Ask Aggrey: How valuable is Deng?

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Ask Aggrey: How valuable is Deng?

As a kid growing up, one of the things I enjoyed reading the most was reading writers responses to readers, whether in magazines or the local newspaper. These days, with mediums like Twitter, its a lot easier to connect with members of the media, but I consider myself an old-school type of guy, so answering questions in my first mailbag is a pleasure. Well see if I feel that way after a few months (just kidding, I think), but for now, 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 with only 140 characters. You can submit a question by commenting on this article below or by clicking here.

Do you think the Bulls have enough to beat the Heat in a seven-game series? -- Kevin

Kevin, by no means am I a homer (Im from Washington, where the highlight of the Bullets teams during my childhood was the Bulls sweeping Chris Webber, Rod Strickland, Juwan Howard and company in a best-of-five first-round series, after which Michael Jordan proclaimed them the team of the future, which was followed by the dismantling of that squad and more losing, until the infamous Gilbert Arenas era), so trust me when I say Im not biased. That said, I do believe the Bulls can beat the Heat in the playoffs. Whether they pull it off or not depends on health (on both sides), if the Bulls take advantage of their size inside and how well they shoot the ball from the outside. LeBron James will likely get his points, but Luol Deng makes him work for them as well as any small forward in the league, and the addition of Rip Hamilton guarantees Dwyane Wade will have to focus on his assignment on the defensive end of the court. I understand that last Sundays loss was a tough pill to swallow for Bulls fans, but the fact that they had a chance to win, even without Deng and C.J. Watson -- dont underestimate his value, especially considering that Derrick Rose had to play through foul trouble and with virtually no rest in his absence -- privately encouraged the coaching staff about their chances.

Aggrey, Do you see any possible moves the Bulls may explore before the trade deadline? -- Dan Warner

Dan, something Bulls general manager Gar Forman constantly alludes to is exploring the trade market, doing their due diligence and having conversations with teams around the league. However, unless injury concerns crop up before the March 13th deadline, I dont see the Bulls making any significant moves. With the teams amazing chemistry and no huge holes to fill on the roster besides a veteran, insurance-policy big man, its more likely that the front office looks into adding a free-agent post player like center Joel Pryzbilla and maybe even another guard, such as the recently-released Mike James.

What do you think about going after Eric Gordon? He would fit very nicely maybe Omer or Taj and picks? -- Wally

Wally, I love Eric as a player, but I cant see the Bulls looking into acquiring him with Rip on board. In addition, Im guessing the league-owned Hornets would require more for the services of Gordon, Derricks former AAU backcourt partner, than Taj Gibson or Omer Asik, as coveted as they are in the league, even if the Bulls threw in their own pick and the increasingly-valued protected draft choice acquired from Charlotte in the Tyrus Thomas deal. The team to look out for in trading for Gordon, probably in the offseason, is Indiana. The low-key Gordon is an Indianapolis native and has made no secret of his love for his hometown, where he spends his summers. With the emergence of second-year swingman Paul George, a natural small forward currently playing shooting guard, natural swap would be a sign-and-trade for Gordon, sending leading scorer Danny Granger, a New Orleans-area native, back home, along with maybe a pick or young reserve big man, like Jeff Pendergraph, who just returned from injury, to make salaries work after Gordons deal.

Is Deng the key to the Bulls winning? -- Hugo

Hugo, I am bit biased on this question, as Ive championed Luols value to the Bulls from the beginning of last season, when many were still down on him. Derrick is obviously the teams best player, but an argument can be made that on a short-term basis, Luol is more important to the team. Think about it: C.J., a scoring point guard, can match Derricks productivity in Tom Thibodeaus point-guard friendly offense, which is heavy on pick-and-roll play. But while Ronnie Brewer is a versatile wing, solid defender and an improved outside shooter, he doesnt have Luols size or score as proficiently. Furthermore, when Ronnie starts, it takes quite a bit of firepower away from the Bench Mob, which leads to the final question
How does Jimmy Butler fit into this Bulls team? Will he have a bigger role by the end of the season? Roger

Roger, if I was answering this question before Thursdays win in New York, I would have said that Jimmy has to be patient, bide his time and continue to work hard in practice with the assistant coaches, as hes been doing all season. But after his performance against the Knicks, when he capably defended Carmelo Anthony, Id have to say that theres a chance he cracks the rotation on a more regular basis moving forward, albeit probably for scant minutes. Still, Thibs showed that he trusted Jimmy by playing him down the stretch, let alone having him guard Melo and the rookie rewarded him by playing solid basketball and even showing the willingness to take shots in the clutch. From talking to the Bulls coaches and front-office personnel, they really like Jimmys work ethic and demeanor, and I can attest that hes already become a good fit in the locker room. Hell likely never become a star and might not even become a starter, but I can see him having a long career as a role player and defensive stopper, the latter of which only comes with experience and knowing other players tendencies, something that only comes with more experience. I know, its a vicious cycle, but Thibs understands that, so if Jimmy continues to play confidently in limited minutes, moments like Thursdays game on the big stage and even his performance in the long-ago preseason opener at Indiana will become more of a regular thing, especially with an eye toward Ronnie possibly being with another team next season.

CSN announces its 2016-17 Bulls season coverage details

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CSN announces its 2016-17 Bulls season coverage details

Pre-Season Action begins Oct. 3, First Regular Season game on Oct. 29, Plus – Live Pre/Post-Game Shows all season long and comprehensive nightly coverage on ‘SportsNet Central,’ Highlight 2016-17 Schedule Live streaming coverage of EVERY Pre-Season and Regular Season Bulls telecast – including all Pre/Post-Game Shows – to be made available to authenticated subscribers on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app

CSNChicago.com to feature 24/7 reporting from Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill; website to also feature live video of Post-Game Press Conferences

“Bulls Pulse” Social Media Center, Daily Player/Coaches Interviews, Game Highlights, plus In-Game Twitter updates from CSN talent and much more!

Chicago, IL (September 28, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Bulls, is once again ready to deliver another thrill-packed season of NBA excitement with 42 live regular season Bulls games (21 home, 21 away), including in-depth pre-game and post-game shows, and the most thorough 24/7 online Bulls coverage to date on CSNChicago.com!

In addition -- EVERY pre-season and regular season Bulls telecast on Comcast SportsNet, including surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will once again be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and will be made available via the NBC Sports app on tablets and smart phones.  The live stream of CSN’s Bulls telecasts is presented by Xfinity.  Authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers can watch live Bulls action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of Bulls games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  

The 2016-17 Chicago Bulls regular season on Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app gets underway on Saturday, October 29, as three-time NBA Champion/12-time NBA All-Star/Chicago native Dwyane Wade & NBA Champion/four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo join two-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, along with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis, Tony Snell, newcomer Robin Lopez, and rookie Denzel Valentine among others, as the Bulls host the Central Division rival Indiana Pacers at 7:00 PM CT, featuring the always-entertaining announcing tandem of Neil Funk and Stacey King (NOTE: Coverage gets underway with an expanded, one-hour edition of Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light at 6:00 PM LIVE from the United Center with hosts Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue).  Kia Bulls Postgame Live immediately follows the game featuring Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s post-game press conference, along with live locker room player interviews and complete post-game analysis.  Plus – CSNChicago.com Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bulls Pre/Postgame Live and during home game telecasts.

In addition to the 42 regular season games, Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app will also televise six Bulls pre-season games starting on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 PM, when the Bulls face the Milwaukee Bucks live at the United Center.  Additional pre-season match-ups will air on Oct. 6 at Indiana, Oct. 14 vs. Cleveland, Oct. 15 at Milwaukee, Oct. 17 vs. Charlotte, and Oct. 20 vs. Atlanta (in Omaha, NB). 

Highlights from this season’s Bulls regular season schedule on Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app features 27 big games against Eastern Conference foes, ten of which are against Central Division opponents.  Among the key highlights on this season’s Bulls telecast schedule features a huge United Center battle against LeBron James and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers (Dec. 2), a return home for former Bulls C/F Pau Gasol as the San Antonio Spurs invade the UC (Dec. 8), a home match-up against Dwyane Wade’s former club, the Miami Heat (Jan. 27), a road battle against back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry & the 73-9 regular season/Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors (Jan. 8), a road match-up against former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and his Minnesota Timberwolves (Feb. 12), along with a late season visit to Madison Square Garden when the Bulls take on former team All-Stars Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and the New York Knicks (Apr. 4). (NOTE: Comcast SportsNet/CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app’s complete 2016-17 pre-season and regular season Bulls schedule appears at the end of this release).

For the ninth-straight season, veteran Bulls play-by-play announcer Neil Funk will be teamed up with former Bulls standout center Stacey King, who will handle color analysis all season long.  SportsNet Central’s Bulls beat reporter Chuck Garfien will also be the primary courtside reporter for Bulls home game telecasts this season. 

Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light (featuring hosts Mark Schanowski, former NBA/Bulls/Fighting Illini standout Kendall Gill, and four-time NBA champion center, including three titles with the Bulls, Will Perdue) is a half-hour pre-game show featuring a breakdown of the evening’s match-up, interviews with coaches and players and a look at the other games around the NBA.  Bulls Pregame Live will air prior to every Bulls game this season with additional weeknight Bulls pre-game discussion airing on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Featuring host David Kaplan, SportsTalk Live will also be the place to hear from numerous Bulls/NBA experts all season long.

Immediately following every game this season, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Kia Bulls Postgame Live.  Kia Bulls Postgame Live (hosted by Schanowski/Gill/Perdue) will also feature live coverage of Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s post-game press conference and live locker room interviews with Bulls players.  Following the majority of evening Kia Bulls Postgame Live airings, viewers can catch GMC SportsNet Central at 10:00 & 10:30 PM and SportsNet Central presented by CLR at 12 Midnight with the most complete recap of the day’s top local and national sports news. 

One pre-season and one regular season Bulls game is currently scheduled to be telecast on Comcast SportsNet Plus (see attached schedule).  Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN+) telecasts are provided to Comcast SportsNet affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously.  CSN+ is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER for complete channel location details). Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can also watch all CSN+ games in standard definition on CLTV. 

In addition to its live stream of every Bulls pre-season/regular season/playoff telecast, Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bulls coverage all season long, including the following highlights: 

  • Live stream of Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's post-game press conferences following EVERY home game telecast.
  • Video highlights from every Bulls game, including in-game highlights at halftime.  Pre-game interviews from team practices will also be provided, as well as extensive post-game reaction from the locker room and analysis from the “Kia Bulls Postgame Live” team.
  • “Bulls Pulse,” a one-stop social media and behind-the-scenes destination that reveals the latest real time trending topics, player buzz and expert insight from Twitter and Instagram.  Plus, “Bulls Pulse” aggregates all Bulls player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BullsTalk.
  • “Bulls In-Game Live,” – featuring STATS Inc.’s enhanced Game Zone real-time tracking system – is a second screen platform for PCs, tablets and mobile devices that combine state-of-the-art infographics, data visualization of real-time statistics and game info with rich social interactivity tied to CSN Chicago’s live game broadcasts.
  • Push Alerts: CSN Chicago will deliver Bulls push notifications for breaking team and player news, “Insider” reports, plus game reminder alerts via CSN Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.
  • BullsTalk, CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bulls news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. BullsTalk contains interactive content with continually updated insights from the network’s talent, which includes the new #BullsTalk podcast.
  • CSNChicago.com Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill enters his second full season on the Bulls beat. Follow him on Twitter @vgoodwill for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Bulls digital reporter and producer Mark Strotman (@markstrot) will also provide Bulls and NBA reports/features on the beat with Goodwill. 
  • @CSNBulls on Twitter provides 24/7 full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and game day news straight from the United Center and across the country.
  • Expanded coverage from Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue and Chuck Garfien, CSN Chicago’s Bulls reporting team will provide pre-game and post-game coverage throughout the playoffs, along with digital content contribution and videos for CSNChicago.com throughout the season.  Follow them on Twitter @MarkSchanowski, @KendallG13, @Will_Perdue32, and @ChuckGarfien.
  • Bulls coverage on CSNChicago.com/Bulls is presented by Toyota.

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO

CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app

 

2016 - 2017 Chicago Bulls Schedule

 

Pre-season:

  1. Mon, Oct 3           vs Milwaukee                            7:00 pm  
  2. Thu, Oct 6            @ Indiana                                7:00 pm
  3. Fri, Oct 14            vs Cleveland                             7:00pm         CSN+
  4. Sat, Oct 15           @ Milwaukee                            7:30 pm
  5. Mon, Oct 17         vs Charlotte                              7:00 pm
  6. Thu, Oct 20          @ Atlanta (Omaha)                   7:00 pm

Regular Season:

  1. Sat, Oct 29           vs Indiana                                7:00 pm
  2. Mon, Oct 31         @ Brooklyn                              6:30 pm
  3. Sat, Nov 5            @ Indiana                                6:00 pm
  4. Wed, Nov 9          @ Atlanta                                 6:30 pm        
  5. Thu, Nov 17         @ Utah                                    9:30 pm        
  6. Sun, Nov 20         @ Los Angeles Lakers              8:30 pm
  7. Tue, Nov 22         @ Denver                                 8:00 pm
  8. Wed, Nov 30        vs Los Angeles Lakers              7:00 pm
  9. Fri, Dec 2             vs Cleveland                             7:00 pm        
  10. Mon, Dec 5          vs Portland                               7:00 pm
  11. Tue, Dec 6           @ Detroit                                 6:30 pm
  12. Thu, Dec 8           vs San Antonio                         8:30 pm        
  13. Fri, Dec 16           vs Milwaukee                            7:00 pm
  14. Mon, Dec 19         vs Detroit                                 7:00 pm
  15. Wed, Dec 21        vs Washington                          7:00 pm
  16. Mon, Dec 26         vs Indiana                                7:00 pm
  17. Wed, Dec 28        vs Brooklyn                              7:00 pm
  18. Fri, Dec 30           @ Indiana                                3:00 pm
  19. Mon, Jan 2           vs Charlotte                              7:00 pm
  20. Mon, Jan 9           vs Oklahoma City                     7:00 pm
  21. Tue, Jan 10          @ Washington                          6:00 pm
  22. Sat, Jan 14           vs New Orleans                        4:00 pm
  23. Tue, Jan 17          vs Dallas                                  7:00 pm         CSN+
  24. Wed, Jan 25         vs Atlanta                                 7:00 pm
  25. Fri, Jan 27            vs Miami                                  7:00 pm        
  26. Sun, Jan 29          vs Philadelphia                          6:00 pm
  27. Fri, Feb 3             @ Houston                               7:00 pm
  28. Wed, Feb 8          @ Golden State                        9:30 pm        
  29. Sun, Feb 12         @ Minnesota                            2:30 pm
  30. Tue, Feb 14          vs Toronto                                7:00 pm
  31. Tue, Feb 28          vs Denver                                 7:00 pm
  32. Mon, Mar 6          @ Detroit                                 6:30 pm
  33. Wed, Mar 8          @ Orlando                               6:00 pm
  34. Mon, Mar 13         @ Charlotte                              6:00 pm
  35. Wed, Mar 15        vs Memphis                              7:00 pm
  36. Fri, Mar 17           @ Washington                          6:00 pm
  37. Tue, Mar 21         @ Toronto                                6:00 pm        
  38. Sun, Mar 26         @ Milwaukee                            2:30 pm
  39. Sun, Apr 2            @ New Orleans                        5:00 pm
  40. Tue, Apr 4            @ New York                             7:00 pm        
  41. Thu, April 6           @ Philadelphia                          6:00 pm
  42. Mon, April 10        vs Orlando                               7:00 pm                                             

6 pre-season, 42 regular season (21 Home, 21 Road regular season)

Total 48 Games

 

All Times Central Time/Schedule Subject to Change

 

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”