I am a Bulls' Fan, and I can't help but laugh at the irony of the "player suspension" levied against Joakim Noah for undermining the team regarding a dispute with an assistant coach. Reportedly, Ben Wallace, along with Adrian Griffin, solicited the vote among teammates regarding further action against Noah. Ben Wallace! B-e-n W-a-l-l-a-c-e! The same Ben Wallace who, along with several teammates, quit on Scott Skiles and ultimately cost him his job; the same Ben Wallace who was petty and small over a headband; the same Ben Wallace who apparently can't find 16 million reasons why he should perform and behave at his best every game. Ben Wallace serving under a disciplinary board capacity is like allowing Brittany Spears to monitor an IQ Test. -- Tom Perrone, Crystal Lake
Tweedledum and Tweedledee, eh? In almost every way, this season seems to have become Alice and the looking glass. Everything seems backward. We're officially reading the standings from the bottom up from now on. There does appear to be a gentle irony there in Ben being involved. I don't fully understand why the players did that. It's something you don't see very often as teammates tend to protect one another. That Wallace was involved was equally curious in that he's backed off what leadership role he could have -- like when he declined being one of the captains early in the season. I think I saw him reading "Jabberwocky" in the locker room.
So our "veteran" players finally decide to show some leadership when the season is almost completely gone ... and they do so by punishing the one guy on the roster who actually gives a crap?! If you ask me, Noah's response is the only appropriate one to the lack of effort and passion this team has displayed to this point. He should ask the rest of the team to sit out a game for their lack of intensity and apathetic approach to the season. -- Tim, St. Louis, Mo.
I take it you weren't part of the unanimous vote.
Just out of curiosity: How does someone who was not a professional athlete become General Manager of a professional sports team? Would you recommend an MBA degree for that? -- Adi, Arlington, Va.
It's what I've been trying to find out. If MBA is Master of Basketball Adventures. The best way is to get to know an owner. The range generally is from basketball lifers who worked their way up through scouting to former big time players. What's usually missing is the business knowledge of how to make a deal, negotiate a contract, etc. There usually is someone on staff to do that. I can't say there's a perfect qualification, other than mine, and here I am just answering your questions. Where is that getting me?
If the league will just limit the roster to perhaps 10 active players in a basketball team roster, the 48 minutes can be spread out more effectively. The talent is well oiled and not wasted on the bench, not to mention the money down the drain for unutilized talent every night. This is also morale-lifting. There's a chance each player will get in the game. -- Ruben I, Plainfield
You sound like an owner. Owners always want to reduce the size of the roster because it saves money; players' representatives reject it because it costs jobs and then commissions for agents. Follow the money. That's not likely to happen, though a 15-player roster in the NBA is absolutely unnecessary. That's a fight to the death for the players' union, and the NBA has bigger issues to contest, like long-term contracts, which hurt the league more than anything. It is perhaps the great failure of David Stern's tenure. With the chance to make a bold move and reduce contract lengths to three or four years to give teams flexibility, Stern blinked. He would have had to lock out the players, and with hockey on lockout, he didn't want the bad publicity. It's something killing a lot of franchises.
I think our season will parallel Obama's campaign. Early he had a lull, but he never was out, and he always had the ingredients necessary to win: Money, organization, and an eloquence to inspire. The Bulls started out slow because of their disdain for Skiles, but they have the defense, multiple scoring options (Gordon, Deng, Noce, and surprisingly Joe Smith ( ... and I mean his post presence), and heart, particularly in Thabo and Tyrus. -- Joe, Chicago
I like Obama's chances more.
Why can't Hinrich or Gordon post up on smaller guards? In the San Antonio game, we could have slowed Tony Parker by making him play more defense and possibly get into foul trouble. -- Andrew Tran, Chicago
Because they can't. It's not an easy thing to do and not part of their games. Plus, they're small. I've seen it done, like when Don Nelson posted Tim Hardaway. But you need an inventive, imaginative coach who doesn't worry about getting fired or being embarrassed (there aren't many) and players who have the patience and strength. Gordon is strong but doesn't approach the game that way. Plus, if you were good at posting up at guard, they'd switch on you and Parker probably wouldn't be defending.
I know trades are easier said than done but Steve Kerr said he is looking for interior defense for the Suns and Ben Wallace has shown he can still play if he wants to. I know the Suns don't want to trade Shawn Marion but can't afford to keep him. I know Kerr is smarter than Kevin McHale but what about a trade involving those two players and maybe taking on Marcus Banks and throwing in B.G. or Tyrus and a future draft pick? -- JayMan, Salt Lake City
The Suns, even with an unsteady season at times, are going for it. Ben Wallace doesn't appear to be. Plus, when you play for the Suns you need to be a scorer. There may not be a worse team for Wallace than the Suns, and since he is no threat, Amare Stoudemire would see even more defensive pressure. Next!
Bet you wish you had dug up this little tidbit. Did you know that Demetris Nichols was drafted with the pick the Bulls sent to Portland with the rights to LaMarcus Aldridge for, of course, Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa? -- Patrick, New York
Who's Demetris Nichols?
How about Jackie Butler for a low post option? I recall him playing well down low for the Knicks and the Spurs did sign him. Looks like he's out of the league right now. -- Paul, Denver
And for good reason. I know the Knicks loss was tough. I probably got more angry, disheartened mail after that one than any in the last few years. Butler was Larry Brown's joke on old buddy Gregg Popovich, who found out Butler was so bad (Brown said to sign him), he had to give up Luis Scola just to get rid of Butler's contract. I think you recall him playing down like a load.
Everyone complains that the Bulls have no superstar. I disagree; I think they have a potential superstar under their noses: A Superstar Defense. They just have to utilize it and ride it. They will stand out because there are no more than a handful of teams that play good defense. So, I would ride with this starting lineup: Ben Wallace (who has done fine jobs on Tim Duncan, Brad Miller, etc.); Tyrus Thomas at PF; Nocioni at SF (because he stays under opponents' skins); Sefolosha at SG (he's the big guard the Bulls need) and Duhon at PG (he's the best defender among Bulls' PGs). -- James Pringle, Chicago
Sam Smith's NBA mailbag
The Tribune's pro basketball reporter answers reader questions
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.