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K.C. Johnson on the Bulls
I know this sounds crazy, but I think the Bulls have too much depth. Disregarding injuries, the Bulls are 14 deep. Even though the last three-for-one deal didn't work out, I would suggest to John Paxson to try to dump salary and depth and try to get a veteran who can defend. What do you think? Thanks. --Tim Schuessler, Hinsdale, Ill.
It does sound strange to say that a 4-8 team (I write this after the Phoenix game) has too much depth, but this roster is certainly heavy on perimeter players. And Paxson himself has said, as early as training camp, that this isn't the perfect roster. The problem is: Who do you dump? There isn't much interest around the league in the Bulls' roster, other than "untouchables" like Curry and Chandler. Crawford has suitors, but you don't want to dump him for nothing. It's a difficult situation.
K.C., do the Bulls have a true "go to" guy at the end of games? Yes, Rose hit some big shots against Minnesota, but as usual, couldn't finish the game with a missed free throw and couldn't even get the shot off at the end of the game. Your thoughts please. --Jeremy Foster, Sioux City, Iowa
I usually have my head buried in a laptop computer at "go-to" time, given deadlines and all. But I agree. Rose can't beat many people off the dribble anymore and Curry has yet to establish himself at the start of games, much less the end of them. As crazy as it sounds, I think Crawford is their best option at the end of games. The guy has hit four buzzer-beater shots already this season, albeit none of them in the fourth quarter. He can create his own shot, too.
What's your take on the apparent increase in zones this year? I saw the Bulls and Timberwolves play a hard-nosed aggressive zone that required some real basketball skills to penetrate and score on. As a fan, I would trade watching those skills for the playground one-on-one anytime. --John Kerr, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Your namesake broadcaster has touched on this very topic. As has Jerry Krause, in his new role as radio analyst. The Bulls play plenty of zone, mostly in an attempt to hide their defensive deficiencies. Around the league, there is more zone being played, and there will be even more until teams show they can beat them in 24 seconds.
K.C., is it me or is Jamal Crawford's basketball I.Q. questionable? I traveled up to the game in Milwaukee and I've NEVER seen a point guard take so many crazy and ill-advised shots. This has been a recurring theme in all of the games. Can he see his faults or are we knowledgeable Bulls fans overreacting? --Chris Pickett, Chicago
You, as knowledgeable Bulls fans, see a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. I've wondered all along what it would be like to see Kirk and Jamal log some minutes together in the backcourt, what with Kirk's ability to distribute and Jamal's ability to shoot. Kirk's inability to limit his turnovers and Kendall Gill's very strong play has put this experiment on hold, though.
What to you find more embarrassing these days, the way the Bulls have been playing at home or the Matadors? --Christopher Connelly, Palatine, Ill.
Thankfully, I've only witnessed the Matadors once thus far this season. I will say this, though: They certainly got a bigger round of applause than your Bullies.
I've noticed in looking at the national TV schedule that the Bulls only appear one time on all three networks (TNT, ESPN, and ABC). Do you think the networks really think the Bulls are that bad to not have them on TV more often? They are much better than at least seven or eight other teams. Just what is the networks reasoning for this? -- Roman Smith, N. Las Vegas, Nev.
Two words: LeBron James.
K.C., are there incentives in contracts anymore? Seems like the Bulls should add some "Charlie Hustle" defensive bonuses for some of the players, like ranking in the top 5 in blocks or steals. -- Russell, Seattle
Sadly, incentive-laden contracts went the way of caring in the NBA.
Why don't guards post up smaller guys like the Boykins, Lues and Iversons instead of trying to beat them off the dribble? Jamal Crawford is 6'6 but not once did he post up against Tyronn Lue or Earl Boykins who are 5'9 & 5'5, respectively. I play lots of pick up games and standing at 5'11, I find it very easy to score when smaller guys guard me. -- Jayson Choi, Glenview, Ill.
When are you available? Actually, Jamal did post Boykins up once and scored. But mostly the reason it doesn't happen is that the Bulls don't have guards with post-up ability. Also, when they're in the halfcourt set, they mostly run triangle or screen-and-roll actions and don't have many post-up calls to try.
Bill Cartwright has never put up with rookie mistakes. In the past when Crawford and Williams made mistakes they were on the bench at the next whistle, and rarely saw the fourth quarter. Why is he leaving Hinrich on the floor despite his terrible play, especially with the consistent improvement of Crawford? --Mike Brown, Fort Collins, Colo.
The recent answer is because of Crawford's injury. The more enduring answer is because management has never been a big fan of Crawford's game. They think he looks to shoot more than distribute, and Hinrich plays more the style they look for in a point guard.
I invited a group of Celtics fans over to watch the Bulls game on the NBA Ticket. Luckily for me (and more so for my pride), Chicago was victorious. The only thing we actually questioned during the game was Cartwright's decision to play Eddie Robinson. He was absolutely horrible (always shooting the ball as if the shot clock had almost expired, making sure he gets on that stat sheet). My friends would ask, "What is wrong with that guy?" Then I told them how much he earns a year. It took them a while to stop laughing. I would love to know your opinion of E-Rob and maybe you have some insight into Cartwright's take on him as well. -- Michael Siegmann, Clifton Park, N.Y.
His minutes played give you all the insight you need on Cartwright's take. As for my take, well, let's just say it's more fun to talk to E-Rob about life than about his production.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week, K.C.