NBA Chat with Joel Brigham, 8/8/14

Join Joel Brigham this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET to chat about all things NBA, from the last bits of free agency to Team USA and the upcoming 2014-2015 NBA season! Get your questions in early, and be back here Thursday afternoon to take part in all the fun!

  1. Rob

    Hello Joel,

    thanks for for time!

    Will Mirotic take over the starting PF spot for the Bulls at some point during this season?

    Gibson is a great 6th-man, Gasol, even if healthy, isn´t the player he once was and of course if the Bulls want to play with a stretch-4, Mirotic seems to be the guy.

    How is he on defense?

    • Joel Brigham

      Good afternoon Basketball Insiders family, and welcome to another edition of my weekly chat. I know I’m about 20 minutes late today, but it’s been one of those insane days that feel like an entire 14 hours’ worth of living all smooshed into however many hours there are before lunch. A cold glass of ice tea and a turkey sandwich slathered in some B-dubs spicy Caribbean Jerk sauce, however, was all I needed to be rejuvinated. That and the news that the Love-to-Cleveland trade is all but done.

      In any event, I’m ready to get to your questions, as I’ve spent all day switching back over to basketball mode after using much of the sports portion of my brain for fantasy football stuff the last couple of weeks. The Bulls are as great a place to start as any topic, so here we go:

      I honestly don’t see Mirotic starting this year. Before signing Gasol, that starting power forward spot was supposed to be Taj Gibson’s to lose, but since he’s a good soldier he’ll come off the bench and let the more experienced veteran have the starting spot he was reportedly promised during negotiations. Truth be told, Gibson is probably the best starter of the lot, but he was last year, too, and even though he didn’t start he got more than enough minutes to do his thing and close out games, so all this is fine.

      Mirotic will be an NBA rookie, so while I see him in the rotation, I don’t know that he’ll immediately find his way into the starting lineup. Would love to see him do a little at the three, though. That would give Chicago an ultra-big lineup with some interesting offensive weapons on the floor all at once. He’ll be fine, but Gibson is ready to start now. If the need arises, I think he’s the one who steps up.

  2. James

    How do you think Doug McDermott will do this yr? Do you think he has a chance to start of so how long do you think it’ll take before he starts?

    • Joel Brigham

      Well, before Tony Snell last season, Tom Thibodeau had sort of a reputation in Chicago for red-shirting his rookies for a year, but I don’t think that’ll be the case with McDermott. He’s older than most rookies, plenty accomplished offensively and mature enough to handle a reasonable amount of responsibility as far as playing time is concerned. I think how much he plays depends on how well he can hang defensively with the league’s most talented small forwards.

      But to answer your question about whether or not I see him starting at some point down the road, I have a feeling he’ll come off the bench and be an offensive presence for the new Bench Mob. I think Jimmy and Tony are the starters at the wing positions. We’ll see if Doug can eventually crack that, but like Mirotic, he’s a rookie. It’s going to take some time to adjust to NBA games.

  3. Colin

    Good afternoon Mr Brigham.
    I’ve been pondering Greg Monroe’s situation in Detroit, and can’t help but think that Denver would be a really good landing spot for him via s & t. Denver really need a focal point offensive which Monroe could be, and it would allow him to play Centre, which I still think is his natural position (even if I am in the minority on this). Faried would be an ideal running mate for him, given his energy and rim protecting ability.
    Potentially, Denver have some very tradeable pieces that they could include. I have to think that Van Gundy would love a healthy Gallinari, health obviously being a major concern however. Would a deal centred around Gallinari, Mozgov and future draft assets (of which Denver has many) be enough to interest Detroit?

    • Joel Brigham

      I doubt it. The reality is that Monroe thinks he’s a power forward, so I don’t think he’d go to a place where he’d have to play center. I’m sure playing alongside Faried would be fun, but Andre Drummond is a better complement to him, mostly because he does play center. Detroit knows they’d rather have him than Josh Smith as their starting power forward, but A.) they’re having a hard time dumping off one of the worst contracts in basketball, and B.) they’re not going to bid against themselves in terms of a new contract for the restricted free agent.

      Chances are that he’ll take a qualifying offer and then go unrestricted next summer, but Detroit won’t want to get to that point. Not a fan of the Denver fit, but plenty of teams would chase after this kid with big money were he not restricted. Plenty of teams will have money in 2015, and of course the salary cap will go up again. I think that’s his best option.

  4. Chris G

    If you’re the Lakers, assuming Kobe is healthy again, what approach do you take this year: Ride Bryant, Boozer, and Lin and try to reach the playoffs, or play guys like Randle more and develop them for the future?

    • Joel Brigham

      Play the vets and see what happens, as long as Kobe is in the postseason. The Lakers are a team people expect to see in the postseason, and you don’t want to waste Kobe’s last couple of years in the league, otherwise what are you spending all that money for? It’s not a great lineup on paper, but you never know how all the new guys will mesh. If Kobe gets hurts again, it’s a different story, but if he’s going to play, I don’t think you stifle his competitive nature.

  5. Chris G

    How long of a healthy period will Derrick Rose need before people stop starting every Bulls statement with, “If Rose can stay healthy…” or “Assuming Rose is healthy…” Will one season without a major injury be enough?

    • Joel Brigham

      Yeah, I think he needs to get through this season relatively unscathed to shake that new addition to his name, because you’re right in that he’s no longer just Derrick Rose, he’s Derrick Rose If He’s Healthy. He’s looked great and has received glowing reviews from teammates and coaches at Team USA camp, but he looked great last preseason, too. Sustained greatness and health will get the monkey off his back, and then he can start making the city of Chicago love him unconditionally again. A trip to the NBA Finals–win or lose–would certainly go a long ways toward that.

  6. Daryl

    Which Bulls rookie will have a better season, McDermott or Mirotic?

    • Joel Brigham

      Really good question, but I’m going to go with McDermott simply because Chicago doesn’t have a lot of depth at his position. It’s pretty much just him and Tony Snell. Both guys are sharp-shooters from deep, but scoring is all McDermott is being asked to do, while Mirotic will have a rougher all-around go at things. He also has a new country to adapt to, which can slow things down for some international rookies, as well.

      The Bulls talk about McDermott like he was hand-crafted by God to play for them, so I think he’ll see a lot of floor time, and based on what I’ve seen so far and know about the kid, I think he’ll do plenty with his time on the floor. Mirotic will be good, too, but barring an injury he’ll play less. If only by attrition, I think that gives McD the better shot at immediate success.

  7. Deven

    So are the Cavaliers title contenders or what, with Love on board?

    • Joel Brigham

      Well yeah, obviously. They became title contenders the moment LeBron James came home, because he’s one of the few players in this league that could turn any team into a championship contender just by suiting up for them. Getting Love, though, makes them the favorites in the Eastern Conference, even with their defensive deficiencies. The new Big 3 of Kyrie, LeBron and Love looks formidable, and they’re deeper than any HEAT team ever was, with Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Mike Miller, James Johnson and Anderson Varejao all still on the roster. They could still add Shawn Marion or Ray Allen, for goodness sake. How is that team not a title contender?

  8. Travis

    I have a question about this “firm agreement” Love has to re-sign with Cleveland for five years and 120+ million. How firm is this agreement? What if Love gets injured? It just seems odd to commit long term money a year in advance.

    • Joel Brigham

      Love can’t agree to an extension until January, so that won’t be part of the trade. Love is coming to a team likely headed at least to the Eastern Conference Finals next season, so he’ll have no reason not to extend. He isn’t likely to extend during the season, anyway, so he’ll have the full year to figure out what he wants to do. But if all goes well, why would he leave?

      On the flip side of that, if Love tears an ACL slipping in the shower between now as August 23rd, they could potentially pull the deal back because even handshake deals aren’t official, but everything here is kosher. Love and LeBron will try and sync up their long-term deals as closely as possible. They’re just waiting to do that, nothing more.

      Sorry for the brevity this week, but my late start meant fewer questions than normal. We’ll get things back to normal next week, so until then enjoy your weekend and let’s get pumped for another year of NBA hoops (and fantasy football!)