Bears

Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
CSNChicago.com
What if the Bulls didn't get the No. 1 pick in 2008?

That is precisely what Darrell Horwitz discusses in his Bleacher Report article, "Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls: What If They Didn't Get the No. 1 Pick?" The odds of getting the No. 1 pick in the lottery was a mere 1.9 percent chance. Luck was smiling on the Bulls.

So what would have happened if the Bulls weren't lucky that night? Would the Bulls even be in the playoff hunt? Would Carlos Boozer have come to Chicago without Rose? Would Tom Thibodeau have chosen the Bulls? Would Kirk Hinrich still be the point guard?

For a team that has the promise of future championships awaiting them, it is certainly interesting to reflect on what might have been. (Bleacher Report)

Ochocinco coming to a soccer field near you?

Chad Ochocinco is getting a backup plan together to prepare for a potention NFL-less fall. According to USA Today, Ochocinco is set for a four-day tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer starting Tuesday. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver began playing soccer at age 4 and is friends with soccer stars Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

"Due to the NFL lockout, I'm excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team," Ochocinco said.

Sportinng Kansas City said that it would determine whether to extend the trial period after the tryout. (USA Today)

Campbell, Bolland still out with injuries

Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland will not return to the lineup for the Blackhawks' game against Dallas on Thursday. Campbell suffered an injury to his left leg against the Florida Panthers last week and did not practice Wednesday. He could meet the team in Glendale for their game against the Coyotes on Sunday.

Bolland will sit out for the next two games and won't make the trip to DallasPhoenix because of his concussion. His status has not improved since Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed him in the head last week. (CSNChicago.com)
Bulls approaching 50 wins

The 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls are on track to reach 50 wins this season. Surmounting that number would mark the first time the team has reached 50 wins since Michael Jordan roamed the court during the 1997-98 season.

Ryan Christopher DeVault believes that this could be the Bulls' chance to finally break that 50-win plateau. He also says confidently that the most successful seasons of the Bulls have all ended in NBA titles. (Yahoo Sports)

Bears scout at Illinois' pro day

Representatives from 30 of the league's 32 teams were on hand at the Illini pro day, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and six representatives from the Bears. Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer helped put Mikel Leshoure through drills after a long chat while the linemen were working out.

Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli put Corey Liuget and defensive end Clay Nurse through drills. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Ex-Fire Bocanegra makes U.S. exhibition roster

Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne, France) is one of twenty players that play abroad selected to a 24-man roster as the United States host exhibition games against Argentina and Paraguay. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) and Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England) head the roster selected by U.S. coach Bob Bradley. Bradley did not select any players from the Chicago Fire.

Players will train in Cary, N.C. and play Argentina on March 26 in New Jersey. Three days later the team will take on Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn. (Tribune News Services)

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.