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October 15, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

ESPNChicago.com
  (12:36 PM)

Nick just texted and said the Bulls' practice is running late, so we're going to start the chat at 12:30 CT. Thanks!

Nick Friedell
  (1:30 PM)

What's going on, everybody? I'm coming at you live from the Berto Center. Let's get this chat rolling ...

Dave (Glendale Heights)

Hey Nick...in your opinion, between Brewer and Bogans, who do you think is a better fit in the starting lineup?

Nick Friedell
  (1:33 PM)

Dave, I haven't seen enough of Brewer yet to make a definitive decision. He's been out most of the preseason. I will say that Thibs really like Bogans a lot and it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up putting him in the starting lineup when the season begins. At some point, I think Brewer will be a starter, but it may not be at the very beginning of the year. Bogans can shoot the 3 and right now, Brewer cant do so as consistently as Thibs would like.

Robert (Grayslake IL)

I'm sure everyone is tired of the Noah/Carmelo deal, but... I would have done it. The way the team is now, the Bulls are a 2nd round playoff team. With Carmelo and no Noah, they are at worst a 2nd round playoff team with potential to be great. As a bulls fan, if we are going to get KO'd in the 2nd rd either way, I'd rather watch Carmelo and Rose than Rose and Noah. Does that make any sense?

Nick Friedell
  (1:36 PM)

Robert, I see what you're saying. The thing is, size usually wins out in this league, and the Bulls clearly didn't want to give up Noah. As I've said over and over, I don't see how Rose/Melo is that much better than Rose/Noah because neither combination would get the Bulls past the Lakers, Magic, Heat or Celtics right now. The Bulls need to find a way to either add Melo or a Melo-type player to the existing core to contend for a title this year.

Joel (Chicago)

Can Asik be productive in the regular season? Or is he going to get pushed around?

Nick Friedell
  (1:38 PM)

Nobody can answer that question right now because only time will tell. Having said that, Thibs is very high on Asik and it sure sounds like he will get at least 10-15 minutes a game once the regular season starts. He definitely needs to bulk up still, but he is only going to get better (and stronger) the more he plays and adjusts to the NBA.

Bryan (The STC)

Nick - I think a lot of people were excited about the idea of Rose and Korver being on the court at the same time (Korver creates space for Rose etc...). So far, that combination hasn't yielded great results. Think Thibs will give that one a bit more of a chance tonight/tomorrow? Since Korver figures to close a lot of games, especially with his FT shooting, we need to see that combo on the court a bit more. Agree?

Nick Friedell
  (1:40 PM)

I think it's going to happen more soon. Rose clearly enjoys having Korver on the floor because he is the long-range threat the Bulls didn't have last year. I think Thibs is just playing around with different combos and trying to figure out what works right now. My guess is that you see more of the Rose/Korver combo in the next few weeks as the regular season gets closer.

Nick (Chicago)

Kyle weaver looked good eachtime he's been given a chance during the pre-season. Why no love for Weaver?

Nick Friedell
  (1:42 PM)

Kyle has played very well at times during the preseason. I think he is just in a numbers game right now. Thibs likes him and has stated as much over the past month, but the Bulls are still debating how many players they want to carry and Weaver is right on the fringe.

Joe (Chicago)

Im headin down for the game tonight. Are all the regulars (minus booz) playing tonight? How many minutes will brewer get?

Nick Friedell
  (1:43 PM)

Thibs just said Brewer will get a few more minutes tonight. He had about 10 against the Raptors, so my guess is that he gets between 15 or 20 tonight. As for the other starters, they don't have any restrictions on them at all.

Mike (Chi)

What do you think of a starting line up of Rose, Korver, Deng, Boozer, Noah??? I like the size but do u think Korver can handle the 2 spot?

Nick Friedell
  (1:46 PM)

For the time being, Thibs isn't even considering Korver for the starting lineup. He likes the offensive firepower he can bring off the bench and he has stated that he would like to see Korver's defense improve. It will either be Brewer or Bogans when the season begins.

jack (chicago)

how many wins do you think the bulls will have this season

Nick Friedell
  (1:46 PM)

50.

Shotta (Brooklyn)

Whats the deal with the backup pg situation is C.J watson reliable enough to run the team when Derrick Rose is out?

Nick Friedell
  (1:48 PM)

The jury is still out on that one, but Thibs has confidence that Watson will be able to fill that role. After playing poorly in Milwaukee last week, Watson responded by knocking down his first four shots against the Raptors and playing well. I think Watson is going to be fine over the course of the season.

TIM (LANSING, IL)

Can Derrick Rose be MVP this year?

Nick Friedell
  (1:49 PM)

No, but in three years it's possible.

Ryan (Minneapolis)

My train of thought on Carmelo... Chicago is a top choice for Melo, but only with Noah on the team. Chicago is not willing to deal Noah (good). Melo nixes any other potential trades for the time being by not agreeing to sign extension... helps put more pressure on the Nuggets to later accept a trade that doesn't include Noah or run the risk of Chicago getting him anyway via Free Agency. Is this reasonable or am I reaching?

Nick Friedell
  (1:51 PM)

The Melo speculation just won't die. You are reaching in this sense, the Bulls don't have enough room to go after him as a free agent next summer. If they want to acquire Melo, Denver has to take back Deng and a few others. I don't see any way right now that they'd do that but Melo's refusal to sign an extension anywhere else may put them in a corner.

KenS (South Side)

Nick,How is Derrick's Dfense progressing? It has always concerned me how he doesn?t apply enough pressure on the opposing PG...he just seems to play position defense by trying to stay in front of his man without threatening to take the ball. It would be nice if the opposing PG had to be concerned with ball security when they play DRose.

Nick Friedell
  (1:52 PM)

He's actually playing much better. Thibs just praised him after shootaround and said that his D has improved over the last few months. I think this is the year you will see him start to take the next step in his defensive progression.

Corey (Chicago)

It looks to me, based on preseason play, Noah's plantar fiscitis is gone. Is he having any lingering effects after games/practices as far as sore feet?

Nick Friedell
  (1:54 PM)

Noah feels great, and says his feet are good, but you never know when the plantar fasciitis can re-appear. After watching him play 40 minutes the other night though, I think Bulls fans can stop worrying about it, at least for a little while.

Kon (Kruglyak)

Nick...what about starting Asik @ center and Noah @ PF while Boozer is out?

Nick Friedell
  (1:56 PM)

Asik isn't ready to play 30 minutes a game. His stamina isn't there and he is still learning a lot about the NBA game. Plus, the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in Taj Gibson.

Mike (France)

Yo Nick, how productive will Luol be this year? Clearly he's been a disappointment the last couple of years even though he can average around 15 ppg. Will he be able to show leadership on this new team w/Thibs?

Nick Friedell
  (1:58 PM)

Deng is going to have a very good season ... as long as he stays healthy. Stop me if you've heard that one before. Deng is in great shape though and loves playing in Thibs' system. As for a leadership role, I think he will leave that to Noah and Rose. He isn't the type of guy who will get in people's faces on the floor.

Rey (Chicago)

Hey Nick, do you think James Johnson will be left of the roster??

Nick Friedell
  (2:01 PM)

Johnson is playing much better this preseason, but I'm still not sure where his minutes are going to come from once the real games begin. There's no way he'll be left off the roster, though.

James (Naperville)

Hey Nick, what is up with the Scalabrine signing? The recent Bulls player rater literally said "he shouldn't be in the league." Was this a case of Thibs loyalty to a former player or does he actually see value with him?

Nick Friedell
  (2:04 PM)

Scal is a Thibs guy -- there's no doubt about that. But, he is a solid locker room guy and is one of those players who is always good to have around. He works hard in practice and his teammates seem to respect him. I'm not sure how much playing time he'll get this season, if any, but he will help the players learn Thibs system and be a positive influence on the bench during games. I don't think there is any way that Thibs cuts him, but we'll see.

Corey (Chicago)

How do you feel about D. Rose playing off the ball with his quickness as the two guard in certain situations? I think he would thrive giving his lateral speed and agility cutting and getting to the rim off screens.

Nick Friedell
  (2:07 PM)

Corey, That's a scenario that Thibs has talked about repeatedly this week. The thought of putting Rose in an off the ball position is something that appeals to him because of the speed and agility you mentioned. I would look for him to experiment with that Rose/Watson backcourt a little more this week.

Ajit (Chicago`)

Nick, ESPN's hollinger has Bucks having a better record then the Bulls this season, what are your thoughts on that?

Nick Friedell
  (2:07 PM)

I love John, but I think he's wrong. I think the Bulls will win the Central.

Pierre (Chicago)

So far Nick, that combination of JOMER looks awesome, do u think that they will still use that combination even when Boozer gets Back? And If the Bulls are missin any pieces what do you think they are?

Nick Friedell
  (2:09 PM)

I think that JOMER is here to stay. Thibs will use that pairing throughout the year, especially when he needs to give Boozer a breather later in the year. As for missing pieces, it's another elite scorer. A player like Carmelo ... who can score 30 a night and put a team on his back if need be.

Bill (St Charles)

Friedell, over/under the Bulls having 1.5 All-Stars this year?

Nick Friedell
  (2:10 PM)

Over. I think both Rose and Noah make the team this year.

Ryan (Chicago)

I've noticed Tibbs playing Noah 40 minuters and other regulars big minutes. And i hear he runs a very tough practice. I personally like that style and I want the Bulls to be one of the best conditioned teams, but do you think that will tire the Bulls out or help become mentally tougher?

Nick Friedell
  (2:15 PM)

If the Bulls win, I don't think many people will be complaining about the tough practices. The players respect Thibs. Obviously, that can change over the course of a long season, but right now they are buying into everything he is selling. I do think he is playing the starters a little too much right now, and he even admitted that he played Noah a little more than he would have liked the other night, but he is trying to build his own program and the results have been good up to this point. I don't think the practices will run for three hours during the season though. Having been in the league so long, Thibs knows when a team can be pushed and when they need a break.

Nick (Wisconsin)

How is Asik's english? I feel like watching the games he sometimes doesn't understand what people are yelling to him, I think improving his English will be one of the biggest things he can do to help his game.

Nick Friedell
  (2:17 PM)

His English is good and he definitely understands what's going on. The running joke in the locker room is that the only time he doesn't understand English is when the media is trying to talk to him. I don't think there will be much of a communication problem at all though.

Chris (Bay Area)

Sup Nick! We all know that DROSE will be on the all star team again this year, but you think he would be interested in participating in the dunk contest? DROSE yackin over Nate, I can see it now.

Nick Friedell
  (2:19 PM)

I asked him about that last year. He said he didn't want to do it and he wasn't creative enough for the contest. I disagree with him completely, but it's his call. I think he could contend, especially if he dunked over Dragic again.

Nick Friedell
  (2:20 PM)

All right everybody, I am out of here. If you're headed to the game tonight come over and say hello. I will talk to you guys next week.