Brian Scalabrine was the first man I saw in the interview room and he had quite a bit to say about Tom Thibodeau. I interviewed him as part of a group, so not all of the questions are mine, but here's Brian's take on his role with the Bulls, whether he expects to make the team, and Tom Thibodeau as head coach.
Your contract isn't guaranteed, do you expect to make the roster?
You're known for your shot and your hustle what are you going to do here?
don't know yet. I'll have to see when we go through practice. Am I
going to play the four? The three? Do both? I'm just looking for an
opportunity to go out and play.
Any clues as to what Thibodeau will run offensively?
It's not so much what you run on the offensive end as opposed to how well you teach it.
Can you tell us a little more about Tom?
He's a good communicator, a good teacher, at the end of the day he's a guy who works hard. We'll know what we need to know. We'll go over the things we struggle with and make the adjustments. Everything you want from a good coach we're going to have. It's just going to be our players who will follow suit and get on board. We have the talent, so we should have a good year.
He seems beyond thorough.
Yeah, I would say that. He was a defensive coach in Boston, but he's not just that. Don't look at him as a defensive coach look at him as a great teacher. The hardest thing to do is teach defense, but offensively we'll work on our spacing and those are the types of things he'll do to put everyone in position to succeed.
What do you think of the nucleus from afar?
Definitely the young players are good. WE played them two years ago in the playoffs and consistently those guys made plays. What we've done here is bring in guys who that fit to play around those type of guys. Boozer's a top 2 or 3 pick and roll player, and so is Derrick, so those types of guys complement each other.
In terms of the defense, is it going to be difficult for everyone to learn the rotations and system?
It's going to be difficult for the bigs. The bigs control everything because they have to see what's going on. The guards need to make adjustments, but it's all about the bigs making calls, making them early, and making them loud. I think that's going to be the thing we need to do is make sure the inside players are calling out the coverages.
What did you see in terms of Thibodeau the head coach while you were in Boston?
The biggest thing is he's a good communicator. He's going to go over everything we need to go over. He's going to study the film and find the weaknesses of the team and we'll address them on a daily basis. I think that's the maker of a good coach. Communicate, identify what needs to be worked on, and then go out there and execute that as a coach.
Doc credited Tom a lot, with Tom as a main man, does he need his own Thibodeau on his staff?
I don't know that answer, but I know Tom is going to be extremely thorough in what he does. We're going to be a prepared team. Tom and the whole staff are not going to let things go by the wayside. Things are going to address issues that come up, and we're going to make those adjustments.
In Boston there was one voice, so what can you tell us about Tom's personality?
There wasn't one voice in practice I can tell you that. I know in practice he was just as involved as Doc was, and we didn't just have success because of great players it was because it was a talented organization.
So much of this summer was about who's going to be where and team building,there's always players on the other end, is it hard for players to know their job is in jeopardy or they could be traded?
I'm not sure about that, I'd take it as the utmost complement if someone wanted to trade me for Carmelo Anthony. With TV shows about guys deciding where they're going and everything the league has gone into an entirely different thing with the media. There's rumors everyday, so I don't know that players really look at those as true until something actually happens.
Brian seemed quite confident when asked whether he felt he'd make the team. Given his response, I feel he's likely been given assurances that he's on the squad. A trade scenario with Anthony would decrease the roster size rather than add to it, and even a trade for Fernandez where we aren't sending a player leaves the roster at 13. In either scenario, there's room for another body, and Scalabrine certainly appears to be it.
I also found it interesting that Scalabrine's very likable and thoughtful, and I think he'll be a great help in the Lindsay Hunter role of practice time player/coach to help guys find their spots and reads on the defensive end. I don't see him playing many minutes or being particularly productive in the minutes he plays.
He's definitely firmly behind Thibodeau as head coach, and really sung his praises both on and off the record which is certainly assuring. He definitely believed that Thibodeau would coach well on both ends of the floor, and after a couple years of feeling the team was simply unprepared, I doubt we'll have that feeling again going into a game.