Chat with Nick Friedell
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Friday, Nick Friedell stops by to chat about the NBA season as well as the Chicago Bulls.
Friedell covers the Chicago Bulls for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
Send your questions now and join the chat Friday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Nick Friedell (1:01 PM)
How is everybody doing? I am coming at you live from Dallas. Let's get the chat rolling.
Why does Derrick Rose still not get the calls that other superstars get?
Nick Friedell (1:04 PM)
Now this is a question that has been bouncing up for a while. I think a lot of refs have a hard time making calls in Derrick's favor because he is so fast and creates so much contact. Having said that, I don't know what the right answer is. Rose clearly doesn't get the frequent whistle that other stars get. Maybe he should complain more -- that used to help Kobe and LeBron ...
Dave (Glendale Heights)
Hey Nick...how is Korver's knee feeling? Is he going to be able to continue to play through the injury or do you think he might miss some time in the near future?
Nick Friedell (1:06 PM)
Korver says it's still a little sore. The ironic part is that he's played his best basketball of the season. The Bulls are keeping a close eye on it, though. If it continues to bug him I think they may give him a few days off down the line.
Why isn't JJ playing?
Nick Friedell (1:07 PM)
The easy answer is that Thibs doesn't trust him yet. He seemed to gain his trust a little when he was playing solid D a few weeks ago, but it was the Boston game two weeks ago which helped knock him out of the rotation. He took a couple ill-advised shots and we haven't heard from him since.
Nick, Any chance of Taj actually showing up on this road trip? Booz got his cast off but isn't back for a couple weeks and we really need him to step it up or this trip could be bad.
Nick Friedell (1:09 PM)
Taj is frustrated with the way he's playing, but I think he'll bounce out of it. He's just going through one of his first slumps as a pro. He's going to keep shooting. The bigger issue is that I think the plantar fasciitis which hampered him last season is still a lingering problem.
What is the status on Boozer? Also, any developments on Melo being traded?
Nick Friedell (1:10 PM)
Boozer is still a few weeks away. Thibs sounds as if it will still be a little bit of time before he's back. The cast is off, but he still hasn't been cleared for contact. I thought he may be back by the first of December, but in talking to him I think it may be a week or two later now. As for Melo, there is nothing new.
Are you surprised that Rose is averaging close to 9 assists per game even before Boozer has made his return?
Nick Friedell (1:12 PM)
No, I'm not. The Bulls are dependent on Rose for pretty much everything offensively. It's because of his ability, especially the improved jumper, which opens up the floor for the rest of his teammates.
Nick, The Bulls have been playing well to start the year but still have some glaring holes......one will clear up once Booz comes back, another is FT shooting.....we've been atrocious lately and lastly we have the one quarter where we don't even play. Is this problem mental or what? Against the Spurs in the 3rd Q, we started settling for jumpshots and they weren't falling....why did they get away from attacking the basket. They had so much success by attacking the basket in the first half and seemed like they forgot how to do that in the 3rd Q.
Nick Friedell (1:16 PM)
The free throw problem concerns Thibs a lot -- obviously. The Bulls work on them constantly but they can't seem to hit them in games. I think a lot of it is mental. They are thinking too much at the line. As for the aggression, look for them to focus on that a lot more tonight. That is exactly what they went away from in San Antonio.
stevey silverman (chicago)
With the return of boozer in the horizon: Will that help or hurt the stradom of D Rose?
Nick Friedell (1:16 PM)
It's only going to help. Boozer's presence will open the floor up more for Rose. It was also give him a reliable presence down low to work the ball into.
Nick, I'm so fed up with watch Asik on the offensive end. Has there ever been a player in the NBA that is that big and that strong who goes up as weak as Omar does when he's at the basket? What type of minutes do you see him playing when Boozer is back in the line-up? I'm hoping none!
Nick Friedell (1:18 PM)
Dan, I think the biggest problem is that Asik is not as big and strong as he can be right now. After a couple years in the weight room he will be much better. He's still learning the NBA game, I think he'll improve as the season goes along. Thibs likes him so I think he'll still average 10 minutes or more even when Boozer comes back.
Is there at least a sense of urgency from Boozer to get back on the court? "Another week or two" is no small matter, and he's already living up to his Utah rep. We already have one forward with a huge contract and a trend of nursing injuries.
Nick Friedell (1:20 PM)
Boozer wants to get back on the floor badly. I think he's talking about it already. But he hasn't even started with contact yet, so it's hard to imagine him being back in the next couple weeks.
Nick, what record do you see the Bulls ending with after this road trip?
Nick Friedell (1:20 PM)
2-5. It will be hard for them to win any of the next four, unless Nash is still out in Phoenix.
Any hope for C.J. Watson to get a clue offensively? I know he's coming from a GS team, but every time I see him on the court i just get frustrated with his shot selection and turnovers. I can't wait to see the Bulls out here in Denver the day after Thanksgiving!!
Nick Friedell (1:23 PM)
C.J. is struggling. There is no doubt about that. The Bulls still believe in him, but he definitely looks more like a 2 guard than a point guard. Forget the offense part, they need him to just concentrate on setting up the rest of the team. It looks like he is still struggling to get them into sets sometimes.
Nick. I saw you at Kirkwood this summer. You're really cute. Do you have a girlfriend? If not, would you like to go on a date some time?
Nick Friedell (1:25 PM)
Stacey, I'm single. Come and find me at the United Center some time. By the way, tell Jon Greenberg I said hello.
Is there any concern about the SG rotation and are there any plans to move players to address consistancy/production at the position?
Nick Friedell (1:27 PM)
Definitely still a concern. Bogans, Brewer and Korver are all starting to play better but each one still has their weaknesses. If Brewer keeps playing well he may end up in the starting lineup later in the year, but his jumper is still ugly. He can't hit the open three like Bogans and Korver can.
I have a question regarding the roation. It seems like Thibs plays his starters deep into the first quarter. His first sub doesn't come till 2 or 3 minutes left in the quarter. Do you think that will wear down his team in the long run?
Nick Friedell (1:29 PM)
At some point, yes. That's why it has to be a major concern that the bench is struggling at times. The good news for the Bulls is that over the last two games the bench has played some of its best basketball. Just look at last season, though. Players started to break down in the middle of the season after too many minutes. I think Thibs will keep an eye on it and respond accordingly.
Nick, with Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans struggling early in the season, to provide scoring at the other guard position, is there any talk around the team that the Kirk Hinrich trade was ill advised as he could have helped with the scoring load either with the first or second unit?
Nick Friedell (1:31 PM)
The Bulls would love to have Hinrich, but they had to deal him because nobody wanted Deng's contract. They had to get his salary off the books in order to go after LeBron and another star. Trust me though, they would love to have Hinrich and Hinrich would love to be back.
Michael L (Irving Park)
Have you been surprised how well the Bulls have played without Boozer in the lineup? Also, what are the chances Noah is an allstar this year?
Nick Friedell (1:33 PM)
No, I haven't been surprised because the core from last year's team is still here. Rose, Noah and Gibson are even better. Deng has found some new life under Thibs and the bench has been decent. As for Noah, I think there's about a 95% chance he's an All Star this year.
Phoenix got housed by Miami and Orlando in consecutive games. Nash might allow Rose to score 100. You don't think the Bulls have a shot?
Nick Friedell (1:35 PM)
It's going to be tough because all Phoenix wants to do is run. The Bulls will be on the second night of a back to back. The night before they are playing the Lakers. If Nash plays, I think the Bulls are in trouble.
Jake (VA Beach)
Nick...should I visit you in Chicago for a game if girls throw themselves at you like this?
Nick Friedell (1:36 PM)
Sure, why not? Benny the Bull is a ladies' man. I'm sure we can hook you up with somebody.
Hey Nick!I have a question regarding the bulls offense. I've only seen a couple games this year (listened to the rest on the radio) and I wanted to talk about secondary scoring options. Noah, Deng and Gibson all seem capable of putting up big numbers to help Rose out. Why do you think that Rose's offensive help has been so inconsistent?
Nick Friedell (1:39 PM)
Solid question, and one the Bulls are still trying to figure out. The biggest issue is that none of the players you listed besides Rose are "scorers". They're more of secondary options. Their offense comes off of somebody else and none of those guys can create their own shot. In the last two games, Gibson is 1-for-16, Deng is 12-for-38. If they keep shooting like this throughout the trip, the Bulls may not win another game for a while.
Iain (Cambridge, MA)
Any sense of how Gar feels about the team's performance so far? Is he going to be busy or want to stand pat?
Nick Friedell (1:41 PM)
He has to be happy considering they way they've played without Boozer. I do think he will look to make a trade if the right one pops up, though. In his heart of hearts, he knows this Bulls team isn't good enough at the moment to contend for a title.
Whats up with Thibs' rotations to start the 2nd quarter now? Also, I like scalabrinie, but playing him more than 8 minutes a game is a bit outrageous.
Nick Friedell (1:43 PM)
Ah, the Scal question. The reason Scal played so much is because Thibs trusts him. It's really as simple as that. I couldn't believe he was in that much in crunch time, either. Especially considering he had barely played over the last couple of weeks. But Thibs is comfortable with him and was hesitant to put Taj back in because he has been struggling.
Nick, what can be attributed to poor 3rd quarters this season?
Nick Friedell (1:45 PM)
A lack of energy. Thibs has to figure out a way to get his team up and running before the break ends. It's up to Rose and Noah to set the tone in that regard. They know it, and I think they will start to improve on that tonight.
It's been four games since Joakim Noah's last double-double. Obviously, he can't do it every night but is there any reason for concern as his rebounding numbers have gone down?
Nick Friedell (1:47 PM)
He had a double double on Wednesday night. He also had 14 rebounds. What are you talking about?
mike jones (Maryland)
Is Derrick Rose the fastest player in the NBA?
Nick Friedell (1:47 PM)
Nope, I think John Wall is. So does Rose.
JB (Long Beach, CA)
Nick, any explanation for the wild swings in defense. One quarter allowing 15-20 points and then a 35 point disaster the next quarter? It can't be that they just relax mentally..or in coach-speak, "it takes time to fully adjust to any defensive scheme." What does Thibs say on this?
Nick Friedell (1:50 PM)
Thibs says that's it's all part of being a "48 minute team" and it's clear the Bulls aren't that at the moment. The biggest issue in that regard is that he's worried about the energy level. When a team takes it to the Bulls, as San Antonio did in the third quarter on Wednesday night, the Bulls have a hard time responding.
Is there a worse offensive player in league other than brewer?
Nick Friedell (1:51 PM)
That's harsh. Brewer is not that bad. He's actually getting better, too. Off the top of my head, what about Ben Wallace?
Dexter (Chicago )
Any chance we make a move to get OJ Mayo this season or in free agency? Melo would be nice but Deng can score and play good defense. Mayo plays great defense, is a good 3 point shooter and can create his own shot. Although Bogans plays good defense and can shoot the 3 he completely disappears when plays are broken/rose is out and the ball is in his hands
Nick Friedell (1:52 PM)
Mayo is a great player, but where is the money coming to come from to sign him unless they move Deng?
What would keep Korver from being the starting SG?
Nick Friedell (1:52 PM)
Defense, or lack thereof.
Nick, how bad would it have been if Bosh became a Bull and still "wanted to chill"? I don't see Thibs meeting anyone "halfway"
Nick Friedell (1:53 PM)
Not a chance. Thibs would have had Bosh running suicides all day and night. Like I've said, I think Boozer was a better fit for the Bulls than Bosh anyway.
Nick, do you think Boozer's presence will allow Rose to play longer minutes? Will this allow Rose to take a few offensive possessions off to conserve energy?
Nick Friedell (1:56 PM)
Not really because Rose is still the focal point for everything offensively. It will be up to him to get the ball into Boozer and run the offense. I see what you're saying, but he's still going to have to run around and distribute all the time.
What kind of Defensive player can Rose be?
Nick Friedell (1:57 PM)
A good one. He works on his defense constantly with Thibs. I think you'll see a big improvement over the next few years.
jake (bloomington, in)
why do you never post my questions?
Nick Friedell (1:57 PM)
There you go, Jake. Happy?
Carlos M. (Phoenix)
Hey Nick i'll be at the Suns game next wednesday. Where would I be able to find you at while there?
Nick Friedell (1:59 PM)
Right in front at press row. Bring the Suns cheerleaders with you, Carlos.
jake (bloomington, in)
thanks nick. you're the best!!!!
Nick Friedell (2:00 PM)
What a way to end the week. Thanks for the questions, guys. I'll talk to everyone from Denver next week.