I was surprised that I didnt get any Jeremy Lin questions, but then I remembered the deadline for submissions was Friday. Being that I have a little space to opine before answering readers queries, how about Sundays Linsanity? Out-dueling Jason Kidd (who Im guessing he grew looking up to, with their shared Bay Area roots), taking and making big shots over Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, creating opportunities for the likes of Steve Novak to shine, integrating the newly-acquired J.R. Smith into the Knicks lineup and finally, taking down the defending champs? It doesnt get any better than that. But more practically, particularly for Bulls fans, if New York ends up in the seventh or eighth seed, does it become a battle with the Heat to not be in the spot to not face the Knicks in the first round? Id bet that a team with Lin, Smith and Novak not to mention Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, who have meshed well with Lin, along with role players Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries and rookie Iman Shumpert, as well as currently injured Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis is a lot less appealing than taking on the aging Celtics. Another question for another time, I suppose.
With his hard nosed play, strong D and overall hard working team first attitude, do you think Mike James has earned himself a biggermore permanent role with the team, perhaps supplanting John Lucas III or providing more depth at the guard position come playoff time? - Pat
Pat, its certainly a possibility. Ordinarily, I would say that its unlikely Tom Thibodeau would insert a player who hasnt been with the team long into his rotation, but Mike is a special case. First off, hes a veteran with championship experience, having played alongside Rip Hamilton on the Pistons 2004 title squad. Furthermore, hes familiar with Toms defensive principles from their time together in Houston and offensively, hes very solid in pick-and-roll scenarios, something the Bulls use frequently. Thibs is also very loyal to Luke, but his size can be a detriment against bigger, more physical point guards and Mike can bring to the table a lot of the same strengths offensively. I wouldnt be shocked to see the Bulls sign Mike for the remainder of the season when teams can expand their rosters to 15 players.
Hey Aggrey, do you think players double-teaming Derrick might have hurt his back because he has to jump upjerk his body sideways and throw the ball to a wide open player? - Tyler W.
Tyler, Im sure the wear and tear of the defensive attention Derrick receives certainly played a part in Derricks current injury woes, but when asked about it, he couldnt pinpoint a specific play on the court that led to his back problems. Rather, he said he just woke up with the issue and I cant remember one play or another that seemed to strain his back. As to your point about Derrick making jump passes, its not the most fundamentally-sound basketball play, but hes made it effective and with his physical gifts, I cant really quibble with him doing it, given the results, as well as the fact that its often the only play to make.
When is Richard Hamilton coming back? - Wes K.
Wes, well see Rip return to the lineup after the All-Star break. I cant say for sure if it will be against the Hornets at the United Center, the first game after the festivities, or on the Bulls subsequent road trip, but seeing him warm up before games and work out at the Berto Center makes me think hes close. Its been frustrating to both fans and the organization to see Rip be in and out of the lineup, and miss so much time (dont forget, he was away from the team for a stretch because of a family matter, the death of his grandmother, who he was close to), but hes a 13-year veteran, knows his body and with his successful track record, hes earned the benefit of the doubt.
I've heard rumors that Simeon coach Robert Smith could be in line for the Illinois job, have you heard anything and would he be a good fit there? - Roger G.
Roger, I know Rob fairly well and while Ive never asked him about the Illinois job specifically, I dont think he wants to miss out on coaching Jabari Parker during his senior season next year, although if he wins a state title this year, I believe hell have the most championships in Illinois high school history. That said, if Illinois came calling, he would have to listen. Theres been a lot of talk that the Illini need an African-American head coach or a coach with Chicago ties for recruiting purposes and Rob fits the bill on both counts. But despite his success, the university might think its too big of a leap to go from coaching in the Chicago Public Leagues Red-South division to the Big Ten. I do see Rob as a college coach in the near future and if I had to guess, I think hell start out as either a head coach on the low to mid-major Division I level or an assistant coach at an upper-echelon program.
With the team playing so well, wouldn't it be smart to let D-Rose rest up through the All-Star break? - Rahim T.
Rahim, try telling Derrick or Tom Thibodeau that theory, especially after the Bulls debacle Saturday against the Nets. Derrick is dying to get back on the court, period, regardless of how well the team has played without him. Sometimes I think that due to his age and humble demeanor, people underestimate how much of a competitor he is. With Thibs, his policy is simple: If a player is hurt, can tolerate the pain and wont do any further damage by playing, he plays. But if a player is actually injured, then he sits. At the moment, Derrick is in the latter category, but the instant that changes and hes medically cleared, expect to see him on the court, no matter whom the Bulls play or where they are in the schedule.
Keep the questions -- whether theyre about the Bulls, the rest of the NBA, other levels of basketball or life in general -- coming. Youll get a much better explanation, though not as instant, than you would via Twitter with only 140 characters. You can submit a question by commenting on this article below or by clicking here.