Bulls

White Sox return home no worse for wear

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White Sox return home no worse for wear

They would have preferred to play better. They always do.

But when the White Sox wake up at home on Thursday morning, they can do so satisfied they played above-.500 baseball during a stretch where 16 of their 19 games were on the road.

Included in the teams first 19 games out of the All-Star break were four contests at Boston, three at Detroit and three in Texas. Not to mention a five-game losing streak. Though they spent most of the previous three weeks living out of their suitcases, the White Sox went 10-9 and find themselves in nearly the same position they were in when they broke for the All-Star Game.

The White Sox -- who open a nine-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday -- maintained a 2 1 2-game lead over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. They led the Tigers by three games on July 13.

Thats a tough stretch, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. You come back off the All-Star break and most of them are on the road. You were home for a couple of days at most. You know, its tough. Its not easy. You go out on the road and tough teams, and you kind of held your own. Now, its time to go home and win some games.

The White Sox home record isnt any better than how they play away from U.S. Cellular. The team is five games above .500 at home (27-22) and on the road (30-25). Of late, however, the Sox have won eight of their last nine home games.

Its going to be nice to go back at home and play in front of our home fans and be in our own beds, closer Addison Reed said. Its fun playing anywhere, its just a little nicer playing at home.

Larger crowds -- perhaps boosted by the June 24 acquisition of Kevin Youkilis --may have improved the home cooking even more.

In their last home series, a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins last week, the White Sox drew three straight 30,000-plus crowds, including two sellouts. It was the teams largest three-day total since the Cubs visited from June 20-22, 2011.

Thats a big boost for us, Ventura said.

It might give us an advantage, outfielder Alex Rios said.

Any advantage would be OK with the White Sox, who expect a dogfight with the Tigers to extend into early October. The team has added reliever Brett Myers and starting pitcher Francisco Liriano in the last 10 days in what is expected to give the pitching staff a veteran boost. The two should allow the White Sox to rely less on younger pitchers and afford rest time for first-year starters Chris Sale and Jose Quinanta.

But the big key for the team is consistency, pitcher Jake Peavy said.

Youre going to ride your good and bad streaks, but you want to be consistent from here on out, Peavy said. Love the moves Kenny (Williams) has made. Were going to regroup and have a few off days in the next few weeks.

"Were excited about the off day, to take care of business. Those off days help so we can keep running our regular guys out there and it helps pitching wise, to give Sale some extra rest and not abuse guys. Would have liked to play better in Detroit and Boston. But you see the resiliency and attitude of this team.

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

According to Bleacher Report, Wendell Carter Jr. would be taken fourth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies if the NBA were to redraft this year’s class based off of Summer League performances.

It may sound like a crazy concept (and it is), but Carter Jr. averaged the second most points, 14.6, through five July games in Las Vegas. He also averaged 9.4 rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field while averaging 28.8 minutes in his glamorous first-stint with Chicago. Those numbers are even more striking if you consider Carter Jr.’s 42.9 percent shooting from behind the three-point line.

Carter Jr., the real seventh overall pick of this year’s NBA Draft, looked like the all-around player the Bulls were hoping to get this offseason. He made his blocking abilities as a center known from the moment he stepped on the court in Summer League.

In their re-draft, Bleacher Report had Chicago using the No. 7 pick on the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, who was actually taken 36th overall in last month’s Draft.

Robinson, a center, averaged 13 points and 24.8 minutes per game over five Summer League contests. He was the best rebounder on his team with an average of 10.2 in the five games that the Knicks played.

The 20-year-old took the second most shots on the Knicks and had the highest field goal percentage at 67 percent, but Robinson did not have any three-point attempts.  What made his recent production seem even more surprising was the fact that the 7'1'' big man did not play a single minute of college basketball.

But would Robinson fit in the Bulls’ system?

Chicago has taken on an offensie-first mentality, so Robinson would not be as great of a fit in the Bulls lineup as Carter Jr., but he would still be an impact player. He can be compared to the Bulls’ current center Robin Lopez, who averaged a similar amount of points per game (11.8 points in 26.4 minutes) last season as Robinson’s Summer League average (13 points in 24.8 minutes). And like Lopez, Robinson would be most effecive around the basket and in the pick-and-roll.

Robinson would also have to learn the defensive concepts that a veteran like Lopez has mastered over his 10-year career.

Next season, the Bulls will have an exciting scoring trio of Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. And the fact that Carter Jr. is getting so much love in the national spotlight is yet another reason for Bulls  fans to be excited about this upcoming season.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: