Preps Talk

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pistons

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Pistons

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
5:00 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

DETROITBulls television analyst Stacey King will not be in attendance at Sundays game against the Pistons, after the death of his mother, Lois Jean King, Saturday evening. She was 75. Bulls radio analyst Bill Wennington will join play-by-play man Neil Funk in Kings absence, while Chuck Swirsky will handle radio duties alone Sunday. CSNChicago.com expresses its condolences.

1. In the wake of Derrick Roses three free-throw attemptsdespite repeatedly getting hitSaturday against the Knicks, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau discussed the All-Star point guards lack of whistles going to the hole prior to Sundays game. We want him to get to the line more and we dont want him to not drive because hes not getting the calls. We want him to continue to attack and hes got to drive with force, which he does. I think he drives with speed and when he gets hit, he should be getting the calls. The one thing that he doesnt do is he doesnt exaggerate contact and sometimes in this league, thats what you have to do. Thats probably something that he can work on, butI dont want him to change anything that hes doing. I think a big part of who he is and what makes him so special is when hes attacking in transition. When hes coming at you with a head of steam, I want him to get to the rim as quickly as he can and then make his decision at the rim. I think as time goes on, he will get more and more calls, said Thibodeau. Hes got a great way about him. His demeanor is excellent and hes very respectful of the officials. I think at the appropriate time, he has to make his points to the officials, which I think hes getting better at. Sometimes its hard because of his speed, quickness and strength because its happening so quick, sometimes its not being recognized. But I think, in time, hell get calls.

2. Pistons center Ben Wallace talked about Chicago, his former team, before Sundays game. I think they made a lot of good changes. They got a lot of good pieces with the addition of Carlos Boozer, Brewer. Those guys know how to play and theyve been playing in a structured system where they got a lot of discipline, and you can tell it definitely helps that team out. When they get Joakim back, I only think theyre going to get that much better, Wallace told CSNChicago.com.

3. Wallace also discussed former teammate Luol Deng with CSNChicago.com. Lus a true professional. It doesnt matter what you say, what situation you put him in, you know hes going to find a way to make the best out of the situation. He got criticized when I was there, he still catches some criticism right now, but all he does is go out there and play hard and thats all you can ask, said Wallace. Sometimes, people find somebody they can pick on and thats all they do. But hes always been a professional. He just goes out, plays hard, plays his game, plays within himself and makes the most out of his opportunities.

4. Injured Bulls center Joakim Noah was mentored by Wallace upon entering the NBA, and Big Ben expressed pride in his former protgs development. Joakims not one of those guys whos happy to be out there. Hes out there making a difference. You could see the upside as a rookie. He had that drive, he had that hunger and he had that potential. Now, hes developed into a contender in this league. If he continues to play like that, hes going to be an All-Star in this league.

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

Breaking: LW East AJ Henning to Michigan

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NBC Sports Chicago

Breaking: LW East AJ Henning to Michigan

Lincoln-Way East 4 star ranked running back AJ Henning (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) today gave the University of Michigan his verbal commitment.

"At the end of the day Michigan was just the best overall for me," Henning said. "Michigan has stuck with me in this process for a long time including when I was injured and never backed off. Michigan also recruited me but also  got to know my family well which really made a strong impression on me."

Henning, who narrowed down his final list of schools to Michigan. Georgia, Notre Dame and Penn State new that Michigan was his school after his recent official visit. 

"When I made my official visit to Michigan is when I knew that I found my school. I was able to just get a great feel for the coaches and the guys on the team on my official visits. I just felt that I will be a great fit at Michigan socially, athletically, academically and that I really fit in well with the guys on the team. After my official visit I knew that Michigan was the place I needed to be."

Henning, who ended up selecting Michigan over scholarship offers from 33 FBS schools  is bit thrilled and relived to have announced his college choice.

"It's definitely a relief, but just being able to be recruited and offered scholarships from 33 different schools is a true blessing. I'm just glad I found a home in Michigan."

The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history

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AP

The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history

Listen, Tom. We like you. A lot. You do incredible work and you give us shoutouts. But we had to read through your latest piece, “Ranking the 10 greatest lineups in NBA history,” a few times before realizing you had a massive omission.

We present the following: The 1995-1998 Chicago Bulls.


PG: Ron Harper
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Scottie Pippen
PF: Toni Kukoc
C: Dennis Rodman

Total All-Star appearances: 23
MVP Players: 1
DPOY Players: 2
Finals MVP Players: 1
Titles won together: 3

We thank you for mentioning Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in your piece. They were pretty good, we agree. We’ll dig a little deeper on those two to begin our argument. From 1995 to 1998, Jordan averaged 29.6 points on 48% shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals. He also didn’t miss a game, playing in 304 of a possible 304 games. He was also named league MVP twice and Finals MVP all three years. Pippen wasn’t too shabby a sidekick, averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in that three-year span.

These guys were all-time greats, but you might have forgotten that they weren’t alone.

All Dennis Rodman did in this three-season span was lead the league in rebounding all three years (15.3 per game). He wasn’t the same All-Star talent that he was in his Detroit days – also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year – and his San Antonio stint but he was still critical to the Bulls’ success. The Worm had a little bit of Draymond Green in him, not afraid to take on any defensive assignment to allow the Bulls a little more versatility. He got assignments of Shawn Kemp and Karl Malone in the Finals.

Kukoc is where we bend the rules a bit, but we hope you’ll allow it (mostly because our argument turns to dust if we need to talk about Luc Longley). Kukoc was the 1996 Sixth Man of the Year (hey, you said they could be closing lineups, too) and was a model of consistency in those three seasons. He averaged 13.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists and gave the Bulls another ball handler and distributor, as well as versatile defense. He’s at times the forgotten gem of the Jerry Krause era, and he’s more than just a funny story from the Dream Team era.

The Bulls had their Iguodala, too. Ron Harper averaged a modest 7.7 points and 2.7 assists in these three seasons with the Bulls. But he also did it with a 14.9% usage rate. That was lower than Bill Wennington’s usage rate of 17.0% in that same span! Let’s not forget that Harper had averaged 19.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in eight seasons with the Cavaliers and Clippers before signing with the Jordan-less Bulls. He would have had a much larger and more effective role had Jordan not returned (we’re glad he did). In 1998, Harper also had the pleasure of guarding Gary Payton and John Stockton in the Bulls’ three Finals victories. Have you had enough of the Iggy comparisons yet?

So there it is. Five incredible players to put together three remarkable championship seasons that included the Greatest Team in the History of Basketball (our capitalization intended). Feel free to update your story as needed.