A Bulls mailbag

Do you have any Bulls questions? Tweet them to me, @reasonabullblog

Below are today’s questions, and their corresponding answers.

How do you see the next year playing out with Rose and Butler? The two obviously didn’t mesh well on the court as they are both ball-dominant guards. – @Cavs216_Mania

The backcourt mates have not logged that many minutes playing alongside each other. With that being said, chemistry was certainly an issue last season. They had a tendency to alternate possessions, where one would attack or dominate the ball, then the other. It was a brand of my turn, your turn basketball, which will not win in the NBA on a consistent basis.

Two Ball-dominant guards can coexist, and they showed it during stretches of last season. However, they have to develop a really strong feel for each other’s game. This is something that Butler said he wants to try to work on with Rose this summer, as he hopes the two will work out together. There are a few proven examples the Bulls can look to.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ starting backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, both dominated the ball and took a lot of shots, while logging a ton of minutes together. Maybe Butler and Rose should have their mothers move in with them too.

To use an even more polarizing example, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook share the court, and they both fill it up. And now they are on the cusp of the NBA Finals tonight in Oakland.

I am a firm believer that there is still hope for this backcourtThey were both able to shoot it a lot this season, and at relatively even clip. However, in my opinion I think the Bulls are better off with Rose handling the ball more often, and pushing the pace.

I hope they get one more shot to make it work together next season, because neither can do it alone.

As I touched on in the response above, I think that both should return. At this point, all of the Butler trade speculation has gone too far. He is a two-time All-Star and a great two-way player who is locked up to a relatively reasonable deal considering the salary cap is going up so much over the next two seasons. There is no real fair market value for him, unless the Sixers or the Lakers offered the first or second pick, which they won’t.

I think Rose will be back as well, because again, there is not much value for him out there. Teams will be hesitant to try to acquire him until he can prove his health, and play well for another season.

However, as painful as this is for me to say, if I had to pick who to shop, I would choose Rose.

I have an odd feeling that he will be in the hunt for Comeback Player of the Year next season. Far too many fans dogged his play this past season, but if you look at his numbers after Christmas, they are very solid.

With the NBA evolving into a more fast-paced, 3-point shooting game, how do you see [Joakim] Noah fitting in with the team, assuming he returns next season? – @Cavs216_Mania

If Joakim Noah does return for the Bulls next season — although at this point there are completely opposing reports coming out of Chicago speculating on just that — he can fit into the pace and space game.

Noah will never be a center who helps you spread the floor on offense by shooting 3-pointers. However, he does help space the floor in every other aspect of the game. He is able to set screens, and run the offense from the high post, which is very rare for a big man. He is a will over skill player who crashes the offensive boards. This is key as shooters in today’s fast-paced game are better served not following their shots, as it leads to easy fast-break opportunities on the other end.

Defensively there is no question that Noah, when healthy, is able to play this style. He is arguably the best defensive center in the league. He won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2014. He not only protects the rim, but he has the ability to hedge on pick-and-rolls, as well as switch onto guards and wings.

As the game gets faster, and smaller, Noah’s most valuable asset is his ability to switch. He is able to guard the perimeter at a very high level for his size.

If you watch the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City has been able to play Golden State so effectively on the defensive end because of their ability to switch every matchup. This is not just Durant and Westbrook switching on a Steph Curry-Klay Thompson pick-and-roll, Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka are able to switch it as well. Any combination of those four players have been able to guard a Curry-Draymond Green pick-and-roll as well. In the Eastern Conference, ESPN’s Zach Lowe points out that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will have a hard time staying on the floor, due to their inability to do just that.

Noah can play in any style of game you ask him to. The only question is, will his body every be the same?

I’ll let the video below do the rest of the talking for me.

Where to begin. Well as I wrote about today, one massively critical aspect for the Bulls to address this offseason is, their heart.

Let’s get all of the unrealistic offseason options off the table right away.

The Bulls will not trade Jimmy Butler. They will not trade Derrick Rose, unless an insane offer – first-round pick or picks, and a young quality-rotation player – is presented to them. But in my opinion they both will be – and should be – back in Chicago next season.

Pau Gasol will not be back. He will opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent, which is a good thing for the Bulls. Despite his back-to-back All-Star appearances he put up some largely empty numbers. He was also a complete defensive liability every night, despite some of his gaudy rebounding and blocked shot numbers. This bring us to Joakim Noah, a player I think the Bulls should re-sign, if he wants to be back in Chicago and if will take a relatively team-friendly deal.

There are some big-name free agents on the market this offseason. However, most of the bigger-name wings — Harrison BarnesChandler ParsonsNicolas Batum — will likely get max money this offseason. A player that would be a great fit in Chicago would be Noah’s college teammate, Al Horford. But he will soon be on the wrong side of 30, and he will command a max deal on the open market.

The Bulls could look for a player like Bismack Biyombo, who will not be a max player, but after his steller play, will be paid a lot. However, I think that given some time, Cristiano Felicio could evolve into a better version of Biyombo. And let’s not forget Bobby Portis, who most people in the Bulls organization are very high on.

The Bulls should pursue 3-and-D guys, who can help switch on defense and space the floor on offense. Allen Crabbe is just that guy, and he will not command huge money.

With the 14th pick, assuming they don’t try to trade up, they should pursue a point guard, an athletic small forward or a stretch bigGonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis is a name that is being floated around for the 14th pick. It seems like he can really play, and if he is anything like his dad, the Bulls could do far worse.

I am leaning towards drafting a point guard, as I have mentioned earlier. However, more depth at the wing would really help as well. Jaylen Brown is a young small forward from Cal, who I am very high on after reading more about him and watching his highlights online.

With Dwight Howard heading for free-agency, should the Bulls make a run at him? – @Cavs216_Mania

Please don’t let this happen. If Bulls fans thought the team was dysfunctional last season, Howard’s presence would turn Chicago into a real clown show; just ask the Lakers, Rockets and Stan Van Gundy.

Keeping it very short here, because I feel that strongly about him.

Thank you for all of your questions, and please keep them coming. Feel free to reach out with any and all questions @reasonabullblog. I will be sure to get back to you.

Until next time Bulls fans.

This entry was posted in Chicago Bulls, Mailbag, NBA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Bulls mailbag

  1. Nice to find a good Bulls blog. Looking forward to following!


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