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Donyell Marshall's play for the Bulls this season has almost made me forget the Elton Brand trade; unfortunately, Eddy Curry's play hasn't. Just curious, but can you speculate on what the Bulls might look like if the Elton Brand trade hadn't been made? Thanks.
Bill Lyons, Shorewood, Ill.
It's hard to, because they might not have lost as many games as they did last season and thus not have been in position to draft Jay Williams. But assuming they did, they probably would have a lineup of Williams, Hassell, Rose, Brand and Curry. They probably wouldn't have signed Marshall, either, because they would've had Brand. They would've used that mid-level exception for somebody else, maybe Devean George. I actually think most of the moves they've made since trading Brand have been good ones.
Why can't the Bulls win on the road? If they played every game at home, they would be one of the top teams in the east. On the road, though, they are the worst team in the east. What is the main cause of this?
Peter Stein, Rockport, Maine
Part of it is a case of "Here we go again." Part of it is slow starts. Part of it is lapses in execution over more than one quarter. At home, the Bulls typically have one bad quarter and recover from that, whenever it occurs. On the road, they typically string together more than one bad quarter and that creates too big a hole to get out of.
Why is it that the Bulls don't have a shooting guard that shoots? It seems that a long-range shooter could open up the inside for easier scoring.
James Pitt, Louisville
Hassell has slipped offensively this season, to the point that one scout recently told me that it looks like the Bulls are playing 4-on-5. Rose is really the shooting guard on offense, so the fact that Hassell doesn't get a lot of shots isn't that big a deal. What is a big deal is the shots that he gets he isn't hitting. And you're right: That creates more pressure on other players.
Why is it that Ron Artest, Brad Miller, and Ron Mercer have suddenly become the core of a very good Pacer team? Mercer was a gunner; now he's a sharpshooter off the bench. Artest was an unpredictable, inconsistent player; now he's a tenacious defender. Miller played very well when he was here, but it seems as though he has taken his game to another level. The national media ridiculed these players when they were on the Bulls, now they are going ga-ga over them. Why?
Philip Victor, Nanticoke, Pa.
Because Indiana is winning. Artest is still unpredictable, especially offensively. But everything looks better when you're winning. The biggest thing to me has been Mercer's acceptance of his role. Perhaps, after playing for five teams in five seasons, he finally figured out that winning is what matters.
How is Roger Mason coming along? I heard talk that he was considered a steal in the second round and I look forward to seeing him on the court. Any word on his rehab?
Kevin Pearce, Austin, Texas
He's practicing with the team and is engaging in full contact, about six weeks ahead of schedule. He'll likely be cleared to be placed on the active roster sometime in January. Whether he will be activated is another story. The Bulls already have problems at the point-guard position in terms of minutes. He's another point guard, although Jerry Krause touts him as a combo guard. Then, he'd have to take minutes from Hassell and Hoiberg. We'll see.
I heard that it is team policy that the Bulls' players are not allowed to date the Luvabulls? Is this true? Does that also go for sportswriters?
Alex Bartkus, Los Angeles
I've not heard that rule and doubt that it's true. As for sportswriters, why would they want to?
Do you see a trade on the horizon that will bring a quality vet to the team? I was at the game on Saturday against the Pacers, and it really wasn't until Cartwright played the 'vet' lineup that the Bulls seemed to hit their stride (as well as get a little more respect from the officials...what a poorly called game). Any thoughts or rumors to share? Thanks!
Jefferey Saiger, Chicago
There are always rumors, with the Bulls packaging a deal for Eddie Jones being the latest. But I don't think anything will happen. The Bulls would have to give up Marcus Fizer to get anything and at this point, he's been one of the team's most consistent scorers. Rumors will heat up as we near the February trade deadline.
Being a fan of both the Blackhawks and Bulls, I've followed your beat writing exploits. As you have pointed out, you are the losingest beat writer in Bulls history and the Hawks blew chow when you covered them too. So who will cover the Bulls when they turn the corner and are a consistent playoff contender? Also, since I'm a Cubs and Bears fan, can you request your next beat be with the Sox so you can take your losing magic to them?
Darren Bizarri, Taylor Ridge, Ill.
How about the Fire? I should be safe there.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week, K.C.