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K.C. Johnson on the Bulls
This represents the last installment of this feature for the regular season. We'll be dusting it off around draft time and maybe once or twice during the summer in the free-agency recruiting period.
I gotta say: Being a beat writer is demanding at times, with tons of travel, and there are times when I view this exercise as a pain in the butt---until I open the questions. Your passion, knowledge, interest and humor always reminds me how cool my job is and how important interaction is with the readers. Thanks for that.
Talk to you soon,
30 points and 20 rebounds from Marcus Fizer (April 12)? What's up with that? Could he have actually produced similar numbers for the Bulls instead of riding pine? --Jeremy Palenik, Jacksonville, Fla.
Fizer says yes. Skiles says that when he did give Fizer consistent minutes, he shot 35 percent. None of it matters since Fizer will be elsewhere next season.
We listen to lots of sports radio in Canada, and watch ESPN. What does the national media think of Vince Carter? We think that if he attacked the net more, he would be much more successful. It is a little ironic, how the Raptors were forced to dismantle their team by trading Antonio Davis. --Lee, Toronto
What's even funnier than that is that Antonio thinks what you think---that Vince should attack the net more and needs to work harder in the offseason to do so. I'm sure you've read those comments by now, but at least it made for an interesting sideshow to last Sunday's game.
I am curious as to what your thoughts are concerning the rookie seasons of Jay Williams versus Kirk Hinrich. With them both having spent time playing for successful big-time college programs, it seems like Kirk ended up more confident and resilient than Jay. Did the "Jamal" factor have that much of an effect on Jay's game and confidence? --Bill Lyons, Shorewood, Ill.
Your perceptions are right on target, although I'd have to say that Jay is showing some pretty solid resiliency now while he is trying to battle back from his injuries. But I think Kirk just has a personality that is better suited to the NBA than Jay. Jay was tabbed as the savior and has overachieved at everything he has done in his entire life. The expectations put on him before last season were huge. Kirk has this quiet confidence, but he doesn't take himself too seriously. He just believes he can play and is rarely shook by much of anything. I think both rookie seasons were above average. I think Kirk's was more impressive overall. By the way, this is one of the top five questions I answered this year, which is also impressive given that it's the last installment for awhile. Congrats.
Do you think the Bulls should go after a small forward during the offseason like Bonzi Wells? With defense and scoring, he would be a good fit. With a backcourt of Crawford and Hinrich (assuming Chandler develops an offensive game) and with a draft pick like Deng or Howard, the Bulls could be a much-improved team. --Matthew, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Bulls definitely will be going after a small forward, but I don't see it being Wells. I also don't see it being Stephen Jackson, although the Bulls like him and he is open to coming here. I just think he'll end up getting offers that go beyond what the Bulls will be able to offer him. But, yes, small forward is a hole the Bulls need to fill. Hedo Turkoglu is an intriguing possibility, although he might command more than the Bulls can spend as well. Other possibilities are Morris Peterson, Eric Williams and Wesley Person.
What do you think about Lithuanian sensation Arvydas Macijauskas? I've read that the Bulls are very interested in signing him although there would be contractual problems with his Spanish team. In my opinion, he is the best European shooter right now. --Sergi Tedó, Barcelona
That's the Bulls' opinion as well. They definitely like this guy, but you bring up the very problem that they would have in trying to sign him---his contractual problems. This is definitely a possibility, though.
The plan for rebuilding the Bulls, again. First let's assume the bad luck continues and the Bulls don't get the No. 1 pick, but get the 2nd or 3rd pick. They trade their pick and Jamal Crawford for the top pick and take Okafor. Then trade Chandler and Antonio Davis and a second-round pick to Dallas for Michael Finley and Josh Howard. Then convince Charlotte to take Eddie Robinson for next year's first-round pick and $3 million. This would give them a starting five of Hinrich, Finley, Howard, Okafor and Curry. Their cap number would be $37.8 million, about $7 million below the projected cap. They could make a run at Rasheed Wallace, Mehmet Okur, or Quentin Richardson. Then re-sign Jannero Pargo, Linton Johnson and Ronald Dupree to minimum contracts. Would all of this finally make them contenders in the East again? --Ezra Hallam, Iowa City, Iowa
I'm not sure, but it would definitely make you a contender for Executive of the Year.
Hey K.C., why in your April 7 article on Paxson did you claim he needs to add a veteran reserve big man? What do you think Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams are going to be doing next year? --Brian Leydon, Chicago
They'll be playing for the Bulls. But Davis is a starter and will need to be one again next season, especially if they draft Okafor and trade Chandler. They'll pursue a veteran reserve this summer.
Why don't the Bobcats get the first overall pick in this year's draft? Are they even in the lottery? --Jeff Jones, Flanders, N.J.
Charlotte has the fourth pick in the draft. Expansion teams never get the first pick.
K.C., I don't know about you but I am getting fed up with this 'throwback jersey' fad. More importantly I'm getting fed up with the people who are walking around with fake jerseys. I have a question about the Chicago Bulls black alternate jerseys. A co-worker of mine recently showed up to work wearing an 'authentic' Michael Jordan No. 45 black Bulls jersey.
When I saw this jersey I thought to myself: 'This doesn't look right, Jordan never wore No. 45 in black.' To my knowledge Jordan only wore No. 45 for 27 games (17 regular season and 10 playoffs) at the end of the 1994-95 season when he made his first comeback before switching back to No. 23. The Bulls didn't start wearing the black alternate jersey until the 1995-96 season when Jordan had already switched back to No. 23. Am I correct or did the Bulls wear this jersey in the 1994-95 season, more importantly did Michael wear a black No. 45 in any of the six Sunday games that the played between March 19 and May 14?
We have a gentleman's wager going on here and nobody in Toronto seems to be able to provide us with an acceptable answer. So I've decided to come straight to the source in Chicago. Thanks a lot for your help. --Nana, Toronto
Unfortunately, the source in Chicago has a headache trying to sift through your question. You are one SERIOUS Bulls fan. But I believe you win. The alternate black jerseys made their debut on Nov. 14, 1995, by which time Jordan had switched back to No. 23. I credit my crack research staff for providing me with this information since there is no way in heck I would've gone through so much trouble for you. I'm kidding. Kind of.
I was surprised to see your byline on the Toronto story. I figured you and the Trib would think it wasn't worth the money, and just pick up the AP story. How were you able to keep it going the past few weeks? --B. Miller, Chicago
Two words: Free beer.