Holiday: Credit Hoiberg for helping young Bulls build confidence
Justin Holiday had a good day at the microphone, providing insight on several topics Thursday at the Advocate Center.
Holiday thinks Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls coaching staff deserves credit for having two players -- Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn -- selected to the Rising Stars challenge on all-star weekend. That game features the league's best rookies and second-year players.
It is true Dunn had a rough rookie season playing for former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota last year.
"One of the reasons why I wanted to come back (to the Bulls), when I was here the first time, he (Hoiberg) let me go out there and make mistakes and grow as a player," Holiday said. "That's something Fred and the coaching staff has done very well and it's show with these two guys going to this game."
The Rising Stars game used to pit rookies against sophomores. It has been adjusted to feature U.S. vs. International players, so Finland native Markkanen and Connecticut-born Dunn will play on opposite sides.
"He's going to 'iso' me a little bit, I know that," Markkanen said about possibly playing against Dunn. "We'll see what happens. But we're trying to get the win."
Nwaba praised for defense:
Justin Holiday was asked about David Nwaba's defensive prowess on Thursday and came back with some personal testimony.
The 6-4 Nwaba had a good night covering Golden State's Steph Curry last week and was called upon to try to stop 6-10 Philadelphia guard Ben Simmons on Wednesday.
"There's a lot of things he's able to do because of just what he's blessed with," Holiday said. "You guys have seen it -- when he blocked Kyle Korver's shot. I played with Kyle Korver and practiced with him. Blocking his shot, I haven't seen it done many times.
"(Nwaba) is for sure one of the best shot-contestors I've played against and I've experienced it in practice. Usually, I can get my shot off on anybody, so I had to learn with him -- you either have to pump fake or figure out something else."
Former Bulls forward Carlos Boozer closed out his NBA with the Lakers and is expected to participate in the Big 3 League.
- Associated Press/2015 file
Zach LaVine's minutes limit is expected to increase to 26 or 28 for Friday's game against the Lakers, according to coach Fred Hoiberg. LaVine has now played in six games since returning from ACL surgery. … According to multiple reports, ex-Bull Joakim Noah will take a two-game leave of absence from the New York Knicks for unspecified reasons. Noah has been limited mostly to garbage-time minutes this season. … Speaking of ex-Bulls, Carlos Boozer is slated to join the Big 3 league this summer.
Holiday thinking playoffs:
A victory at Philadelphia would have brought the Bulls within 5 games of the Sixers for the final playoff spot in the East. The game didn't work out in the Bulls favor, but have they considered setting the playoffs as a team goal after the low expectations and a 3-20 start?
"We play this game to win. We want to make the playoffs," Holiday said. "Regardless of our start and things like that, there's still a possibility. There's still games played. Until we can't make the playoffs, that goal won't change.
"I can't really come up here and lie to you and say, 'No, we're out here just to put this Bulls jersey on and have a good time.' We want to win games and hopefully get to the ultimate goal of getting to the playoffs and see what we can do."