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Chicago Tribune

Chicago Bulls' rookie James Johnson flashes his versatility

So is James Johnson a three/small forward or a four/PF? With Salmons still playing some three and Deng around it looks like he's going to have to play some four. So far it appears his handle/creating facing the basket might make him somewhat of a point forward option. If he accepts his role for now for the good of the team, and Vinny handles the situation with a backbone, but also honesty and respect it will probably turn out alright. Besides his body fat is 12 percent so if he can tone up and lose some of his extra weight he could be lethal wherever he plays. All the comments so far from practices is that he looks impresssive. It'll be interesting to see how he does in summer league. A future scorer usually at least racks up a coupe of games in the high teens or low to mid twenties. Have to watch what Gibson does as well.  (Jul 10, 2009 | post #12)

Las Cruces Sun-News

Back in business: Former Aggie Randy Brown lands job with...

Randy Brown was such a great presence on those Bulls Championship teams. An extremely upbeat guy who also wore the mask of a fiery competitor on the court, and could run with the big dogs. It is great that he is back with the organization and involved with the young players. Good luck Randy!  (Jul 6, 2009 | post #2)

Chicago Tribune

Bulls draft picks James Johnson, Taj Gibson ready to get ...

I don't comment much on here because I don't want to waste the time on the regulars(not all but many of whom) spew a bunch of negative BS every day(apparently because they have no lives). Something like this, drafting new players, start of a new season, the playoffs, then sometimes you get rare contributors who actually have a life and a decent maturity level. Funny thing about the draft, most people comment based on perceptions of what they've heard. Nobody on here has seen Johnson or Gibson play extensively. Nobody. So who are you really to judge, and dismiss someone with a life of hard work and dreams out of hand. Let the heartless hypocrite media do their "job" for god's sake. James Johnson is a very talented offensive player. Question is will his unique skills for a guy his size translate into decent to good NBA player or possibly a star. Yes he's that talented, but only certain guys have the mentaility to be able to produce big numbers night after night. Time will tell. Also, the fools(media) who compare Taj Gibson to Tyrus Thomas better think again. Taj is a very skilled offensive player with a complete repertroire of on the block and mid post moves. His big challenge is to keep his excellent definition while putting on major muscle. If he can he could be a solid offensive contributor in the NBA. And as for Randy Brown, the dude was a great guy and a great contributor for the World Champion Chicago Bulls.  (Jun 29, 2009 | post #7)

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Bulls' new forwards add to team's versatility

So is James Johnson really a three(SF) or a four(PF)? Does he lose some weight(and adds muscle) he's currently at 12% body fat just like our buddy DeJuan Blair. Don't get me wrong, I think Johnson was a great pick, and should be a fine offensive player, possibly a star. But I think people are more projecting him as a small forward. If so, what does that mean for Luol Deng? Either he gets traded, or someone has to move over to the four if Johnson's going to be a starter. Could Deng continue to bulk up ala Anthony Mason to fill in as a hybrid four, and hopefully maintain his decent sf quickness to curl and use screens to get open for jumpers of which the one thing he can do is shoot the ball? The nice thing is Johnson will give the Bulls some on the block scoring(as will Taj Gibson) wherever he plays. It will be interesting to see what happens as it will affect the team in a major way.  (Jun 28, 2009 | post #18)

Chicago Tribune

Taj Gibson a work in progress

Taj Gibson has post skills. He scored 14 ppg in 60% shooting. He has superb lateral quickness defensively. He's NOT another Tyrus Thomas. He's an offensively skilled player with a terrific personality and attitude. He's going to be a solid player for the Bulls. Eventually, he's going to be a rotation guy you could have on a top flight NBA team. I'm glad the Buslls got him. James Johnson has the potential to be a star, or at minimum a very good player who can score. This was the best Bulls draft(Rose was sheer luck and a no-brainer) in a long, long time. Well done Gar Forman.  (Jun 27, 2009 | post #2)

Chicago Tribune

Wyoming town buzzing over new Chicago Bull

James Johnson has got big time skills. He's going to be a very good forward for the Bulls, and he could become a star. Unlike some of the current roster, he's got a very charismatic personality, and hopefully that can help the team to find a real identity and bond. Oustanding draft pick Gar Forman. Thank god he fell to us.  (Jun 27, 2009 | post #2)

Chicago Tribune

All quiet on Chicago Bulls front

I watched Taj Gibson play all season, and James Johnson some too. These guys are both offensively skilled players and NBA caliber athletes. What's more, their attitudes and maturity are both terrific. This was just an excellent job of drafting by the Bulls, and also a great stroke of luck as teams went for need and not best available which would have had Johnson long gone at No. 16.  (Jun 26, 2009 | post #37)

Chicago Tribune

Memphis reports no proof of misconduct in Derrick Rose case

First of all, I think Derrick, if he did know someone was taking an SAT for him/cheated, he should hold a press conference, and simply state if he either initiated or went along with it. Just state he's sorry for circumventing a system, but really just wanted to play basketball on the accepted next level before the pros. And that's it. You've done your part, you don't have to live in a void or a shadow. As it stands: If you look like a silent victim, sometimes people will make you into one. When Derrick speaks a lot of times he sounds timid, and very bland/uninterestin g. That could just be from a sheltered life or simply youth. Sometimes, appearing inferior that's all it takes to become a lightning rod. People want a star to smile a lot, and be charismatic with something entertaining to say. Since Derrick so far hasn't shown these things, I'm sure some are frustrated that someone with his talent/position is so lacking in these areas. That makes it a lot easier for people to pick on you. It's funny that none of this stuff(changed grade/possible cheating on SAT) never surfaces until after the white guys/NCAA have made their money and enjoyed the hoopla. You know what, **** the NCAA. If it's true that Memphis/Calipari never graduated a single player from its basketball program or even a majority of them never graduated, then that's fraud plaine and simple. Those are not students period. And the NCAA by going along with it are the ones enabling that fraud. If the NCAA doesn't come under some major fire by congress(course they're corrupt as they've ever been right now too) or the NBA doesn't figure out another way for athletes to "train"/ play in a youth/minor league system for a year or two after H.S., and just eliminate the NCAA from blocking legit athletic stars who do not qualify for an education by SAT/ACT standards, and are only interested in pursuing a professional career. The final tragedy is that so many parents are failing their kids as role models and public schools in poor areas are so academically and behaviorally disfunctional/inad equate. In Derrick's case he is such a phenom it can almost be excused that he was apparently so one dimensionally focused on basketball, but he still should have learned passing H.S. english, science, history etc. to have some basic grounding/understa nding for his own life and how he relates to the rest of the world. If he has, then fine, case closed. If not, he has undoubtedly been cheated, and in a sense cheated himself. Being a prodigy is no excuse for ignorance. That said, Derrick appears to be a huble, morally terrific person, and I think he would serve himself well, if he hasn't already aquired this knowldge, by getting his basic H.S. equivalency in english, history, social studies, and science to have the knowledge to be empowered in his own life. If Derrick did get a proper H.S. education then good for him. By the way, I don't think changing one grade from a D to a C qualifies for an "embroiling controversy" as the typical judge and jury hyped reporter characterizes things. Up yours Hamilton.  (Jun 4, 2009 | post #45)

Orlando Sentinel

Gators point guard Nick Calathes is turning pro -- but no...

If you look at Nick's numbers, his assist/TO ratio is about 2 to 1 which stacks up with other sucessful NBA points coming out of college, especially when he's over six a game which is outstanding. That doesn't mean he may not get careless with the ball at times, but his numbers are what they are. Also for 17 ppg a 48% field goal percentage is terrific. Nick may have only average lateral quickness covering opponents defensively, but any guard in the five rebound range in consecutive years and over 1.8 steals shows solid evidence of some level of exceptional athleticism none the less. If he can put on muscle with his big height advantage(for a PG) there's no reason to believe he couldn't be a solid player in the NBA some day. Why take a chance on getting drafted in the mid second round and make no money when he can be garunteed instant financial security. I don't know if he comes across personally as a jerk or something(?), otherwise I don't understand the hate.  (May 24, 2009 | post #40)

Chicago Tribune

Coach Vinny Del Negro reflects on 1st season

Ben is a great offensive player as long as he doesn't overdribble. Problem is, he gets his butt beat when he goes into the paint because he's 6'1. Defensively he's a midget for the SG position giving up 51 to Ray Allen. Ben trying to get through screens is like a midget trying to push through a revolving door of bigs. He should have signed while he had the chance, and embraced the sixth man role. He didn't. If he doesn't want to sign a three year deal for $8.5 Mil or less bye bye Ben. Bulls need to raid another franchise in dire financial straits. Case in point: New Orleans Hornets. David West has the big contract they need to dump as they are at $76 Mill payroll, and there's no way they take that kind of luxury tax hit. Orleans has shown they can appraise talent(Paul/West), and after this year's implosion a change might not be bad anyway. Bulls give Two first round picks #16 and #26 and Ty Thomas or Tim Thomas' expiring contract. If necessary next year's No. 1 as well. West is an All-Star who can score in a variety of ways, and has the drive/desire to win. Leaving Byron Scott's Pat Riley Jr Cheap Shot/Punk academy will bring him back into the fold of being a dedicated player who wants to win. The real problem is Deng, If Toronto loses Marion/doesn't resign offer Deng(who Coangelo likes) and Ty Thomas for any near expiring contracts we can get. John Salmons needs to stay at SF. Paul Pierce at SG is not a natural postion and not nearly as effective and that's a paralell comparison for Salmons. They get West and lose Deng, and use the freed up Ben Gordon funds to get a two way SG like Ron Artest, they will be a very, very competitive and entertaining team next year.  (May 4, 2009 | post #33)

Chicago Tribune

Inevitably, Bulls will have changes

I agree with Robert that trading up for DeMar DeRozan would be an exciting move because he has the insane athleticism: hops, lateral quickness etc. that just about all NBA SG studs possess. And he can shoot plus he has the nice presence/charisma thing going. Only question mark is his dribbling. He's fine right handed, but lefty currently he might as well not have a left hand. However, a lot of guys with his overall speed and talent work this out/improve same as they do with their D. If they trade their picks away to a financially struggling franchise, I hate to say this, But I might consider targeting David West. He's an All-Star big who can score in a variety of ways, and despite some of his bonehead and cheap shot plays, I think getting away from Byron Scott aka Pat Riley Jr. and Chris wannabee gangster Paul, he's a hard worker and could be a hard working teammate. John Salmons, Brad Miller, West could be the third and final taking advantage of a tanking economy small market team in dire straits. New Orleans will be in the red enxt year(luxury tax) if they don't exchange their only desirbale high paid player for young promising draft picks whom they have been good at appraising. If they get West they'll be a much improved team next year, and needing a good defensive assistant coach to round out the other chink in the bull's armour. It will be interesting to see if they keep Ben. He's really helped carry the Bulls to some unexpected heights like him or not, and I do believe in loyalty for that performance, but will see. Hope Pax(and Jerry R.) can do the right thing. Go Bulls.  (May 3, 2009 | post #19)

Chicago Tribune

Derrick Rose knows he has to adjust

I hope Derrick spent the last two days(and nights) trying to learn how to slip over screens on the pick and roll, and playing tight instead of laying off loose making life easy for Rondo. It really is unfair to throw the responsibility of guarding maybe the fastest PG in the playoffs without good team help defense of which the Bulls have none at a rookie because defense is always the last thing to come. Scottie Pippen was a terrible defender as a rookie, they called him "Highway 33", but went on to become one of the greatest one on one defenders of all time. Hinrich's been no better, and the coaches have done a terrible job handling pick and rolls defensively(and offensively) all year. I hope for Derrick's sake someone has reached out to him that knows what the hell they are talking about, and tried to practice with him slipping screens and playing tight. It's the Bulls only chance to slow or stop the guy who's been killing them and any chance of winning. Also, Tyrus and Joakim have to "look" for the ball when Celtics double Derrick and make the extra pass to another cutter as Boston's good D will rotate. All of this is asking for a miracle which is what it will take for the Bulls to win this game. If Derrick plays much better defensively on Rondo, that could get the transition/fast break game going. Who knows.. maybe we have a chance  (Apr 26, 2009 | post #4)

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Bulls' bigs need to burn Boston Celtics' defense

Rajon Rondo is killing the Bulls. How many rookies, including Scottie Pippen were just awful defenders? The sad thing is that has been amplified by the Bulls lousy pick and roll/point guard defender coaching. Proven by Hinrich(not just Rose)also playing off/loose on Rondo, and going under on pick and rolls instead of playing tight, and slipping over the top of screens. The Bulls coaching has obviously been horrible both on defending pick and rolls and not running them offensively the way good teams now run them with moving picks obstructing the defending guard and stopping movement only right before contact. Sometimes teams(like the Celtics) even use to two bigs as screeners at the foul line facing the direction of the oncoming defender moving to obstruct him, and only stopping right before contact. You'll even see today's moving screeners even get away with putting hands on the defender or arms out to make sure they "catch" the defending guard. The Bulls have embraced none of these new age screening tactics all year. They better start now, especially defensively if they are to have any chance against Rondo, and any chance in this next game. If Derrick Rose(and Hinrich) haven't spent the last two days in the Berto center constantly practicing playing tight on the guard, and slipping the screen, then they deserve to lose. Period. If they haven't gotten the urgency of correcting this failure by now, then god help them. Rondo's good and has great speed, but playing loose on him and just begging to run into the Celtics bigs is just like being paid by Rondo's agent to make him look like the best PG of all time. BUlls.. WAKE UP!  (Apr 25, 2009 | post #12)

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Bulls blown out 107-86

The Bulls defense was awful most of the season. Boston's was soild and at times good. In a playoff setting, godd defense(and two All-Stars) are going towin over no All-Stars and poor defense just about every time. The way the Bulls handle the pick and roll both offensively and defensively is antiquated. Teams now run the picking big across the top of the key while the point is swopping by stopping the pick at the last second as to not get the moving screen viloation. Sometimes they even have two bigs running across the middle or the top of the lane and stopping even putting hand on the defensive pursuer which somehow the league/NBA curiously allows. Too bad the Bulls Mom and Pop store crew along with vincent haven't adjusted their old school style of handling pick and rolls offensively and defensively all year long. And let's not forget Scottie Pippen, one of the best one on one defenders of all time, was originally a horrid defender nicknamed highway 33 in his early years. Derrick suffers as many rooks do defensively lacking, but he also doesn't have Johnny Bach or Phil Jackson, or even Boston's Tom Thibedau coaching him either. If not for lucking into Derrick and having the ebst salary matches for sacramento's struggling "franchise " to dump thirty million dollars, we wouldn't have had John Salmons and Miller either. This season would have been utter implosion as it much of the time looked like it would be if not for derrick, and Paxson would have been fired in disgrace after season's end. How in gods name could you ever expect to win defensively in the playoffs spending a No. 3 Lottery pick on a 6'1 scoring guard in ben Gordon or a no post game or offensive game period No. 2 or No. 4 pick in Tyrus Thomas. Paxson has no business being GM. Some day he will be gone, and the only thing we really have to look forward to is the socially awkward, but immensely talented one year removed from high school rookie Derrick Rose. A great kid and some day the first or second best point guard in this league. Too bad the seasoned and very properly prepared and coached Rondo is making him look so bad right now. Oh well, maybe a miracle will happen and somehow the Bull's coaches will learn how today's pick and rolls are supposed to be executed and covered.  (Apr 23, 2009 | post #44)

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Bulls playoff newcomers did just fine

Noah and Tyrus were off the hook. It must continue in game 2. Salmons, Gordon, and Miller need to go off. You need to hit more threes in game 2(Salmons and Gordon). Thibedau will make adjustments. Bulls need to put players in different roles/areas of the court as drivers/give different looks. Mega spacing beyond the three to give Rose, Salmons, and Ben Gordon room to drive/operate. They're going to double more, and Noah and Tyrus better be ready to drive agressively with no hesitation and attack the basket. Boston will come with a lot more defensive fire in game two. Bulls coaches(and players) better be ready with adjustments and counter measures to attack because good defenses always overplay to shut you down, and you have to be willing to do the unexpected. Believe it or not Noah and Tyrus are good enough dribbling the ball in open spaces to take advantage, and drive to the basket. But the Bulls coaches better be up for the task. Go Bulls.  (Apr 19, 2009 | post #3)

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