JaKarr Sampson knows Bulls should trust the process
JaKarr Sampson provided a nice lesson for all the Bulls on Saturday.
During a 116-96 loss to Philadelphia at the United Center, Sampson scored a career-high 29 points, not bad for a guy who spent most of the season with the Windy City Bulls and was packing up his apartment in Hoffman Estates when he got the call to head downtown earlier this week.
Sampson was also one of three players on the floor who endured the "Trust the Process" years in Philadelphia. He played 74 games with the Sixers in 2014-15, then 47 the following season before getting waived. The Sixers went 26-109 during the time Sampson was on the team.
After his big game Saturday, the 6-foot-8 forward from St. John's was asked if the Bulls can learn from the Sixers' rebuilding experience.
"Stick with the process, it's just that," he said. "Do everything the right way every single day. Those days build up over time. Just stay consistent. We've got team concepts, buy into what coach is saying and just stick together and it will happen."
The Bulls (22-58) tied a franchise record with their 31st home loss of the season. They'll need to beat New York on Tuesday to match the mark for worst home record at 10-31, set in 2000-01.
Former Bulls guard Jimmy Butler sat out with a sore back, but Sixers center Joel Embiid played 28 minutes, scoring 20 points. J.J. Redick led Philadelphia (50-30) with 23 points.
Embiid was with the Sixers while Sampson played there, but he sat out his first two NBA seasons with a foot injury. Sampson seemed comfortable going at Embiid a few times, obviously knowing to pull up for a jumper without getting too close to the 7-footer.
"I think he's showing a little bit more to his game even than he had in camp," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said of Sampson. "He's got the flip shot now, he's got the little jump hook. He can counter to his left hand. So he's grown. And he's not scared, which I love. And he feels he belongs, which I love. I'm really happy for him."
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the only other Bulls player to reach double figures with 14 points. He also spent two seasons with the Sixers, arriving for the 28-54 season in 2016-17.
Philadelphia's backup point guard T.J. McConnell is in his fourth season with the 76ers, starting with the 10-win season in 2015-16. But he's still around as Philadelphia grew into a playoff team, which could be inspiration for a Philly native like Ryan Arcidiacono.
Sampson played 169 NBA games for Philadelphia, Denver and Sacramento. He spent a month in China in the middle of the G-League season, but there's nowhere he'd rather be than right here, right now.
"I feel like it's just God's timing," Sampson said. "I feel it's all about right place, right time, right coach, right situation, right opportunity. Right now that's what you're all seeing. I'm getting the minutes and I've been working on my game too.
"When you're out of the NBA, you get a different appreciation for it. Being in China, being across the ocean, you really be like, 'Man, I've got to take this chance and run with it,' and that's what I'm trying to do."