Bulls

Word on the Street: Rose makes SI cover

Word on the Street: Rose makes SI cover

Thursday, April 14, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Rose makes his first SI cover

Bulls fans will see something they haven't seen in over a decade this week; one of their players on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Derrick Rose is on the cover of this week's magazine, the first Bull to do so since Michael Jordan. And if he keeps playing the way he has been, it's unlikely that this will be his last time on the cover of the magazine. However, it will be a while before he catches up to Jordan's record 57 cover appearances. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

MLB instant replay on the way?

HardBall Talk is reporting that Major League Baseball may be expanding the use of instant replay starting with the 2012 season. The expansion would include fairfoul calls down the lines and trap calls - as when an outfielder dives and traps the ball under his glove instead of catching it. (HardBall Talk)

Bear (jersey sales) down

Bears jerseys are not selling. At least, not in comparison to the sales enjoyed by certain Bears in the past. Over the last decade Brian Urlacher has sold more jerseys than almost any other player in the NFL. However, this year, not a single Bear cracked the top 15 in jersey sales.

The league leader in jersey sales was Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, followed by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Despite not having a top-selling jersey, though, the Bears still came in fourth in total merchandise sales behind the Packers, Steelers, and Cowboys. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Ex-Bears QB arrested

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass, who was behind center for the bears from 1969-1975, was arrested in Lake Forest on Wednesday night and charged with criminal trespassing and criminal damage to property.

Officials said that the charges against Douglass, 63, stemmed from an incident involving his on-again, off-again girlfriend. (Chicago Tribune)

Bulls favored to win East
According to DonBest.com, a sports betting website, the Bulls are a plus-130 favorite to win the Eastern Conference title. They are followed closely by the Miami Heat and then, slightly more distantly, the Boston Celtics. Apparently, now that the Bulls have clinched the NBA's best record, people are starting to take notice. (www.donbest.com)

Sox getting some respect

Capperspicks.com, an online betting website, lists the Chicago White Sox as number six on their MLB power rankings. The Sox sit behind the Rangers, Indians, Rockies, Reds and Phillies in the rankings. In case were wondering...the Cubs were number 25. (CappersPicks)

Re-focused Zach LaVine primed to bounce back: ‘I want to prove to myself what all this hard work is for’

44063081_400550437148122_4909024156198109184_n.jpg
USA TODAY

Re-focused Zach LaVine primed to bounce back: ‘I want to prove to myself what all this hard work is for’

Healthy in October for the first time in three seasons, Zach LaVine entered training camp as the $78 million man looking to justify one of the summer’s largest deals that many criticized.

And just a few days into camp, the spotlight homed in on him further when the Bulls lost Lauri Markkanen to an elbow injury.

LaVine responded to both challenges, putting together a preseason performance that not even the most optimistic expectations could have included.

In just 22.3 minutes he averaged 17.8 points on 52 percent shooting, made 44 percent of his triples and got to the free throw line a team best 4.8 times per game. In short, he looked much more like the potential franchise-building piece the Bulls believed they were acquiring 19 months ago.

“I’m my hardest critic, so there’s nothing on the outside that I haven’t told myself of where I want to be at. You want to tell the doubters on the outside I told you so, but it’s mostly coming from a place where I want to prove to myself what all this hard work is for.’’

The fifth-year shooting guard was fluid, attacked in a variety of ways and looked like part of the offense, something that at times was non-existent during last year’s injury-riddled comeback season. Taking shots in rhythm, attacking the rim instead of settling for contested jumpers, running the floor. LaVine looked a lot like the player who shot 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep before the ACL injury in 2017.

“I think I found a good rhythm and then just keep that going into the regular season. I think last year still, I was trying to catch my rhythm with the games I played,” LaVine said Monday at the Advocate Center. “I’d play two good games and two bad games. I felt like that up and down was a little bit with the consistency of not playing. Now that I’m back fully I think that’s where I should be.”

The offensive uptick is a sight for sore eyes, especially with Markkanen on the mend. But where LaVine can quiet his harshest critics – including himself – is on the defensive end.

It’s just a five-game sample size, but LaVine’s individual defensive rating of 97.3 was better than the team’s overall 100.2 rating. A year ago, LaVine’s defensive rating was 113.9, the worst on the team, and worse than the team’s overall 110.4 mark. They’re baby steps, but steps nonetheless for a player who knows what the book says about him on that end of the floor.

“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” he said. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’

The preseason is one hurdle cleared, but they get much taller and difficult to get over when Thursday and the Philadelphia 76ers come around. No matter who starts in the frontcourt – Fred Hoiberg isn’t ready to announce Bobby Portis and Wendell Carter Jr. yet – or if the Bulls get good Jabari Parker instead of preseason Jabari Parker, all eyes will be on LaVine.

It’s the contract. It’s being the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butle trade. It’s how well he played before the injury and how dominant he looked in the preseason. He’s off to a good start and knows now is this time to build on it.

“There are a lot of things you want to reach and get better at every year, and I put a lot of work into this offseason,” he said. “I have a lot of things to prove and want to get better at, and yeah, I feel like it’s just motivation for yourself when you want to accomplish things.’’

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

The NBA preseason has finished and teams are finalizing their rosters before the beginning of the regular season.

For the Bulls, that meant claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers and signing him to a two-way contract.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported the move.

Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.

The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.

The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.