Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 15, 2:00 PM ET


Nick Friedell
  (1:58 PM)

Hello from Phoenix -- How is everybody doing? Let's get this chat rolling ...

Dustin (Chicago)

Seems to me that the 2nd unit cant score for crap. Booz has struggled early this season,besides last night. Why not put Booz in the 2nd unit and start Gibson. It would hopefully get booz going against other teams 2nd units and also give Gibson a chance to start and bring more defense to the starting line up. Just my opinion obviously. Whats your take?

Nick Friedell
  (2:01 PM)

Boozer is going to start until he leaves Chicago. Thibs knows that he wouldn't be able to accept coming off the bench. As much criticism as Boozer takes though, he can still be an offensive player. As popular as Taj Gibson is, the reality is that he hasn't played very well in the first month of the season. Boozer is still the best option right now.

Matt (Lincoln Park)

So far, Joakim's stats are up. Is this a product of improved play or simply more minutes on the floor?

Nick Friedell
  (2:03 PM)

Both. Joakim was very proud of the way he worked this offseason with his trainer, Alex Perris. He feels like he is in great shape and over his ankle injury. He worked hard on his offensive game so that his tornado jumper would become more consistent. That is what's happened over the first month of the season.

Matt (Lisle, IL)

What are your thoughts on Marquis Teague so far? Is he Rose's backcourt companion for the long-term future?

Nick Friedell
  (2:06 PM)

Marquis had a nice fourth quarter against the Celtics the other night but I still think he needs a lot of work. The athleticism is there and his game will continue to grow, but I think he is still several years away from being a consistent role player. Remember, he's just 19 -- Thibs and his staff will work with him.

mart J (chicago)

Nick,why are you such a huge hater of the Chicago Bulls and a lover of the Miami Heat? Do you think you can ever do an article where you do not favor your hometown team? Do you report on the bulls with a bias towards the heat? I believe most fans that read your articles do.

Nick Friedell
  (2:09 PM)

HAHAHA. A lover of the Heat? I grew up in Orlando, man. There wasn't a team I hated more growing up than the Heat. I am a professional journalist now -- just because I think the Heat are better than the Bulls doesn't mean I hate the Bulls. I have actually really enjoyed covering this team -- I just don't think they have ever been good enough to beat the Heat. Get over it.

Tim G (Chicago )

Hi, Nick. Do you think management regrets letting Asik walk?

Nick Friedell
  (2:10 PM)

Yes, I'm sure they do. But give Houston all the credit -- they put together that poison pill deal that the Bulls just couldn't match. The issue for the Bulls is that they got nothing in return for Asik. I think that is what angers many Bulls fans more than anything.

Rob (Downtown Chicago)

Hi Nick. I am kind of concerned about the Bulls over the last few games. It seems like their good defense only comes out in spurts leaving long stretches that lack the defensive intensity we are used to. Is this what we can come to expect from this Bulls team?

Nick Friedell
  (2:12 PM)

Rob, I think this is the new reality. The difference is that the Bulls' second unit just isn't as good as it used to be. I think that's the major reason why this team is struggling defensively at times.

Frank (Arlington Heights)

Who, in your opinion, has been the biggest disappointment so far this year, and also, the biggest surprise?

Nick Friedell
  (2:14 PM)

It's still very early -- but I'd say the biggest surprise is that Joakim Noah has been able to play at such a high level while playing 40+ minutes a night. As for a disappointment, Taj Gibson is struggling, but I'd probably say the play of Belinelli. He's had a couple nice quarters, but he has not provided the consistent offense the Bulls were hoping for off the bench.

Dee (Chicago)

Does it make sense to trade Booz for Amare? Seems that Melo plays better when the lane isn't clogged with bodies and Booz doesn't like to play in the lane anyway.

Nick Friedell
  (2:15 PM)

I wouldn't trade for Amare in any situation because of his ongoing knee problems.

Jon (Chicago)

You see any development in Butler's game? I know the Bulls usually just bring him in for D, but I think he is improving and would like to see him play more of an offensive role with the second team. What do you think?

Nick Friedell
  (2:18 PM)

Jimmy's jumper is becoming a little more consistent and that's the key. His defense was never the issue and he's been making more hustle plays of late. If he can develop more offensively he will become a valuable piece off the Bulls' bench.

Miguel B (Los Angeles)

Hi Nick. Do you think that there is any chance that the Bulls can make any moves by the trade deadline to possibly get another big player to fill in while D. Rose is gone and to complement him when he comes back? Any rumors floating around?

Nick Friedell
  (2:20 PM)

I don't think the Bulls are going to make any deals right now. They are hard-capped -- they know they aren't going to win a title this year. If anything, I think they may look to deal someone like Rip if another team wants him down the stretch.

John (Schaumburg)

Hey Nick, would you be concerned over last nights game? I know it was a win but at one point the Bulls were up 18 points and it ended up going to OT. Lack of defense or offensive creativity? Thanks!

Nick Friedell
  (2:22 PM)

Here's the concern, John: They still have nobody to go to down the stretch. It's become very clear in the last few weeks and it was the problem everyone feared without Derrick Rose. The Bulls must play better offensively and find ways to score late -- like they did in OT last night.

REY (Chicago)

Hey Nick, bottom line is it best for the bulls if Bobcats just miss playoffs this year or stay really bad??

Nick Friedell
  (2:24 PM)

Ah, the Bobcats' pick. It's something that Gar has repeatedly talked about as an asset. The Bulls better hope the Bobcats stay bad and stop winning or else that pick isn't going to be nearly as good as everybody thought.

Joe (Wicker Park) [via mobile]

Hey Nick do you believe Joakim Noah makes the All-star team this year. He's having a great year so far. The only thing that holds him back is the funky set up of the the front court voting. You might see Small Fowards manning the pivot in the All-star game. What do you think Nick, Noah makes it or not if he keeps his level of play...

Nick Friedell
  (2:26 PM)

If Jo keeps playing like this ... he will be on the All-Star team.

Paul (Chicago)

Do you see the Bulls resting Rip more and if so who gets those extra minutes? Teague, bellinelli, butler?

Nick Friedell
  (2:27 PM)

Yes, I do -- especially early. The Bulls would like to go to Belinelli but he hasn't shot well, so I think the better bet would be Butler.

norm (chicago)

are the Bulls trying to tank unintentally?? That starting 5 is pretty brittle.I think if they lose any one of the starting for a extended period,it could be a long season

Nick Friedell
  (2:29 PM)

Do you really believe Tom Thibodeau would ever go for any scenario in which his team tried not to win? No.

sean (chicago)

Nick, Is it me or does the bulls owner care more about the white sox than the bulls ? White sox have attendance issues but still there payroll is over a 100 million.

Nick Friedell
  (2:32 PM)

That's because there is no salary cap in baseball.

Jeff (Chicago)

If the Bulls arent hitting their jumpers, they can't win. How can they start to mve the ball inside-out to create more space for shooters off of screens. It seems like Hamilton and Hinrich have to dribble the ball too much to find open shots.

Nick Friedell
  (2:34 PM)

Thibs is probably working on this as we speak -- the issue for the Bulls is that they just don't have a lot of shooters on the team. They don't have a lot of guys that can create for themselves off the dribble.

adrian peterson (minnesota)

Is there a chance Derrick Rose comes back before the Allstar break??

Nick Friedell
  (2:37 PM)

I don't think so, AP. Derrick is trying to follow your lead, though. You set a trend that every injured athlete is trying to follow.

Chris (Green Bay)

So if this season is a "waste" season, no deals coming, what are some moves the Bulls might be in line to make come this off season? Any good FAs we might target?

Nick Friedell
  (2:38 PM)

Not this summer, Chris. I think the Bulls will continue to try and clear out space in advance of next summer.

Angel (Bogota)

If Hinrich keeps getting hurt, do you see the Bulls getting a veteran minimum type of player? If so, who is available?

Nick Friedell
  (2:40 PM)

The Bulls will probably add one more player in the next few weeks, but I don't think it will be another point guard. Thibs likes the way Teague is coming along and doesn't want to send him to the D-League.

Tony (Chicago)

Nick. Do you think the Bulls have any interest in Tyreke Evans? He seems like the perfect player for Thibs to bring out his true potential. Sacramento is a disaster, and nobody will learn anything there currently.

Nick Friedell
  (2:43 PM)

I think the Bulls would have interest in any player as talented as Evans. The problem is that until they amnesty Boozer and make a decision on what to do with Deng in a couple years, they don't have any cap space.

Michael (Eau Claire, WI)

Hinrich isn't scoring as much as many of us fans had anticipated. Do you think he turns it around and starts scoring, or stays on the same pace?

Nick Friedell
  (2:43 PM)

Hinrich will score more than he has so far this year. He is still battling a couple nagging injuries. If he can get healthy, I think he will be fine.

Jesse (Loop)

Has the Gar Forman/John Paxson clock started again. It seemed as they bought themselves some time by bringing together a great bench mob last season, but now it seems as it is business as usual? Think it's time for a change in the front office?

Nick Friedell
  (2:46 PM)

I don't think the clock is ticking at all and I don't think it's time for a change. Having said that, both men understand that they must find another superstar to pair with Derrick Rose. If they miss out on doing that in the next couple years, fans are going to be very, very upset.

Dave (Chicago)

In OT last night Bulls started to go a lot to Noah and he came through. Seems like we have seen a lot of Boozer in the first quarter and a lot more plays to Noah towards the end of games. Think Noah will become more of a focal point on offense early in games in the foreseeable future?

Nick Friedell
  (2:48 PM)

Yes, I do. He has a lot more confidence in that jumper and it will continue to grow as long as he keeps making that shot. Teams will have to play up on him if he keeps making it which will open up the floor for the rest of his teammates.

Nick Friedell
  (2:51 PM)

All right everybody, I've got to get to the airport and go to LA. Thanks for all the questions. I will talk to you guys next week. If you are at a game, come over and say hello.