Contrary to what I reported last week, a new source has told me that James Johnson's doing exceptionally well in practice so far. When I asked about the issue raised to me last week, he said he wasn't aware of it, so it's quite possible it was an isolated incident. While that wasn't specifically discussed, I was told that the coaching staff was quite pleased with Johnson so far.
It's worth remembering in the off-season practices are up to the individual player's discretion. The Bulls have had hard workers throughout the Paxson era, since changing the culture was one of his prime directives when he took the job. While I'm sure we'd all rather win the ring, it is interesting to look back and see that very few guys who've been around this team have been accused of dogging it. Maybe Tyrus Thomas at times, Joakim Noah last summer, that might be about it.
Anyway, sources tell me that Johnson and Gibson haven't missed a day yet while working out in the summer, which says quite a bit about their work ethic given that every day is an optional day. I don't have much more on Gibson, because apparantly I'm such a Johnson fanboy that discussion of Johnson occupied so much of my mental time that I forgot to ask more about Gibson.
Moving along, Johnson drew rave reviews on his coachability, rate of improvement, and ability to push himself. One phrase I especially loved to hear was that he's improving every day and picks up on things quickly. Also, the fact that he was described as pushing himself hard also warms the heart, given that coaches can only pull so much out of you if you can't pull it out of yourself (glares in Eddy Curry's direction).
I was never that concerned with the initial report given how summer practices can go, and most rookies take awhile to transition from college work ethic to NBA work ethic (side note, both levels vastly exceed Thonus work ethic), but the latest reports I've heard show Johnson being ahead of the game in that regard which is all the better.
As a full-fledged James Johnson bandwagon leader, I was pretty excited to hear the news and pass it along despite the fact that nothing annoys me more than reporting two entirely contradictory things from "sources".
I wanted to discuss that a bit too just so that there isn't a misunderstanding. Those who've been following my podcast or realgm postings for a long time are probably already aware of it, but those picking me up via Chicago Now for the first time may not be. When I say a "source" told me something I'm making the following two promises to you:
1) I'm being honest in reporting what I've been told. I'm not creating rumors. You will note, that I almost never report a trade rumor, because the people I talk to aren't in position to honestly discuss those issues with me. If I was going to create something to drive traffic, it would be trade rumors. They're easily deniable and far more interesting than practice habit rumors.
2) If I quote someone as a source, then I'm telling you that they are in a legitimate position to know what I'm reporting. (ie it's not the ice cream guy, and if you've been to the united center in the past five years you know who I mean)
Happy Friday everyone, I know the laterst news made my Friday a bit happier.