Central Notes: Bulls, Nelson, J.R. Smith, Pacers

The Bulls need to get more serious about tanking and start making moves to improve their lottery chances, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com argues. Cristiano Felicio, Paul Zipser, Noah Vonleh and Cameron Payne should receive a lot more playing time, while veterans like Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday should have their minutes reduced, Friedell says. Holding out Zach LaVine on the second game of back-to-backs would also facilitate the cause, Friedell adds.

Also around the Central Division:

  • Small forward James Ennis and point guard Jameer Nelson have jumped right into the Pistons’ rotation after being acquired just before the trade deadline. Ennis, who was traded by the Grizzlies for forward Brice Johnson and a future second-round pick, has averaged 9.5 PPG and 17.5 MPG over the past two games. Nelson, who was traded by the Bulls for Willie Reed and future draft considerations, has averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.0 APG in 19.5 MPG during his first two games with Detroit.
  • Nelson, 35, told Hoops Rumors and other reporters that he’d like to continue playing after this season. The Pistons point guard be an unrestricted free agent this summer.  “I never want to put a limit or a time frame on my career,” he said. “My body feels good, my mind is right. So I’ll just continue to work. My body and mind will tell me when it’s time for me to go. I think there will be a lot of teams that will need a guy like me next season.”
  • Pacers players lobbied GM Kevin Pritchard to stand pat during the trade deadline, Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star relays. Pritchard was approached by six players, who told him they wanted to see what they could accomplish with the current mix. “They feel like they are overachieving and had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Pritchard said during a press conference. “They wanted to have the opportunity to finish this out and try to get into the playoffs. … That carried a lot of weight with me.”
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith held onto his roster spot and retained his starting job, but he admits he was sweating out the deadline, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. “My name was being thrown around a lot out there, so it was nerve-wracking for sure,” Smith said. “When you see six guys getting traded and there’s still more than an hour to the trade deadline, there’s no telling what can happen.” Smith is owed $30.3MM over the next two seasons, which made his contract difficult to move, McMenamin notes.
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16 thoughts on “Central Notes: Bulls, Nelson, J.R. Smith, Pacers

  1. oriolesravenstimberwolves04

    Could the Anthony-Towns, Wiggins, Lavine be a similar “what if” to Harden, Westbrook, and Durant?
    Opinions?

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    • hiflew

      Nowhere close. At least not yet. Lavine would be Harden in this situation and he didn’t light it up immediately like Harden did in Houston. Harden was the Rockets from day one. Wiggins is a good player, but he is not Westbrook. I also doubt that Towns is the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” type like KD. I have a feeling he is more of the Dirk Nowitzki “franchise guy” than someone that will just run to the best team.

      BTW, it is just Towns. It is Karl-Anthony Towns not Karl Anthony-Towns. I apologize for being too nitpicky, just a pet peeve of mine.

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  2. ChiSoxCity

    Yeah, don’t hold your breath waiting on the Bulls to tank for a lottery pick. A smarter organization recognizes that draft position should be top priority if you’re the Bulls. Unfortunately, they’ve proven themselves to be among the dumbest organizations in professional sports (right there with the Bears and Browns).

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    • moazetongue

      Hey now. The Browns aren’t dumb. They’re dysfunctional. A combination of dumb and dumber along with a dose of an owner trying to dodge the Feds.

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      • ChiSoxCity

        Considering your ownership’s hiring (and firing decisions), draft history, and trades, no one can argue about the Browns being the “dumbest” organization in professional sports. No fan base should have to wear bags over their heads for decades.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          The Browns are without question the worst sports franchise in America!

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    • Bryzzo2016

      Yeah, it’s so hard because I love the Bulls. I watch every game I can. I bought league pass just so I can see there games in L.A. They’ve been in the playoffs a helluva lot more than they haven’t in my lifetime. So, I find myself watching them and hoping they lose by 1 every game. I want the kids, the core, to continue to play well, but they really need a top 5 pick to go along with the Pel’s pick (hopefully lottery). The top of the next draft is so stacked!

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      • Gary

        I remember feeling the exact same way in the 90s and the 2000s with the Warriors. Watching every game and hoping they lose by one. Nice memories. But it’s funny even with the number one pick, the number 3 pick, they still screwed it up. I’m of the opinion now after all these years that doesn’t matter where you pick if you Scout well and draft well you’ll be fine.

        I don’t think tanking works. Spurs, look at some of their draft picks in the twenties. Superstar guys get drafted number 7, number 12, around the league.

        Just try to win every game and just do the best you can drafting. Steph Curry number 7 Klay Thompson number 11 Draymond Green 31 Kawhi Leonard 15 etc etc number one picks, number 2 picks, don’t always pan out or they get hurt or whatever the case is.

        Mike Dunleavy Jr the third pick, Patrick O’Bryant, Todd Fuller, Ike Diogu, Michael pietrus, the list goes on for the Warriors bad choices for all those bad years.

        Finally after 30 years they’re pretty good couple years in a row. Sorry for the novel it’s been a lot of years suffering badly with those 80s, 90s, early 2000 Warriors.

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        • hiflew

          That’s quite a list of Warrior busts. We could also add Adonal Foyle, Andris Biedrins, Troy Murphy, Tyrone Hill, and Anthony “Boots” Randolph. Not to mention trading away HOF picks like Kevin McHale and Vince Carter.

          The argument could be made that before the success of this decade, the Warriors were one of the worst franchises in all of sports. It was a long bit of suffering between Wilt and Curry.

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          • bowserhound

            The W’s real bad choice was Mullin as GM. He took real bad to worse.

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            • x%sure

              Don Nelson had some exciting teams. Richmond Hardaway Mullin Sprewell Webber Space-hook Mario run-tmc dangerous playoff opponent, does Nelson just not like big men. I lived there then, good teams. Humm-babies, WS earthquake, niners ruled, beautiful russians on the Sharks.

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              • Gary

                I could write a book about those years. I loved Nelson and the Warriors they were so exciting. Run TMC won 50 games playing small ball and all they needed was a big man.

                I called off sick from work to watch the 93 draft and they pulled off that trade to get Chris Webber. I couldn’t believe the Good Fortune.

                All set for the season and Tim Hardaway rips his ACL in training camp. Avery Johnson couldn’t quite get it done like Hardaway could. The rest of that era is history. Traded Richmond for Billy Owens Etc.

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            • Gary

              I rant on Mullins stint as GM of the Warriors many times. I approached him in Summer League 1 year and said why did you sign a guy who shot less than 40% from the field to one of the richest contracts of that time? He’s not even a point guard.. he’s a 6-2 shooting guard and you’re asking him to run the point for the first time in his life. Never worked out and they shipped Derek Fisher to Utah, who killed them in the playoffs by coming off the bench in that fourth game and hitting 3-pointers in the corner to finish the Warriors off. lol what a story.

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          • Gary

            Yes, exactly!! Terrible to say the least. I named five or six guys and that’s not the half of it… there’s so many more like you say.

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  3. Djones246890

    They should’ve traded Lopez and Holiday. Lopez and Holiday (together) could have yielded a 1st rounder, for a team in the playoff hunt.

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