Month: October 2018

Bulls Beat #394 – Leaning LaVine

Zach LaVine and Bobby Portis were about the only thing that went well for the Bulls in their opener, but quite frankly, that’s ok.

Sitting on a Parker Bench

Sitting on a Parker Bench by See Red Fred @cbefred

The Fred Hoiberg decision to bench Jabari Parker for Bobby Portis was declared a victory after one preseason game. The Bulls dominated Indiana, primarily due to Holiday actually showing a pulse, although WCJ’s start brought a massive upgrade to the Center position, and Portis played well. The Denver game was not dissected to the same degree, probably because it countered the Bulls Twitter narrative of Fred’s brilliant decision. Denver dominated our starters (only WCJ posted a positive +-), Portis was consistently exposed by Milsap, and Bobby produced a team low plus minus of -19 in 18 minutes.

I’ve noticed a strange tendency for Bulls fans to overanalyze and overemphasize the preseason since Thibs won several preseason titles. I’ve never been a fan of Niko Mirotic, but I felt obliged to defend him a few years ago after he was savagely criticized for an atrocious preseason. Using cutting edge techniques in common sense, I adroitly defended Niko by pointing out it was preseason. Coaches experiment with lineups & roles that take time to learn. That process is exceptionally difficult for new players to a team (Parker) and rookies (Hutchison). And so it has been with Parker. Bulls Twitter has been exceptionally harsh on Jabari considering he played well in 2 of the 5 preseason games. (He led the team in +- in the first and last preseason games and he put up some fine all-around numbers in Game 1) https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/basketball/news/bulls-jabari-parker-plays-well-in-preseason-opener/ )

It’s human nature to desire affirmation of one’s opinions, and Jabari‘s poor play in 3 preseason games provided a fascinating display of human nature, with multiple assertions that the signing of a proven 23-year old scorer with uber-offensive skills was uber-foolish. Critics found red meat to justify their original objections to the signing. I’m less guilty of that sin but nonetheless guilty (I have occasionally overestimated the ceiling for Valentine, although the jury is still out). So let us analyze the situation with some facts:

1. Jabari was benched after three unusually bad shooting games. (5-14 vs NOP, 1-12 vs MIL & 3-11 vs CHA) In 4 seasons, Parker has posted FG percentages of 49, 49.3, 49, 48.2. He has been remarkably consistent with his shot. I believe his poor shooting was the primary impetus for sending him to the bench, although the strong play of Portis clearly was a factor. Regardless, Hoiberg employed the same tactic with Niko in the 2016-17 season and Zipsuck last year, but both had a much larger sample size. It was a move of panic and desperation due to the discouraging nature of the losses (the Bulls were thoroughly dominated by MIL and CHA), when I felt the wretched play of Holiday and Lopez was the far greater problem. Regardless, Parker’s solid performance vs Denver (game high 19 points in 31 min and a team high +13) is being used as proof that Fred’s decision was correct when in fact, it was just Jabari’s progression to the mean.
2. Although neither player will ever achieve greatness on the defensive end, Parker is the superior defender at the 4 to Portis. Despite the 2 ACL injuries, Jabari maintains a considerable advantage in athletic ability. I love Portis on the offensive end, but he’s always been an awful defender. I saw more solid defense in one playoff series (2018 Mil-Celtics) from Parker than I did from Portis in his entire career. Even my nemesis and rabid Parker Hater @mkhoops was forced to acknowledge solid Parker defense at the PF position: https://twitter.com/mkhoops/status/1050689803262484480?s=21 Lost in the joy of Fred’s decision was the awful defense from Portis in the Denver game, reflected in his team low +- of -19. I actually feel Parker is slightly above average defensively at the 4, & most of his defensive problems occur against specific small forward matchups. I’ll address this in a future article.
3. Parker is the superior 3 point shooter. In 3 seasons, Portis has never hit the 36.5% and 38.3% percentages Parker posted in his last 2 seasons. This skill is imperative for the Bulls to succeed. Portis has looked best in the post this preseason. It’s a great skill for the second unit, but for LaVine and Dunn to be at their best (attacking the hoop), we need the opponent’s 4 pulled away from the rim. Jabari’s presence will accomplish this, but Portis won’t. As an aside, Bobby shot a disappointing 5-19 from 3 in the preseason (26%).
4. Parker is a far better passer than Portis. In 5 preseason games, Portis delivered 4 assists. Jabari had 4 assists in the Denver game alone, 13 overall in the preseason. Passing is the most underrated part of Parker’s game. In a starting lineup w/ LaVine as the primary scorer and Holiday as the primary chucker, why would you prefer to add a “shoot first” player like Portis with no ability to facilitate?
5. Portis has already embraced the role of 6th Man. https://www.dailyherald.com/sports/20180925/portis-happy-to-concede-starting-role-focus-on-being-sixth-man “I like the (sixth-man) role,” Portis said. “I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like to score the ball? That’s a fun gig. Coach has trust in me to shoot the shots I want to shoot. It’s a fun gig to have.” From the Mike McGraw article referenced above. Parker clearly prefers to start. Fred has created a controversy this team didn’t need. I was 100% in favor of starting WCJ over Lopez. Lopez was a trainwreck all preseason, providing little benefit on either end of the court, despite being intimately familiar with the offense and most of his teammates. Expecting Parker to be comfortable w/ a new set of teammates and a new offense is absurd.

I met John Paxson before Friday’s Denver game, and asked him “What it your decision to bench Jabari or Fred’s decision?” He said without hesitation, that it was Fred’s, and that he supported it. He did feel Parker was trying to do too much, and that he would play better. I agree with his latter points, but I disagree with the benching. For the optimal performance of this team, Portis is suited as the scoring force with the 2nd unit. I know Parker is talented enough to succeed in any role. For the good of team, I hope Fred rectifies this decision soon, but I have no faith that he will.

Follow See Red Fred Pfeiffer on twitter: @cbefred
Email SRF: Chicagobullseye@gmail.com

Bulls Podcast #13

It’s the Bulls Podcast Episode #13 and we’re talking about the Bulls triming the roster and waive four players, the signing of Point guard Tyler Ulis to a Two-Way Contract, The Bulls fail to sign Bobby Portis to Contract Extension and a preview of the Bulls season opener vs Philadelphia 76ers.
Welcome to the Bulls Podcast, coming to you from BullsPodcast.com. This is where we bring you the latest news, reviews, rants, rumors and opinions on the players, coaches and front office of the Chicago Bulls.
Now on Spotify!

We are happy to announce that the Bulls Podcast is now available on SPOTIFY, so be sure you look for us there, or just go to BullsPodcast.com/Spotify and it will forward you to the right place so that you can add it to your favorites and catch every episode as they are released.
Bulls Waive four players

The Bulls have waived four of the training roster players, Antonius Cleveland, Derrick Walton Jr., Kaiser Gates, and JaKarr Sampson. If all four players clear waivers, then they will become unrestricted free agents.
Sampson, Gates, and Walton signed training camp deals with the Bulls. Cleveland was claimed off waivers by the Bulls in July.
All four players didn’t really get the chance to play in the Bulls five preseason games, and if they did then it was in the last couple of minutes of the game. None of the players that the Bulls released was surprising.
 
Bulls Sign Tyler Ulis to a Two-Way deal
Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.
In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.
The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.
The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.
The two-way deal means that under his current contract, he can only play in 45 NBA games this season.
 
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Bobby Portis Contract
Bobby Portis doesn’t agree to contract extension, but says staying with Bulls beyond this season is in his ‘DNA’ “Normally, that’s how it goes,’’ Portis said. “But with me, I couldn’t see myself in any other jersey. Obviously, I got Bulls DNA. Me and the city have a love connection somewhere. At the same time, I just enjoy playing for the Bulls. Hopefully in the spring, things can work out.’’
We’ve seen this kind of “Betting on Myself” strategy with Jimmy Butler and even Nikola Mirotic in the past, so let’s hope Bobby has a breakout year and gets the Bulls to the playoffs and beyond this year. Only then will he truly deserve a huge payday. If the Bulls have just another mediocre lottery year,

Bulls Add Tyler Ulis

The NBA preseason has finished and teams are finalizing their rosters before the beginning of the regular season.

For the Bulls, that meant claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers and signing him to a two-way contract.

Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.

The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.

The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.

Bulls Podcast #12

It’s Bulls Podcast episode 12 and we’ve got Swaggy Brice in the house! Hosted by Marcus Couch and Wyse Black, we’re covering the Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers pre-season post-game and remember Tex Winter, inventor of the triangle offense, who just passed away at age 96.
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We’re also on Spotify now! So give us a search there.
Bulls vs Indiana Pacers – Bulls Win 104-89

Passing of Tex Winter
Tex Winter, long time assistant coach of the Bulls and Lakers passed away today at age 96.

The following statement is from John Paxson, the Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, on behalf of the Bulls:
“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game.  He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached every day. Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball.  His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”
We want to thank new friend of the show, Swaggy Brice. It’s been a pleasure having Brice in this episode and we look forward to having him back on the show during the regular season. You can find his channel on Youtube at SwaggyBrice and the same on social, @swaggybrice.
Thanks for listening everyone, Go Bulls!

CBE – Knights of the Roundball Table #1

This is the initial gathering of See Red Fred and the Knights of the Roundball Table.  The Knights present are:

  1. Keith @BullScripted
  2. Marcus Couch @marcuscouch
  3. Wyse @radical_creator
  4. Brad aka Buzz @SMBuzzWeed, part of @SMOutcasts

Topics of Discussion include:

  • 2 Best Players during the first 3 preseason games
  • The deadline for Bulls and Bobby Portis to come to an agreement is October 15th.  If both sides fail to come to an agreement by October 15th, then Bobby will become a restricted free agent.  Should we sign Bobby Portis before October 15th?
  • Does Bobby Portis have a legit shot at 6th Man of the Year?
  • What 2 Bulls have disappointed you the most in these first 3 games?
  • Will Fred Hoiberg be our coach next year?
  • What is your prediction for total wins?  If we fall below that, should Fred lose his job?
  • Revisiting the Three Alphas
  • Which Bulls player most deserves to have his number retired?
  1. Derrick Rose
  2. Kirk Hinrich
  3. Norm Van Lier
  4. None of the Above

Find Marcus and Wyse at www.BullsPodcast.com and www.bulls.fm

Chicago Bullseye 398 – Preseason Games 1 and 2 Review

See Red Fred @cbefred & Keith Frantz @bullscripted review preseason games 1 & 2.

Holiday vs Valentine / Positives and Negatives of Preseason Games 1 & 2 / Should WCJ be starting? / Chandler Hutchison 

Let’s assume that Parker puts up some nice numbers at the 4.  (If he stays healthy, history shows, that will happen).  Let’s also assume Lauri hits the ground running in mid-late Nov.  If Lauri-Parker can’t find cohesion in the first 6-8 weeks they are together, do you feel the Bulls will look to trade Parker?  Won’t Parker be a valuable trade piece if he puts up his career number of 15 PPG?  He could be a key piece for a title contender, or a young quasi-star for an org who won’t be attracting any via Free agency stars (i.e. Orlando-Sacramento)   Would the Bulls try to move him if he can’t play primarily at the 3?

 The Potential Return of Derrick Rose

Email the show: chicagobullseye@gmail.com

Bulls Podcast #11

We’ve got a lot in store for you this episode. Including Lauri Markannen and Denzel Valentine Injuries, Bulls First Pre-Season Recap, Player Evaluations After Game 1 and share listener reactions from the Bulls Fan hotline!
Welcome to the Bulls Podcast, coming to you from BullsPodcast.com. This is where we bring you the latest news, reviews, rants, rumors and opinions on the players, coaches and front office of the Chicago Bulls.
We’d like to welcome this week’s special guest, Diana Harris. She’s the host of the DemBulls YouTube channel and has been covering a lot of the action during the offseason leading into training camp and the first game. She’s a very supportive Chicago Bulls fan and we wanted to feature her on the show to expose her to our audience and bring some attention to her YouTube channel, which you should absolutely be subscribing to. Welcome to the show Diana!
Early Season Injuries hit the Bulls

Lauri will be out from 6-8 weeks with an elbow strain. He suffered the injury fighting for a rebound in training camp. It isn’t the start we were all hoping for, but it could be a blessing in disguise, giving our rookies a chance to get some experience in pre-season where it’s an extension of what they are learning in training camp.
Denzel Valentine is out with an ankle sprain. He should be back practicing with the team in a few weeks. Antonio Blakeney will rotate in his spot for the time being, and looked solid in that role.
It’s kind of a bummer with the injuries happening so early. Hopefully it’s not the kind of injury that will sideline Lauri or hamper his playing time when he comes back. He is restricted in his movement with a huge elbow brace, which prevents him from shooting, lifting or working out.
Remember, we are a new show and we do need your support in social media. We’ve made it really easy to find us with some special redirect links.
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Bulls Beat the New Orleans Pelicans 128-116

99 Field Goal Attempts! Fred said he wanted to put up 100 attempts per game and they got really close to that obscene shooting goal. Pace and Space basketball is here, and it’s pretty awesome to see it being executed.
As a whole the defense looked really good. They had very solid traps with great defensive rotation to the wide open shooters after participating in a trap/double, I feel based on last night’s game, we definitely looked like a better defensive team. We also looked a LOT faster, attacked the basket more than just hoisting up last second bail-out jumpers. There was a point in the game where we had only made two three-pointers, but we were up by a big point margin.
We didn’t get to see the Portis/Mirotic match-up we were hoping for, as Niko didn’t play, but we’ll get our chance during the season for sure.
Marcus watched the game 3 times, each time focusing on Guards, Wings and Center spots. I have a feeling that I’ll be doing this for every game during the season. It’s a fun transition to make from just a normal fan to doing a podcast about the Bulls.
 
Listener Reactions to the Game:

So now let’s get some of YOUR reactions to the game. We have a new phone number that I want you to put into your phone contacts right now.. That’s 312-626-5401. We’re not the only ones that will be covering games. That’s right, you, the Bulls Fans are as much a part of this show as we are. So let’s feature a few fans right now..

Ash from Australia
Miss Pearl from Arkansas