Bulls

Word on the Street: Jackson believes Heat will win 72

Word on the Street: Jackson believes Heat will win 72

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Phil Jackson: Heat could break Bulls record

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Thursday that his Lakers can't break the 72-10 regular season record set by his 199596 Bulls team, despite their white-hot 8-0 start. However, Jackson said he believes that the star-studded Miami Heat can.

"I think this Miami team could," Jackson said. "I mean, they are talented enough to do that. They may not be deep enough yet, or have all their persons in place...If they stay together, they have a good chance. They have a very talented team." (LA Times)

Ricketts wants 200 million in Wrigley upgrades

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is asking the state for 200 million worth of renovations at Wrigley Field to help ensure the ballpark will survive as the home of the Cubs for the next 35 years. The Ricketts family has promised that the money will not be financed by new or increasing taxes. Rather, the family wants the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to float as much as 300 million in bonds which will be paid over the next 35 years through already-in-place amusement taxes. (ChicagoBreakingBusiness)

Noah on Garnett: 'I don't like him'

It's no secret that Bulls' center Joakim Noah isn't a big fan of Boston's Kevin Garnett; but apparently he used to be. Noah told "The Waddle & Silvy Show" that he used to be a big fan of Garnett - he even had a poster of him in his room. But now Noah says that Garnett is just "mean," particularly towards particular players.

"And he was very mean to me my rookie year. And he's only mean to the young guys and the European players, for some reason. I don't know why, but that's who he doesn't like. He's not nice. I talk a lot of trash out there, but c'mon, be a little sensitive. Be sweet," said Noah. (Load O' Bull - Chicago Now)

Castro prepares for Dominican League

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is preparing to begin play in the Dominican Winter League for Leones de Escogido, a squad coached by former Cub outfielder Moises Alou. Castro hit .300 over 125 games in his first season with the Cubs and, while his offense was impressive, he also committed 27 errors. His defense is something that Castro says he wants to work on this winter.

"I came to work on my defense, primarily on my throw to first base," Castro said.(MLB.com)

Dye wants to play in 2011

Former White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, a free agent who sat out the entire 2010 season, says he intends to play again in 2011. The 2005 World Series MVP, who is representing himself rather than using an agent, says he has been contacted by three teams; the Phillies, Rays, and Rockies.

When asked if money was an issue, Dye said, 'No, not at all. I just want to play for a contender and am open to playing other positions. But I wont do a minor league deal.'" (FoxSports)
Ex-Bull Nocioni fined 25,000

Ex-Bulls forward Andres Nocioni was fined 25,000 by the NBA for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands in the first quarter of the 76ers 109-103 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday night. The fine was announced Thursday by Stu Jackson, the NBA executive vice president of basketball operation. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

B/R names Zach LaVine as one of the NBA’s most overhyped players ahead of the 2018-19 season

B/R names Zach LaVine as one of the NBA’s most overhyped players ahead of the 2018-19 season

Bleacher Report named Zach LaVine as one of the NBA’s most overhyped players ahead of the 2018-19 season. The list included five players whose expectations have exceeded what author Grant Hughes, felt is realistic for this upcoming season. It is not entirely shocking for LaVine to make this list, and his defense was the main reason he was included. But the potential for his offensive output to get even better was somewhat overlooked. 

Per Hughes:

In 2016-17, he ranked 441st out of 468 players in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus metric. Last year, he was 490th out of 521. According to Basketball Reference, he's never posted a defensive box plus-minus in positive territory. He topped out at minus-2.0 in his abbreviated 2017-18 season.....It's hard to justify rotation minutes for a player like that, let alone $78 million.

Hughes’ critique is harsh, but based off of statistics that are hard to argue with. LaVine has indeed been one of the worst defenders in the league for the entirety of his NBA career, and his netting of the $78 million falls hand-in-hand with Jabari Parker’s comments on players not being paid to play defense. But for the Bulls to take the leap from lottery-to-playoff contender, at least a league-average D will have to be cobbled together. But that responsibility will not fall solely on his shoulders, and that is why I am skeptical on the idea of LaVine being “overhyped”. 

The post goes on to elaborate that even if LaVine was to recapture the magic of his solid 2016-17 season, he still would be a player who gives up more points on defense than he gets his team on offense. That is a strong possibility, but with the addition of Wendell Carter Jr. as another rim protector, capable of at least providing a hard hedge (if not an outright switch), there is a possibility that LaVine becomes a more aggressive defender out on the perimeter. But that is unlikely, and a much more realistic outcome is LaVine’s offensive value surpassing what is expected.

LaVine’s strength last season was his ability to get to the free throw line. Despite coming off a major ACL injury, he was able to get 4.5 free throw attempts per game, a mark that would’ve had him sandwiched between players like Kyrie Irving and Victor Oladipo had he qualified (LaVine only played in 24 games). It was the highest free throw attempt rate of his career, and assuming he expands on that in a year where he should be completely healthy, he will be one of the best in the league at getting to the line. 

His efficiency will be helped by players like Parker and Lauri Markkanen, who will draw attention off of him. LaVine’s 3-point percentage last season was 34 percent, a number that was more of a reflection of that fact that he was still working his way back into game shape. That 3-point percentage will soon trend more towards the 38 percent mark he shot the previous two seasons. And his 3-point attempts were also down, another mark that is sure to trend upwards, especially with Parker’s inclusion as a scorer who does most of his half-court work in the mid-post area. 

The way the 2018-19 Bulls are built, there is little behind Kris Dunn in the way of a reliable backup point guard, though there is belief internally that Cam Payne can develop into that player. But there is a strong possibility that LaVine will be used as a backup point guard to free up minutes for one of Justin Holiday, Denzel Valentine or Chandler Hutchison. And in his rookie year, playing point guard, LaVine had an assist rate of 24 percent, but also an incredibly high turnover percentage. Since making the full-time switch to shooting guard, he has not posted a turnover rate above 10 percent. So, if he can adjust to the fact that there are other players capable of scoring 20 points on the floor—like he did in Minnesota—it is entirely possible for LaVine to be a player capable of getting you 20 points and five assists per game while scoring efficiently and avoiding turnovers. Even if his defense continues to be dreadful, a player who can keep the offense running well from either guard spot is definitely valuable in today’s league. 

In his last season with Minnesota, LaVine had a usage rate of 21.7 percent, a number much lower than his extremely high 29.5 usage rate last season with the Bulls. And while many think of LaVine as a high-volume shooter, his usage rate last year was likely a result of him forcing the issue to try to prove he was worth a significant investment. With his shiny, new contract in tow, LaVine should be focused on making the team better, and get one step closer to his Timberwolves self. On that squad, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins each scored 20+ points per game, while LaVine was averaging 18.9 points per game. And the team finished in the top 10 in the NBA in offensive rating.

It is not crazy to think the Bulls could have their own high-scoring trio in LaVine, Markkanen and Parker. And if that is the case, then the expectation is for LaVine to be a efficient scorer who can occasionally spot the open man. Hyped? Yes. But overhyped? No one is banking on him being an All-Star, though it remains in the realm of possibility. The idea that he is overhyped is based on the fact his new contract is $78 million and he is poor at defense, but this is overlooking the fact that LaVine has proven he is a player capable of having a large role on a top-10 offense. September 30 can’t get here fast enough.  

Fun with tall people: Lauri Markkanen takes photo with Yao Ming and looks short

lauri.jpg
USA TODAY

Fun with tall people: Lauri Markkanen takes photo with Yao Ming and looks short

Lauri Markkanen doesn't often feel short.

The Bulls forward is 7-feet tall, which even in the land of NBA giants makes him one of the tallest players on the court at all times. So when Markkanen stands next to Yao Ming, it changes perspective quite a bit.

Markkanen posted a photo with him and the 7-foot-6 Chinese Hall of Famer. Markkanen looks like a child.

Makes you wonder if Markkanen pulled some "What's the weather like up there?" jokes just because he otherwise never can.