicago: I’m not Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling, but if the Bulls lose Game 5...run for cover.

Now it’s time to do your part and rally the troops. Wear your favorite Jersey, your lucky socks, your rally caps...whatever it may be, to show your support for the Bulls and help Derrick Rose, and the team take down LeBron and the Cavs. Let's dethrone “The King.”

This post originally was published on Will Perdue's tumblr page.

Will Perdue is CSN's Bulls analyst. Follow Will on Twitter @Will_Perdue32 and watch him on Bulls Postgame Live with Mark Schanowski after every Bulls playoff game.

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

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USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

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USA Today

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

On Thursday, the NBA revealed the East and West starters for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. Take a look:


Bulls fans will be honed in on the East selections given Zach LaVine's absence, though his realistic chances of starting the game have been slim-to-none since the first month of the season. In the last round of fan voting returns, LaVine was sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players. He finished there, as well:


LaVine will get a chance to slide into a reserve slot, but the East’s starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Trae Young leaves a crowded field to contend with. Guards competing for the seven reserve spots include Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown. And that's without mentioning frontcourt favorites in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis.

But a modicum of good news did come from this announcement for those stumping for LaVine: Kyrie Irving's omission from the starting lineup. Irving, who has only played 15 games this season, had been second in fan voting at the time of last returns. Had he snuck in with the starters, LaVine would have also had Walker or Young to compete with for a reserve spot, both of whom he matches up with unfavorably. One has to figure Irving's odds of being selected by coaches as a reserve aren't high.

LaVine's chances still aren't necessarily great, but the coaches' picks for reserves will be announced on Jan. 30. If LaVine is shorted there, as well, there remains the possibility of an injury replacement down the road, which, commissioner Adam Silver would select (this is probably his best shot).

Once the final pool of players is decided, they'll be drafted by team captains Giannis Antetokoumpo and LeBron James on Feb. 6.

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