Kyle Korver - "I'm a wing player. SG, SF, I play both."


Kyle Korver didn't take long to impress Bulls fans putting up 22 points in his pre-season debut for the team.  Korver's impact exceeds his statistical output as well due to the spacing he adds to the floor for the other players.  He scored coming off back screens, catch and shoots, and even finding his way to the foul line on the drive. 

Aside from an embarrassing open layup he'd love to have back, he had a near flawless debut for the team, and he didn't even appear to struggle much on defense.   I caught up with Kyle on media day to discuss his role with the Bulls this off-season, as always not all questions from the interview were mine as it was a group interview.

What do you think of Derrick Rose compared to Deron Williams?
This year with all the pieces they brought in, Derrick's going to be able to play a lot more point guard if that makes sense.   Deron I think is very complete in his game, he can shoot, defend, pass first, and he can do all those things.   Derrick is right on his way to doing all those things.

A lot of people have talked about how good Miami can be this year, how good can the Bulls be?
I think we can be veryy good, but a lot remains to be seen.  We have a lot of new pieces that need to gel together.  We have to get used to a new system, but I think it's all there for us to be very, very good.  Maybe we didn't get all the big names Miami, but I think the Bulls did a great job bringing in pieces that fit really well together.   When it's all said and done, chemistry is overlooked by a lot of preseason magazines, hype, and media.  So I think it's going to be good.

How long does it take to get chemistry?
I think it depends.   When you have one guy who has to come in and everyone has to play off of him then sometimes it takes longer then when you've got a lot of guys trying to play together.   We're going to play off the pick and roll, and I think the pick and roll is the easiest thing to learn to play off of rather than playing off of one person and learning to find shots.   The style of play that coach is preaching is a style that hopefully will allow us to gel faster than other teams.

Are three point shooters just born?
Well there's something that help you know?  It's just practice.  It's mental.  You have to believe in your shot and shoot it like crazy?

Short memory?
Short memory helps a lot.

When you were in Philly were you ever on a team like this that brought in so many pieces in one off-season?
In Philly in my first couple years we brought in a lot of new pieces, but never pieces that fit together like this.  We were always trying to find a second scorer for Allen Iverson, and there were a lot of different strategies for that.  We had a new coach every year too.  I think I played for four coaches in four and a half years in Philly.  I've been on teams with a lot of new faces, but I have a different feeling how this team will mesh.

You talk about roles, what kind of position are you going to play?

I'm a wing player.  SG, SF, I play both.  It doesn't matter.  In coach's system a two and three are interchangable.  I can guard a lot of twos, I can guard a lot of threes.  I don't care about starting, but I would like to play at the very end of the game.  I've done that most of my career.  I've only started about half the time, but I've been at the end of most games, so that's what I want to do.

Last year we heard a lot of 2 and 3 are interchangable with John Salmons, but he went from a 3 to a 2 when Gordon left and didn't play as well.
My game's a lot different than John's game.  The way I play, I'm not ever dominating the basketball.  I'm not dribbling it around doing one on one.  John's at his best when he has the basketball.  How they switched guys around, maybe he got the ball more when he was at the three than the two maybe.

Height matchup advantages as well?

All I know is I played played both my whole career. I played some three, some two, I even played the four in Philly under Jim O'Brien playing small ball.  It doesn't matter to me at all, it really doesn't.

How about the impact of coming here with Boozer and Brewer and developing chemistry, does it make a difference?
I think so.  I think when you bring in so many new pieces it helps.  I think it's really rare, first of all, that three guys who played so much time on one team come.  We were pretty good part of the team over there, and it was a system where there was a lot of team chemistry and playing off of each other.  There's a lot of new faces, new coaching staff, that you have to adjust to, but I know how Ronnie likes to play.  I know where Booz wants the basketball.  I know where they're good and not good, and they know where I'm good and not good.  Most teams who win the championships, with a few exceptions, have been together for awhile.

For those you have not played with together before, how long will chemistry take, specifically playing with Derrick Rose?
I feel like I'm a pretty easy adjuster.  I don't need the basketball a lot.  You want to kick it out to me, I'm going to take one or to dribbles and kick it back or make the play.  When you have chemistry problems or when it takes a long time is when you have guys who wan this many touches or plays or to find their rythym.  Me finding my rythym isn't handling the ball for three or four seconds a few possessions in a row.  We got guys like Noah, he doesn't need a 100 touches, you could never play with him and step onto the court and be like 'yeah, i'll play with you any day'.  Someone like Derrick, there might be a bit of an adjustment, but knowing the kind of guy he is and the kind of game he wants to play, I think he'll get to be more of a PG this year in terms of making plays.  Last year a big part of the offense was backing up Derrick, playing pick and roll, and having him going to the basket and playing off that.  I think it's going to be a lot different this year.

I know you've only seen him from a far, and you've played face to face with Deron, but do you see similarities?
There are similarities.  Deron doesn't have any weaknesses to his game.  He's a great defender, he's a pass first point guard, he can shoot.  There's a lot of great point guards, but most everyone has one part of their game that's not quite there yet or might never get there.  Derrick is getting there.  There's some things in his game he's going to work on and he's working on them this summer.  He's a young player, this is his third year, so he's going to learn that stuff.  It took Deron awhile to get there too, but for a guy like me, that's the type of guy you want to play with right?  He's going to suck in the defense and wants to the pass the basketbal.

What do you think of the Bulls talent vs the Jazz talent overall?

I don't know, we got several guys from the Jazz here.  Memo's probably more of a skilled shooter than Noah, but Joakim's the type of center you want to play with. Does all the diry work, gets all the rebounds, talks on defense.  Derrick and Deron, they're close, right?   It's pretty tight to be honest.

Final thoughts:

Always sad that I can't inject the humor and style of a player into an interview, Korver was one of the more entertaining guys to talk to on media day.  He was very engaging, gave long thoughtful answers, and really seemed open to talking to you as long as you'd want.  So far, so good on his role with the team, I was concerned with how much he could really play with this squad with Deng at SF, but the early returns of him at SG are very encouraging.



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  • Doug,


    He's meeting w/ the Bulls tomorrow.

  • Good article on Korver but lets talk ERick Dampier!
    Sign Him! He is big, plus he can rebound an play D. He isnt very good but you can never have enough 7footers around. Signing him actaully gives the Bulls a option of moving Noah to the 4 for a while until Boozer gets back. Plus you never know what can happen....maybe at the deadline we try to trade for Melo. Having bigs is always a good help.

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    I like what he says about 2s and 3s being interchangable in Thibodeau's system. Finally some explanation for why anyone would want Johnson to play the 2.

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    Incidentally, the day we brought in Brewer I predicted Ronnie would be 6th man of the year. Since then I've been trying to talk myself into the notion that Korver coming off the bench is a good thing for the Bulls.

    Can't do it anymore. He's a stud, let's start him and be done with it.

  • Its just one game, but I like how Coach Thibs is using Korver. Keeping him in motion and running him off screens ala Ray Allen. That usage turns Korver from a mere spot-up 3pt specialist to a legitimate offensive weapon. Smart on Thibs part.

  • Now I know how old you REALLY are!!! Hersey Hawkins? People forget how great a shooter he was for Philly... Had a cup of coffee with the Bulls towards the end of his career..

  • If Dampier is not injury prone the Bulls should sign him! Boozer, Noah, Gibson and Deng have had injuries and Asik is a trainee!

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