K.C. Johnson's answers

K.C., I've noticed that Bulls players tend to air their grievances through the press. First it was Jamal Crawford whining, and now it's Eddie Robinson lamenting his lack of playing time. Communication through sportswriters can't be a good omen. Any thoughts? --Pete, New Haven, Conn.

Communication through sportswriters is a very good thing, or at least that's what my editors think. I understand your point. But it's not like those guys are saying stuff that Bill Cartwright already doesn't know. Would he rather they not complain to us? Probably. But he understands it's part of the league. And one of the athletes' job is talking to us nosy reporters every day. Here's the other point, which I've tried to make in my stories: We could probably write one of these stories every day if we wanted to. Maybe not to the degree that Eddie Robinson went off, but in a similar vein. Every player in the NBA wants to play more. Almost every player in the NBA thinks he should play more. That's the nature of this league.

Isn't it time to give up the triangle offense? Phil Jackson and Tex Winters are gone and the Bulls have a completely different team. Look what happened when they started running screen and rolls and other plays. Williams had a triple-double against the best point guard in the NBA, and the Bulls beat the Nets! --Henry Lu, Corvallis, Ore.

Hi, KC, when will the Bulls scrap the triangle offense? The triangle takes years and years to learn and execute effectively. Tyson, Eddy and Jay could actually focus on defense if they didn't have to spend so much time learning the triangle. Krause got rid of MJ, Scottie, Phil and even Ray Clay! Why doesn't he get rid of the triangle as well? --Travis J. Smith, Burlington, Vt.

For starters, Bill Cartwright swears by it. But Cartwright also thinks too much is made of the triangle. The Bulls have several actions and set plays that originate from the triangle, which is really just the Bulls' basic offensive set. They don't always run the same triangle offense every time down the floor. But trust me: As long as Cartwright is the coach, that's the basic system that the Bulls will use.

K.C., we always talk about the players but not the front office -- who is the MVP of the Bulls management team? Jerry Krause? Finance, salary cap guru Irwin Mandel? Steve Schanwald in Marketing? I'm curious because it seems like a well-run organization, despite some frustrating performances from the team. Thanks. --Josh Gray, Chicago

How about Joe O'Neil, the man with the tickets? There are plenty of people behind the scenes who help make the Bulls run. Jerry Krause always says that he couldn't do his job without Karen Stack, his longtime assistant. Irwin is one of the most respected financial men in the league. Thanks for the story idea, by the way.

Alright, I've been following the pacers and have been seeing the numbers Artest and Miller are putting up. A year later, would you still endorse this trade? --Matt C., Chicago

Me personally? Absolutely. The trade perfectly filled needs for both teams. The Bulls needed a star and go-to fourth quarter player. They got Jalen. Indiana needed toughness and defense. They got Miller and Artest. To get quality, you have to give up quality. And, as much as I miss him for what I do, the Bulls also got rid of Artest's unpredictability.

K.C., the Bulls' free throw shooting is becoming ridiculous to watch now. A well-coached high school team can consistently shoot 65 percent of their free throws, and here we have plenty of NBA players clanking them off the rim. Is Bill Cartwright spending time in practice making player shoot free throw after free throw? Mark my prediction - if the Bulls don't start shooting 70 percent from the line, they'll miss out on a playoff berth this season in the last game because JayWill will miss a free throw. --Eric Zhou, Vancouver

Playoffs? You've been without basketball for too long up there in Vancouver. (Great city, by the way. Still bitter it's not in the league. Vacationed there this summer.) But I hear your point. Bill has been walking a fine line. He wants them to get extra practice, but he also doesn't want to draw too much attention to the problem because he thinks it's mostly mental. They do shoot free throws after every practice, though. And perhaps the Bulls will get a visit from Dr. Tom, some retired podiatrist who Bill trotted out last season. He's 80 years old and once made 2,750 straight.

Do you think Donyell Marshall is blossoming now because he is playing his natural position of power forward/center, rather than playing out of position at small forward in Utah because Karl Malone occupied power forward. After all, Donyell Marshall was the No. 4 pick of the draft years back. --Mike, Woodbridge, Ill.

I think that has a lot to do with Donyell's early-season success. I also think this guy is just a maturing basketball player. He understands his role, doesn't make waves and is so long that he gets rebounds in the smaller Eastern Conference. He's been a steal thus far.

Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week from the road,