Hinrich-Robinson backcourt gives Bulls a new dimension


Hinrich-Robinson backcourt gives Bulls a new dimension

The way Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson played together in the Bulls 103-87 win Friday night over the Warriors at the United Center, it seemed like the backcourt pairing had been playing together forever.

But believe it or not, the duo had never even practiced being a guard tandem and have rarely been on the court together thus far this season.

It gives us a lot. Tonight, they were a small team, as well, so it worked out really well. We havent ever really done it in practice, Hinrich, who insisted that his shots felt good all year, in light of some his recent performances, explained. Its just one of those things. Just go out there, play to our strengths and try to make the right basketball play.

Robinson, who echoed Hinrichs never, when asked about the dual point-guard set, added, It just made it easier for us. I know if I pass to him, he can dribble or catch and shoot, make plays. It just felt natural.

It happens like that sometimes, he continued. Got the hot hand, Kirky got us going. Weve just got to find a way to win and today, the ball just found the basket.

Whatever the case, the move worked out brilliantly for the Bulls, as Hinrich finished with a team, game and personal season-high 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 6-of-7 from three-point range, as well as four assists, while Robinson chipped in with 22 points of his own on 10-for-16 shooting, featuring 11 second-quarter points upon entering the contest, along with four assists of his own.

Kirk and Nate were terrific together, too. We were sort of forced into that because of who they had on the floor. They played extremely well together and they played well off each other, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. I liked the way Nate and he can go back and forth. I think its a good option to have. You have multiple guys who can go off the dribble, get into pick-and-rolls, read things.

Carlos Boozer added: The last few games, to be honest, Kirks been playing great. Nates always aggressive offensively. But it makes the game easier for everybody.

Sure, the coach went to the alignment because of Golden States pairing of point guards Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack, but it gave the Bulls a new dimension and whether for the near future or down the road, when Derrick Rose eventually returns to the lineup, its something to think about.

That was a big part of why we signed Kirk, is the fact that hes played both positions and has played it well, Thibodeau said of Hinrich, who has played next to Rose in the backcourt, after all. He can run a team, you can move him to the two-guard.

As for Robinson, making the victory sweeter was the fact that it came against one of his former teams, the Warriors, who he played for last season.

It definitely does, so for me, I just thank Coach Mark Jackson, Golden States head coach for giving the opportunity he did last year, he said. Definitely a humble individual, great man and he helped me out a lot to get me where I am today.

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”