Has T-Time Run Out in Chicago?


Has T-Time Run Out in Chicago?

Monday, Feb. 8, 2010
7:32 PM

By Mark Schanowski

Let me take you back to the weeks leading up to the 2006 NBA Draft. After the draft lottery, the Bulls wound up with the second overall pick, courtesy of the Eddy Curry trade with New York, and were looking seriously at three players: Texas centerpower forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Washington shooting guard Brandon Roy and LSU forward Tyrus Thomas. The Bulls also had their own first-round pick, No. 16 overall, and they were hoping to walk away from the draft with an explosive inside player and a tall shooting guard with defensive skills.

Toronto held the No. 1 overall pick, and their general manager, Bryan Colangelo, was especially interested in Italian big man Andrea Bargnani, known more for his 3-point shooting touch than his back-to-the-basket skills. That meant the Bulls would have their choice of the top three options.

John Paxson really liked Roy and knew he was the most NBA-ready player after four seasons of college ball. Aldridge also was considered a safe choice after a couple of productive seasons at Texas. There were concerns about Aldridge being too thin, but he had the back-to-the-basket skills the Bulls were looking for. Thomas was the high riskhigh reward option after playing only one year at LSU. He was coming off a strong showing in the NCAA tournament, drawing comparisons to Phoenix Suns All-Star Shawn Marion. Sure, he didn't have an outside shot and his basketball I.Q. was low, but he could jump out of the gym and NBA scouts drooled over his potential to run the court and block shots.

So, you know what happened. Paxson passed on Aldridge and Roy and wound up with Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha, who was dumped at last year's trade deadline after failing to find a consistent role with the Bulls.

The purpose of the history lesson is to show you how desperately the Bulls wanted Thomas to succeed. They missed a chance to draft one of the NBA's best young shooting guards in Roy and a quality power foward in Aldridge. And, Sefolosha turned out to be a disappointment, even though he's now a starter in Oklahoma City.

So, all they have left from that '06 Draft is Thomas, and he still hasn't figured out what it means to be a professional 3 12 years into his NBA career. Scott Skiles, Jim Boylan and now Vinny Del Negro all had problems with Tyrus' immaturity. Tyrus thinks he should be a jump-shooting small forward taking 15 shots a night instead of a guy who does the dirty work inside like rebound and block shots. He doesn't bother following the game plans and routinely is in the wrong place on both ends of the floor. And, when his constant mistakes lead to a seat on the bench, he complains about unfair treatment from the coaching staff.

When you go through three different coaches, and the same problems keep coming up, maybe it's time to look in the mirror. Tyrus needs to realize he has to change his approach on the court and off. He's been hard to work with for those of us in the news media and has put his teammates in a bad situation with his pouting and selfish play. Maybe a change of scenery will help Tyrus grow up, but that's hardly a guarantee. And right now, Paxson and Gar Forman are having a tough time drumming up serious trade interest. There aren't many teams interested in taking on an underachieving player with a bad attitude.

The Bulls' best hope might be to include Thomas in a deal for Houston's Tracy McGrady or possibly ship him to a dysfunctional Golden State team. Any way you look at it, Thomas' time in Chicago is coming to an end. If the Bulls don't find him a new home by the Feb. 18 deadline, they'll almost certainly renounce his rights to avoid a salary cap hold which would impact their ability to bid for the top free agents this summer.

Richard impressive in Bulls debut

From the disappointment of a failed high lottery pick to the successful debut of undrafted free agent Chris Richard, who was toiling in the NBA's Developmental League in Tulsa when the Bulls called. Richard was with the Bulls during training camp and played pretty well, including a double-figure points and rebounds preseason game at Minnesota. But with the Bulls wanting to avoid the luxury tax and keep roster flexibility they decided to cut Richard at the end of camp. He kept himself in shape playing in the D-League and was more than ready when his opportunity came.

Unlike Tyrus, Richard understands defensive rotations and knows his biggest job as a power forward is rebounding and being physical on the defensive end. Richard played 20 productive minutes in the win over Miami on Saturday, pulling down seven rebounds, blocking a couple of shots and playing good post defense against Jermaine O'Neal and Udonis Haslem. With Thomas and Joakim Noah out of the lineup, Richard's contributions played a key part in the Bulls' important win over a Miami team they'll be battling for playoff positioning the rest of the way.

Richard only signed a 10-day contract, but the Bulls would be well-served to keep him around for the rest of the season. He played with Noah at Florida and knows what winning basketball is all about. Given the Bulls' injury situation, it would be nice to have an extra big man around for the stretch run.

I'll see you Wednesday from the United Center during SportsNite at 6:30. We'll have the Bulls-Magic game for you on Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Over-under: Analyzing Bulls' player propositions for 2016-17

Over-under: Analyzing Bulls' player propositions for 2016-17

Last week Bovada released a handful of Bulls player proposition over-unders. Here's a look at 10 of those numbers, with predicitions on which players will reach those thresholds in 2016-17.


Team wins: 38.5 (Last year: 42)

The pick: Fred Hoiberg had a pretty tumultuous first season in Chicago, the Bulls’ starting backcourt missed 31 games and Joakim Noah fizzled out before a season-ending injury. And yet the Bulls still managed 42 wins. How the Three Alphas and a lack of outside shooting fit Hoiberg’s style remains to be seen, and while the playoffs may not happen in an improving Eastern Conference, at least 39 wins should be manageable. OVER (40)

Jimmy Butler

Points per game: 20.5 (Last year: 20.9)

The pick: There’s a chance Dwyane Wade’s arrival will cut into Butler’s FGA (15.4) and FTA (7.1). There’s also a chance that the 27-year-old All-Star continues to improve once again in his sixth NBA season. Having a true facilitator in Rajon Rondo should really benefit him, the way Rondo did for DeMarcus Cousins (who improved by 2.5 points per game with Rondo). Everyone at the Advocate Center says the Bulls are Jimmy Butler’s team. His scoring will reflect that. OVER (21.7)

Rebounds per game: 5.5 (Last year: 5.3)

The pick: Whereas Butler may not see his scoring and usage decrease, the Bulls’ offseason moves to get Rondo and Wade give them two of the league’s best rebounding guards. Only Russell Westbrook averaged more rebounds per game among point guards than Rondo’s 6.0 average, and Wade has averaged four or more rebounds in all but one of his 13 NBA seasons. This one’s more of a toss-up, but with Rondo and Wade in the fold Butler may take a small hit on the glass. UNDER (4.8)

Dwyane Wade

Points per game: 17.0 (Last year: 19.0)

The pick: The future Hall of Famer is destined to drop off at some point, soon to be 35 with nearly 37,000 career minutes played. But 17.0 points per game would be the lowest mark of his career since his rookie season in Miami (16.2) and the Bulls don’t have a plethora of scoring options outside of Butler. It may not look pretty, and it may not be efficient, but Wade should flirt near the 19.0 points per game he averaged in his final season with the Heat. OVER (18.5)

Games played: 67.5 (Last year: 74)

The pick: This one’s tricky. On one hand it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Wade miss some time this season. He defied the odds in playing 74 games last season – it was the most games he had played since 2011 – and most likely won’t get there in 2016-17. On the other hand, the Bulls may be fighting for their playoff lives down the stretch and may need Wade to play a few extra games in April. Still, Wade played 62 and 54 games the last two years before 2016. He’ll be closer to that than 74. UNDER (65)

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Rajon Rondo

Points per game: 11.0 (Last year: 11.9)

The pick: Rondo averaged the third most FGA per game for the Kings last year, trailing DeMarcus Cousins (20.5) and Rudy Gay (14.4). And while he’ll play enough minutes to hover around the 10.9 field goal attempts he averaged in 2015-16, there are more playmakers around him that he won’t be asked to shoot as much with the Bulls. His point totals were also helped out by the 36.5 percent he shot from deep, and that likely will take a hit this season. UNDER (9.5)

Assists per game: 10.5 (Last year: 11.7)

The pick: Another tricky one here, as Rondo is clearly going to be the one initiating offense. But he also will be playing alongside two players in Wade and Butler who need the ball in their hands to be successful, and who are also above-average passers in the their own respective rights. Still, Rondo has topped 11 assists per game in four of the last six seasons, and there are enough scorers around him for him to get there again this season. OVER (11.5)

Nikola Mirotic

Points per game: 13.0 (Last year: 11.8)

The pick: The fate of the Bulls’ playoff hopes may rest on this number. Mirotic should get the first stab at winning the power forward position, and playing alongside the Three Alphas is going to open up plenty of looks for him. His field goal attempts per game may go down, but his efficiency should improve playing with three guards who can create space and make defenses rotate. This one will be close, but Mirotic should bump his average up over this mark as the lone outside threat in the starting lineup. OVER (13.8)

Robin Lopez

Rebounds per game: 8.0 (Last year: 7.3)

The pick: This one may be the easiest of the bunch. Assuming Taj Gibson remains on the second unit, Lopez is going to rack up the boards playing the majority of his minutes next to Mirotic. All three starting guards can rebound, but Lopez is going to get the opportunities early and often. With only Cristiano Felicio behind him, Lopez should enjoy a career year on the glass, surpassing the 8.5 rebounds per game he averaged for the Blazers in 2014. OVER (9.0)

Taj Gibson

Points per game: 8.5 (Last year: 8.6)

The pick: The contract year phenomenon is real. Gibson is in the final year of his contract and had a fantastic preseason, averaging 16 points and eight rebounds. He won’t reach those numbers in the regular season, but it would be a shock if he didn’t improve on his numbers from a year ago. He shot a career-best 52.6 percent from the field under Fred Hoiberg, and he could easily get back to double-digit points per game, which he did in his final two years under Tom Thibodeau. Believe in the contract year. OVER (12.5)

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf cheering for Cubs in World Series: 'Cubs fans have suffered enough'

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf cheering for Cubs in World Series: 'Cubs fans have suffered enough'

The White Sox took to Twitter on Saturday night to congratulate their crosstown rivals on earning their first World Series berth since 1945.

Two days later Jerry Reinsdorf took it a step farther.

The White Sox owner told Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed that he'll be rooting for the Cubs when they begin their series against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

"I think it would be great for Chicago if the Cubs won!

"Cubs fans have suffered enough. They deserve to have a winner. It would be great for the city.

"My White Sox fans won't be happy with me saying this. They'll think I'm a traitor. But that's how I feel."

Reinsdorf may have felt different had his White Sox not hoisted the World Series trophy in 2005. But he understands how Cubs fans feel; when the South Siders won the 2005 World Series it ended an 87-year drought. That was the second longest drought in MLB history, behind only the Cubs and their current 107-year streak.

Perhaps the fact that the Cubs are playing a White Sox AL Central rival in the Indians helps matters.

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Either way, Reinsdorf is hoping to see the Cubbies bring home the title for the first time since 1908.

"I have never been a Cubs fan," Reinsdorf said. "But I really do wish them well."