For those wondering -- and I know you were -- I once overslept in college and missed my taping of "The Gong Show."
Now, back to basketball.
It's only been a few games, but Luol Deng looks like he's more involved this year than in the past. They've allowed him to shoot 3-pointers and he looks more aggressive. Will Carlos Boozer's presence free him up even more for open shots? What are the chances of Deng being an All-Star this year? Mike, Chicago
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But I've written before I think Deng will have a strong season, provided he stays healthy. And people forget he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds last year in an offense that didn't feature him much. Boozer's presence should open the offense up for myriad options, and it's an offense that has looked solid through three games. (I'm writing this before the Knicks game.) But the small forward position is crowded in the East. I'd say a solid season would suffice.
I'm getting married next August and would like nothing more than to hire Ray Clay to do an introduction at the reception. Do you know anyone who may be able to provide contact information? Mike, Chicago
Since this mailbag is read by millions, or at least hundreds, and possibly Ray himself, this is the best I can do. And I'll assume you're a different Mike from Chicago than our Deng questioner.
I noticed during the Detroit and Portland games that Carlos Boozer talks with James Johnson a lot. Has Boozer taken JJ under his wing or am I making too much of it? Steve, Jacksonville, Fla.
Probably a little of both. Although from what I've heard, Boozer talks a lot to everyone. Which is good. You want your new major addition and All-Star power forward to be engaged. JJ has benefited from the tutelage of Scottie Pippen as well, who definitely has taken him under his wing. And that's about as good of advice as you can get.
I saw a Tweet from you recently where you lamented the NBA's decision to schedule a Bulls game on the night Grinderman plays at the Riviera. Let me propose a solution: We can switch jobs! You can spend your days managing the international department of a supply-chain association and have your nights free to attend edgy rock concerts. And I will cover the Bulls and wear eye-catching backpacks. Ready when you are. Tim, Chicago
Yeah, I try to avoid the woe-is-me Tweets considering I'm lucky to have my gig. But the Grinderman show was too much. I mean, I've seen Richard Thompson countless times and Nick Cave a bunch as well. But I've never seen Grinderman or Badly Drawn Boy. It became too much! I'll abstain in the future. Even when my kids say, "Who are you?" after a long road trip.
Joakim Noah has been logging some pretty heavy minutes here in the early going. I'm a bit worried considering his recent foot issues. Is this due to a lack of faith in Kurt Thomas, Taj's early foul trouble or something else? Mike, San Francisco
Something else. He's the most valuable player on the team besides Rose. And he wouldn't be playing if he weren't healthy.
When the Bulls hired Tom Thibodeau, I kept hearing about what a great defensive coach he is. But so far, it seems like their offense has improved, not their defense. What gives? Jim, Peoria
Actually, I reported early in Thibodeau's interview process that Bulls management was blown away by Thibodeau's creative offensive sets. They knew about his defensive rep, which is legit and well-earned. But Jeff Van Gundy was touting how creative Thibodeau's offensive sets were as far back as May, when I interviewed Van Gundy during the playoffs about Tom. The defense will come. They rank fourth in the league as of this writing in opponents' field-goal percentage. Yes, they're fouling too much. But it's a new system with a bunch of new players. I wouldn't worry.
Can you give me your scouting report on Omer Asik and whether he can be an effective player in the NBA? Mitchell, New York City
Hasn't he already been one in stretches? I mean, he's going to experience foul trouble as he adjusts to the speed of the NBA. But his ability to soak up the new systems, rebound in traffic and not be fazed by the physical nature of the game has been impressive. I expect him to show progress even as this season unfolds too.
Do you see Noah making the All-Star team this season? David Frazin, Highland Park
I hate to give you a non-answer, but I do think it will come down to team success as to whether Al Horford or Noah is added as a coach's selection after the fans vote Dwight Howard in as a starter. I think he has an excellent chance if he stays healthy.
Why during the introductions does Tommy Edwards, the PA announcer, state Derrick Rose is from Chicago? Why not say Simeon or Memphis? Lance, Chicago