Will NBA delaying start of camps affect fans?

Will NBA delaying start of camps affect fans?

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011Posted: 12:00 p.m.

By AggreySam
CSNChicago.com BullsInsider Follow@CSNBullsInsider
In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem like much. But the NBA's announcement that the start of training camps and opening slate of exhibition games are the latest casualties of the ongoing lockout should cement the reality of the increasingly dire situation.

We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Unspoken was that after a nearly six-hour Thursday bargaining session in New York during which, by all accounts. no progress was made, pessimism reigns supreme in the lockout talks.

NBA players continue to trickle overseas, player-organized exhibition games continue to be held and plans for "lockout leagues" now move into October. If and when the work stoppage ends this fall, the legal process will take a few weeks to officially get the ball rolling again, leading to a likely abbreviated free-agency period (and the signing of draft picks) before training camps and the exhibition schedule commence.

For the Bulls, it means that an Oct. 10 home game against the Bobcats (yet another opportunity for former draft pick Tyrus Thomas to show Chicago what it's missing) and an Oct. 13 road matchup against the Central Division rival Pacers are scuttled. Bulls training camp at the Berto Center, which was scheduled to open Oct. 4, a key ingredient to the season, have been replaced by more individualized or informal group training, if not players seeking competition elsewhere.

But that's just on paper. If anybody can recall the last NBA lockout--in the 1998-99 season, when the NBA slate was cut to just 50 games--the ramifications of even minimal time lost will be reflected in sloppy play, as teams and players struggle to find their groove.

Coming off a banner year that saw the league's popularity rise with ascendance of young players like reigning MVP Derrick Rose and scoring champion Kevin Durant, it's possible that casual fans will be reluctant to embrace the NBA quickly if there's an extended absence.

How do you feel about the NBA delaying the start of training camps and preseason games? If the lockout causes regular-season games to be missed, will it affect how you feel about the league or are you willing to wait it out?

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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