This question is not about the bulls in particular, but it is something I've always wondered about. Why do sports writers write in the style they write? For example, at the end of your article about the Bulls' loss to the Magic, you conclude with Chris Duhon tying the game with six minutes left. Why do you use this as a conclusion? It seems that sports article are always written in a way that doesn't make much sense to me. --Sean, Stanford, Calif.
This one is right in my wheelhouse, though for me that usually meant a bloop single to right. I love newspapers and hate to see the business committing suicide. I was raised in New York City when there were seven daily newspapers and we had most at home every day. I had a daily newspaper route when I was 10 or 11, delivering the World Telegram weekdays and the Daily News and Daily Mirror Sundays. I thought working for a newspaper was almost as glamorous and being a professional athlete. I know about all the technology and blogs and internet and competition. But newspapers still can do things great no one else does, and they are abandoning that as well.
Your example regards my game story on the Orlando game. You saw the first edition "running" story. There used to be multiple editions of newspapers, but now The Tribune has two. That first one is crap, sort of a space holder for the last one and it's too bad you see it. It's supposed to be for outlying areas, but I guess it was posted on the internet. Where newspapers--and The Tribune--are failing is in these editions. Newspapers have long had early editions. As a kid, we used to see the early Daily News, which came out 8:30 p.m. the night before and usually had baseball scores through the seventh or eighth inning. It was almost all afternoon games then. With the growth of so many news sources, it is easy to find information about the business and political worlds since both operate on 9-5 work hours. Sports is the late show. It's why we always would laugh in sports watching the news people congratulating themselves on election night for getting out the paper. It's election night every night in sports because of the late games, and it's invigorating.
The Tribune first edition is now due about 10:15, though sometimes earlier, like a 9:50 I had one day last week. Since the Bulls game usually ends between 9:50 and 10:00, there's no way to have 800 words written in 10 minutes when the game ends. So you write during the game about what is going on, usually through three quarters, and then top off the story when it ends with a few paragraphs. That's what you've been seeing. Then we rewrite the same game story for the later edition, usually about 11:45 at The Tribune and later at some papers. That would include quotes from the participants and usually more analysis. Even a year ago, that first deadline for the early story was 10:35, meaning I could have some quotes and post-game analysis. No more. Despite improvements in technology, these deadlines keep moving up. Thus less late information gets in the next morning's paper.
It is the one area newspapers cannot be beaten as they have reporter-specialists at every game and no one else really does. Most newspapers other than The New York Times have been emphasizing local news, which makes sense since you really cannot get that elsewhere. The TV and radio stations don't have the resources to staff sports like newspapers. And The Tribune has as deep a sports staff as any in the country. Yet with the chance to almost own an audience, because after all where else can you go to get this kind of specific information, the newspapers keep moving up deadlines, thus leaving you with questions like that and wondering what we are doing.
The trade deadline has passed and apparently the Bulls are looking forward to drafting their low-post, offensive player. Please assess who may fit this mold if the Bulls use the Knicks' pick-- Josh McRoberts, Tiago Splitter or Spencer Hawes? I personally think with his motor, McRoberts would look good in red and black. --Dale D., Las Vegas
A red and black sweater vest. Let's forget about the draft already. If you don't get Oden or Durant, and I'm not sure Durant at his weight won't get beaten up for a few years, there's not much immediate help. With the state of decline of Ben Wallace and having already invested in Tyrus Thomas, the Bulls, to me, have little use for that pick other than in trade. Those guys you mention are either years away or not very good, at least McRoberts from what I've seen. The Bulls will again look to trade, I assume.
Do you think John Paxson held off on any deals because one or more core players can be included with the Knicks' pick for the team's choice of big men coming out this year? --Staszak, Tinley Park, Ill.
I don't know for sure, but I think he felt rushed and didn't want to be chased into a bad deal. Paxson hasn't given up anyone yet he truly liked, meaning the players he acquired. Luol Deng was one, and he wasn't ready to do that. I think come summer with the exigencies of extensions he might be inclined -- also knowing what draft pick he'll have -- to be in the market.
I am glad the Bulls stood pat. West wanted two of the Bulls' core playes, which tells me a couple things: One of the best team builders sees the Bulls have some very valuable pieces and would love to have them to build around. Also, patience is a virtue. Why mortgage our future for an overpriced player who will not play D when we can potentially get a great post player in the draft? --Andre, South Korea
Other than Oden, from what I can see so far primarly is a defensive player, who exactly is that post player in the draft? I don't see him. I can understand not making a move, though seven-foot interior scorers don't come on the market often and it will be interesting to see whether the Bulls come to regret not making the move. If Deng becomes a perennial All Star, and he was the one the Grizzlies wanted and they probably would have settled for one of the Bulls main players and not two, then it's reasonable not to have made that move.
When people rehash Elton Brand, they regard it as a huge failure for the Bulls. Didn't David "the genius" Falk force the deal by stating that Brand would not re-up with the Bulls? As much as I like to rip on Jerry Krause, I don't feel he had an option. D. Mosier, Granville, Mich.
Much is debatable and long will, like Lou Brock for the Cubs. It's always easy to second guess. The theory wasn't wrong: Two seven footers, and some are saying now if the Bulls had kept Curry and Chandler they'd be better off, and at 6-8, Brand was never going to be truly dominant and his teams have yet to be great. I don't believe Falk forced anything, though he probably believes he did something because no one truly wanted to be with the Clippers back then.
With the expiring contracts of Brown and Sweetney, what do you think the summer holds for them? --Dan, Chicago
They certainly are both gone. Relations between Sweetney and the Bulls have not been good with his lack of playing time and conditioning and the Bulls had Brown strictly for trade purposes and Brown remains privately stunned he wasn't traded given that's about all he heard since he got here.
Do you think Luol Deng can play shooting guard in the NBA? If he can, that'll open up big ways for the Bulls to shake this team up in a positive way in my opinion. --Aldy Rowe, Chicago
It's been mentioned some, though I think he's closer to being a power forward with his size and length than a shooting guard. His shooting range can improve, but is poor now because he's concentrated on interior play. I agree with him that he can develop a better post game, which would fit more with interior play. I see that as his focus and the way he works the Bulls could be rewarded for not trading him.
I heard that the union is reconsidering giving New Orleans the '08 All Star game. if they do change the place, is it possible that the game could be here in Chicago? And when was the last time we had it here? --Shawn Philip, Des Plaines, Ill.
The players don't decide such things and I doubt there's any credibility, but the All Star game will never be here because of when it was here last in 1988. The NBA takes control of all the tickets for all the events. Bulls season ticket holders are still complaining about being denied tickets or put in the upper deck at that game 19 years ago. The Bulls will never have the game back and insult their season ticket base, one of the biggest in the NBA, that way.