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News » No Gordon, no special worry for Bulls, thanks to Salmons

No Gordon, no special worry for Bulls, thanks to Salmons

No Gordon, no special worry for Bulls, thanks to Salmons
For most NBA teams, losing your leading scorer without getting anything in return would be a major concern and the talk of training camp.

But the loss of Ben Gordon -- who led the team in scoring each of the previous four seasons -- has been little more than an afterthought during the first few of Bulls training camp.

''BG was definitely a big loss for us,'' swingman John Salmons said. ''But we still have a lot of talent coming back -- and we have [Luol Deng] coming back, which is big for us.

''So, hopefully, we can all come together. We'll have to make up the slack for losing BG.''

The reason no one is sweating the loss of Gordon is the presence of Salmons.

Though he played almost exclusively at small forward since bring acquired from the Sacramento Kings in February last season because of the injury to Deng, Salmons actually has spent most of his career playing shooting guard.

He probably won't lead the team in scoring like Gordon, but Salmons is more of an all-around player and at 6-6 gives the Bulls more size in the backcourt than they've had in years.

''[Salmons] gives you a little more versatility,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''We'll have to wait and see how all that pans out, but you like that length.

''One of the areas we struggled was defensive rebounding, so with more size at the two [shooting guard] and with Luol back healthy and then with a couple of rookies that have some length ... it gives us some more options and versatility.''

No longer will big shooting guards have an automatic post-up advantage against the Bulls , and Salmons provides a bigger obstacle to shoot over.

''The only difference is really on defense,'' Salmons said of moving from small forward to shooting guard. ''Guarding the two and the three, sometimes, is going against two totally different players. Threes are more post-up wings, one-on-one players. A lot of twos run off screens for the most part.

''Like when we play Boston, the three is Paul Pierce, a one-on-one player, and the two is Ray Allen, who runs off screens. It's a big difference defensively.''

Besides being bigger at shooting guard, Deng's return means the Bulls also are bigger at small forward (he's 3 inches taller than Salmons). Del Negro is hoping that will improve the team's defensive rebounding.


31 days until the Bulls' regular-season opener against the San Antonio Spurs at the United Center, Oct. 29, 7 p.m., TNT.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 29, 2009


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