They are not a double-teaming type team. Boylan is doing most of the same stuff Skiles did and they like to stunt, which means make a move at the big man when he puts the ball down and then retreat. The retreat hasn't been as good this season and no one is quite sure why.
I know that Top 10 draft picks don't always pan out, but with good inside moves and at 7-feet, I thought that Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant would be a little better in the NBA. Is he that bad and weak, or is it that he is on a run-and-gun Golden State team and he is more of a half-court player? --Al, Streamwood, Ill.
He's playing for the wrong coach, first of all, in Don Nelson, who doesn't use big-man post play. Plus, O'Bryant isn't ready. He's weak and should have stayed in college, but the money is tough to turn down. I didn't think he was a first-round pick at the time, but I'm guessing the Warriors hang onto him and then give him a run with Nellie's successor.
Ben Wallace's two years in Chicago remind of two other names who went into semi-retirement after signing huge deals: Vin Baker and Shawn Kemp. The numbers don't lie, neither does the drama that follows this high maintenance player. Where does his FA signing rate in worst? --Robuka Konderle, Montreal, Canada
It looks worse now than it is. The fact is there are very few good free agent signings. That summer, the Bulls' alternatives were Nazr Mohammed and Joel Przybilla. Which one would you rather have had? The Grizzlies are trying to get rid of Jerry West's big free agent, Brian Cardinal. How about Speedy Claxton in Atlanta, Darko Milicic in Memphis, Damon Jones, Donyell Marhall and Ira Newble in Cleveland, Erik Dampier in Dallas, Kenyon Martin in Denver, Bobby Simmons in Milwaukee, Eddy Curry in New York, Marcus Banks in Phoenix? At least they signed Ben for only four years. They wanted three, but Detroit was offering four at the time and wouldn't have gotten him. I know, I know, but it was considered the coup of that summer.
Do you think Ben Gordon missed the boat on his big pay day when he turned down the Bulls' offer last fall? Do you think there are teams out there that are willing to pay big bucks for his scoring given that he's an undersized guard who can't defend or run the team on the floor? --Joe Hoyle, Chicago
I still believe Gordon is the most difficult decision the Bulls have to make. I'd say he missed the boat because if the Bulls let him go, it's difficult to see who gives him an eight-figure annual deal. But Ben is a tough guy and amazingly confident and I think he believes he did the right thing. He may be one of the few. I know he's got a lot of weaknesses, but no one on the Bulls can score like he does, and even though he has missed some game winners of late, he makes more big shots at big times than anyone on the team. They'd lose a lot of scoring and a big weapon without him.
If the Clippers let Corey Maggette walk after this year, do you think the Bulls would take a look at him? He is a big guard that gets to the line consistently, and he has shown some post moves. --Jim, La Grange, Ill.
I haven't seen those post moves. Clippers' owner Donald Sterling likes him and he's expected to return. The Bulls would take a look, but will only have their exception and the Clippers should beat that easily. Plus, Maggette plays a bit head down and doesn't have that much range on his shot.
As Sir Charles keeps asking, did Paxson really have a chance to trade for Kevin Garnett? If so, which players did McHale want in return and why didn't this trade work out? --Jay Choi, Glenview, Ill.
No, no, no. Barkley is great on TV and that is the best NBA highlight show there ever was. But Charles only has a casual relationship with facts and actual information.
I'm not really surprised by the Bulls sudden unraveling. We all knew that they were a group of overachieving role-players. By definition, overachievement is temporal; reversion to the mean will eventually catch up with you. Which of these guys has any trade-value left (because of talent or contract features) and who should be keepers? --Fernando, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hey, I'm supposed to use the esoteric words. I believe all the main players plus Noah have trade value, except perhaps for Wallace. The question is how much? You generally are undervalued when you lose and overvalued when you win (see Luc Longley). That's going to be the big issue for the Bulls. Teams don't pine for players on losing teams and generally low ball you. The Bulls will have difficulty putting together a good deal involving major players. I probably would try to keep Deng, Noah, Gordon and Hinrich, which leaves several missing pieces. Though I believe it's clear now no one is untouchable and anyone could be traded.
It seems like everyone is piling on Ben Wallace for his lack of scoring but didn't they know that was going to be the case when we signed him? Duhon is just as useless on offense but nobody says boo about him. Why not trade Duhon and his expiring contract for Damon Stoudamire to give us a point guard who can dribble and shoot. We clearly don't have one on this team. --Mike, Manteno, Ill.
I don't think the Bulls idea of improvement is to add a 5-9 shooting guard.
I'm not a fan of Danny Ainge. He needed Kevin McHale to bail him out, but do you think John Paxson should have borrowed some of Danny's evaluation methods like brain-typing, i.e. Meyers-Briggs personality tests, to assess player's drive and ability to achieve a physical potential? --Joseph, Gilroy, Calif.
After all these years, all Ainge needed was McHale's brain type. In regards to that deal, it had to be not ENTP or ISTP but EMPTY.
I consider myself to be the biggest Bulls fan in the world. I cheered for Ron Mercer, Eddie Robinson, and Dalibor Bagaric just as hard and just as much as Michael, Scottie and Dennis. After falling in love with this hard working group of the past few years, I can't believe this is the same team rumored to make the Eastern Conference Finals. Hinrich got married and his wife stole his game. Ben Gordon is trying to shoot his way to a new $30-million contract. Luol Deng is a solid scorer but not an all-star. Joe Smith has been the most consistent Bull this year. Ben Wallace cares about anything and everything except performing on the court. Chris Duhon will make an excellent back-up point guard on another team some day. Aaron Gray is the new Will Perdue. Joakim Noah is Dennis Rodman without the talent. Tyrus Thomas is the most athletic on the roster, but also the worst player. Andres Nocioni is the most entertaining player to watch since Michael Jordan. With all that being said, we're not winning. Just one question, what do we do now? --Cury, Bermuda Dunes, Calif.
While I always appreciate a Dalibor mention, your analysis was too jarring to respond to. I get a lot like this from Bulls fans these days. I know fans generally overreact to wins or losses, but the level of despair this season ranks with the Tim Floyd days.
With Duhon's injury and Thabo's emergence as a potential starter, do you think Thabo can surpass Duhon in the rotation? And FYI I'm not sure if you've noticed that whenever Thabo comes in off the bench a bunch of fans would call out his name in delight. I'm not sure how often this happens but that is due to the Filipinos in Chicago. Thabo is pronounced "ta-bo" which in the Philippines is a pail we use to wash our behinds. --Marlon Umali, Manila, Philippines