After watching the NCAA championship game, I am convinced that Emeka Okafor is just what the Bulls need. He has a desire to win which I'm not sure many people have on this Bulls team. He dove for a loose ball with his team up 19. If the Bulls get lucky (which they probably won't) and can draft Okafor, do you think that Tyson Chandler has the versatility to move to the small forward spot? --Scott Cockerham, Tucson, Ariz.
If that happens, I think Tyson Chandler has the versatility to move to another team. OK, bad joke. But if the Bulls keep their pick and take Okafor, expect Chandler to be shopped. I don't see both of those players on the same Bulls roster next season. And don't think that players and coaches didn't notice the same thing you didOkafor diving for a loose ball with his team up big. In fact, Antonio Davis talked about that at length.
Theo Ratliff to me. He can't do anything Tyson can't already do. Both have bad backs and RAW offensive games. Tyson is 7-foot-1, not 6-foot-9, and he's experienced. --James, Lakeland, Fla.
I can't give a specific reason because I haven't talked to Paxson directly about Okafor other than to know that he likes him in a general sense. But my guess would be that Okafor is stronger and has a nice body, so even though he has a bad back, he sees potential for the future. Also, he plays hard at all times, which Chandler does as well. Okafor also has the type of general characteristics that Paxson and Skiles seem to be searching for in their playersworks hard, good presence on and off the court, etc.
Do you think Jannero Pargo could possibly be the shooting guard of this team? I mean, in seven-game stretch, he had 134 points to 19.1 points-per-game. I think he can be an Iverson-type player and all he has to do is improve his defense. --Dario Flores, Chicago
You're definitely right about the last part. Pargo has been getting killed on screen-and-roll actions and is not as good of an on-the-ball defender as management had hopedat least not thus far. But, yes, the Bulls look at him as a combo guard. The only reason he plays some point is because of his size. If he were four inches taller, he'd definitely be a shooting guard. But the Bulls don't get hung up on positions and will play Pargo at either guard spot.
I saw video of Jay Williams participating in some fan events at the Final Four. Watching him move around, I do not think he has any hope at all of ever returning to the NBA or any other level of competitive basketball. Is there anyone outside of Jay's family and friends who give his comeback any more than a miraculous possibility? -- Mike VerWay, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
If so, I haven't talked to them. But you have to admire Jay's work ethic and determination, don't you? And I'm as cynical as they come
K.C., great work all season. In regards to the most recent Clippers game (April 2), how rare a feat was it that four Bulls each scored more then 20 points in one game? Has this happened before with the Bulls? Does it happen in the NBA with some regularity? Thanks in advance. --Joe Bein, Chicago
I actually got ripped on the radio for writing that it hadn't happened with the Bulls since Nov. 16, 1985 and then failing to write which four players accomplished the feat that time. (It's called deadlines and lack of space, people.....) But I digress. Yes, this is rare, as evidenced by the fact that it hadn't happened with the Bulls in almost 20 years. And, FOR THE RECORD, those four who did it in 1985 were Dave Corzine, Orlando Woolridge, George Gervin and Sidney Green. And to think: I had a George Gervin poster on my bedroom wall growing up and I didn't show him any love
I realize Jamal Crawford is a restricted free agent this year, but after watching how well he, Kirk, and Pargo played together down the stretch in the Clippers game, do you think it is a lineup Skiles could be happy with? How many teams can match up with a lineup that has three point guards? It seemed to open a lot of space for Curry inside as well. Keep up the great writing and brilliant insight. --Jay P., Raleigh, N.C.
Wow, back-to-back compliments. You guys must be delusional after another long season. I can see your excitement about this lineup on an offensive end. But there is no way that any team could play those three guards for long stretches in this league from a defensive standpoint, something that Skiles has admitted to in interviews. Teams would exploit the matchups too much, especially given that Pargo and, to a lesser extent, Crawford aren't great defensive players. But, yes, I think you'll see this lineup in short bursts over the final few games.
If Tyson Chandler's back woes continue into next season, and Antonio Davis' contributions and skills continue to diminish as they have this year, do you think the Bulls will be sorry for giving up on Marcus Fizer, especially if they do not get the first pick in the draft and take Okafor? --Paul Clements, St. Charles, Ill.
In a word, no. This current regime isn't a big fan of Fizer's style of play, as evidenced by his lack of playing time. But I think you raise a valid question. Fizer has never fit in with the Bulls except for a brief stretch under Bill Cartwright before he tore his knee ligament. And that's been a mystery to pretty much everyone except for those who have been in management since Fizer has arrived.
I know the Bulls don't want to draft a project, but what's their take on Duke freshman Luol Deng? With his incredibly long arms, he reminds me of Pippen with more height, better shooting range, and a huge upside. He can play inside and out, and has a reputation for hustling. A front line of Deng (if he decides to go pro) at small forward, Chandler at power forward and Curry at center could be a very good thing. --Greg Weeda, Richmond, Va.
Again, I haven't talked to anyone inside the Bulls' inner circle directly about Deng. I will once the season ends and the draft approaches. But I know that the Bulls have scouted Deng and my guess would be that they are attracted to him for the very reasons that you list. They like athletic players who work hard. Deng seems to fit that bill.
I've been watching some San Antonio games, and isn't Emanuel Ginobili the kind of player the Bulls should be looking for? He plays tough defense and he can score. Is there any possibility the Bulls would make a trade for him? --Martin Bernhardt, Durango, Colo.
Yes, the Bulls would love to have him. But there's NO possibility San Antonio will trade him.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week,