Bad habits nowhere to be found on Bulls

The New York media, which over times has shown us to have the patience of an eight-year old in a clothing store, is currently putting their hammer down on newly-acquired All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. A term being used to describe Anthony is ''bad habits''. That he throughout the course of his career was used to being pampered due to his talent, and as such, got more leniency than the players around him.

After forward LeBron James signed with Miami and struggled initially, he was accused of the same thing from his time with the Cavaliers. There's probably more truth to it in LeBron's situation, as he came in from day one with the default notion of being the man from here on out. At 18, by the way.

The Bulls, and more specifically Derrick Rose, however...

Well, the Bulls did have problems with center Joakim Noah when he first arrived. But given how much he's changed since then, you have to ask yourself if the roster at that time made matters worse. After all, tensions have grown all year long due to center Ben Wallace, who seemed to have regretted his decision of leaving behind Detroit. That roster, and Wallace especially, had bad habits. It was frequently reported that the players didn't like to be around each other and it just snowballed from that, to the players being uncomfortable on the floor. After all, going to war with people you don't like is, and always will be, exceedingly difficult.

The 2010/2011 Bulls doesn't have this problem however. Despite being in similar circumstances as the Ben Wallace-led Bulls in regards to having a defensive-minded coach who yells a lot, these Bulls are somehow different. They believe. They buy in. More importantly, they don't give each other false information or pamper each other's egos. If MVP-candidate Derrick Rose makes a mistake on the floor, you can see 13th man Brian Scalabrine take him aside, put an arm around his shoulder and explain to him what went wrong. It's usually the other way around, but not on this team. If it's the work of Tom Thibodeau or the fact that the team is winning, is unknown. But either way, this attitude helps the team maintain a level of focus and professionalism not often seen in the NBA. They eat together on the road, Taj Gibson and Keith Bogans have paintgun wars at home, Omer Asik jokes about Scalabrine's clothes (rightly so) and you have Rose who on a consistent basis refers to Noah as his big brother, despite having several big brothers already.

Bad habits does not exist on these Bulls. There are no reports of players clashing due to egotistical agendas or statistical accomplishments. In fact, not a single player on the roster is talking about his statline. Rose even makes it a priority in interviews to inform the world of how little stats means to all of them. All that matters is the win. However, this is not completely true. There is one stat Rose looks at often. A stat that only a player with good habits look at as a measuring stick. Turnovers. Show Rose a game where he turns the ball over three times, and he'll shake his head in disgust of himself and promise to do better. The fact that said three turnovers might have been overshadowed by 25+ points and 8+ assists is a moot one. It doesn't matter to Rose. Those three turnovers could have been costly, especially if this was a playoff series. That's just how he thinks, how he handles himself. There's no flash off the court. Only a focus on getting better and, if he can have it his way, becoming perfect.

Rose and his drive for excellence rubs off on every member of the roster. No one wants to disappoint his strong will to succeed, so they put in that extra time. They work. For him. For Thibodeau. For the goal of raising that seventh banner to the ceiling of the United Center. If that banner comes from Luol Deng setting an extra screen in a more correct place, or from Ronnie Brewer making the proper defensive rotation at just the right time, then that's worth it, they think. So while Thibodeau sounds like a guy in constant pain from a sore throat, it's not from trying to correct bad habits or call players out. It's to get the job done, get the players involved and make them achieve the level of satisfaction that you get from putting a championship ring on that finger, knowing you gave it all you got for a cause that's greater than anything in the world of sports.

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  • It's a weird chicken and egg thing in sports. Winning fixes all ills, and I think winning is a huge part of the reason why these Bulls have such great chemistry.

    I think winning beyond expectations is what really does it though, and for that reason, the tam might struggle with some of these areas next year when they are expected to win the East rather than expected to be third or fourth.

    You are right that Derrick Rose sets the tone though, and that will always give Chicago an edge relative to other superstars who do hold themselves above their teammates. Let's hope Rose doesn't change, because I think a lot of guys in similar situations started out this way and grew into the more egotistical guys we see in sports.

    Granted, that's not always a bad thing per se. Kobe Bryant is clearly an a-type super ego personality, but he's still about winning. So far, everything with Rose is about winning and not about anything else, and I think that's probably what ultimately makes the difference.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The Kobe Bryant comparison is beginning to be a frequent one. I agree with your logic on this take, and I do think winning plays a big part. However, taking that aside, I still enjoy the very professional approach they've taken. It's refreshing compared to seeing Miami make a victory parade and whatnot.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I was thinking about that first point too. Next year is going to be very tough, with even a bigger target on their backs, all year. If everything goes right this year, they might not be as hungry next year, and the drive to prove they belong at the top might not be as strong. Even if they add a 2 guard I could see their win total slightly lower.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think that many of us sensed a great team chemistry developing right from the start of training camp, it is never a certaintly, but thats what I felt, and what I thought had been missing for several years going back to the acquisition of the Big Bum.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree it's the expectations, look at the Heat, they're going to win probably 58 games or so, which would normally be a successful season. But people put the ridiculous "maybe they can win 72" tag on them before the season so there's been a lot of pressure on them and a lot of tension even though they've been pretty good.

    The Bulls with Ben Wallace were the same situation, after winning 49 games and really turning it on towards the end of the year the expectations were then that they were favourites to win the East, so as soon as they lost a few games at the start of the year it all turned to crap and spiraled out of control.

    I think the win total might drop off a little next year, winning 60 two years in a row is hard, the Spurs have never done it despite being so good for so long, the Shaq/Kobe Lakers never did, etc.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    More Eloquent than Me

    I found this point elegantly done:

    "Rose and his drive for excellence rubs off on every member of the roster. No one wants to disappoint his strong will to succeed, so they put in that extra time. They work. For him. For Thibodeau."

    That's a championship synopsis for hopefully a championship team.

  • it seems you are using the "bad habits" term to refer to off the court stuff, and i am curious as to how this applies to carmelo. most people refer to his on the court bad habits, like stopping the ball on offense and excessive switching on defense. aside from the contract stuff this year, carmelo seems to be a decent teammate, though not really a leader.

    it seems to me that many of the bulls have issues with on the court bad habits that they are working on. off the court issues aren't really a problem with this team, at least for now.

  • In reply to bucketball:

    Carmelo has bad habits in both areas if you ask me. But moreso off the court than on. It's not his fault necessarily (nor is it fully LeBron's), but Denver just let him do whatever he wanted. Back in his sophomore season, he got in trouble several times. There was something about a gun in an airport, a DVD that leaked where he was talking about cops, etc. It was then reported that the Denver FO made a short and mild conversation with him. That's not holding him responsible.

    It's that type of pampering that I enjoy isn't seen on the Bulls. The fact that Carmelo holds the ball too long, is something that is easier to fix. It's not all that mental as the other aspects are.

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    yeah that stuff is vaguely familiar. nothing related to the team, though. obviously, i am not in denver's locker room and don't know carmelo. as far as the bull's front office, what did they do to hold derrick responsible when derrick showed up in some photos flashing signs?

    don't get me wrong, drose and the bulls seem like good guys, but they are just doing what they are supposed to do, no?

    i disagree with two things: first, that carmelo or lebron's bad habits are not their fault. really? but the more relevant, basketball-wise, thing is that you think it will be easier for carmelo to stop holding the ball and going on-on-one than it will be for him to mature as he gets older. the way he plays offense is integral to how he sees himself as a player/person. getting him to change that would be a monumental psychological accomplishment.

    you got to pick your battles, though, and if i was new york i'd get a new coach who could build around carmelo's offense as it is and try to get some team defense going on the other end. i don't want a coach who is so inflexable about strategy that he is unable to get any value out of certain players who don't quite fit the shapes of the holes/roles in his system. that's one thing i like about thibs, he uses his players as chess pieces, according to matchups and game situations.

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    From the day he came out, Derrick Rose always reminded me, tempermentally, of Tim Duncan, a quiet personality with a strong internal critic. People often mistake quiet guys at first (I should know, I am one myself): we don't always make the strongest first impression, and it takes people time to see what our strengths were. And you heard that about Derrick his first few years in the league: did he have a leader in him? Was he vocal enough to be a connsumate point guard?

    What we've seen this year is mostly that Rose doesn't waste words: if he says he's got a three point shot, you take him at face value. Believing he could be the MVP? Same deal. Derrick's mouth is the last thing to move, and that often goes unappreciated in our culture of fast, now and here. The dude's taking over the league and he's still just 22.

    Derrick still has a lot to learn as well, about basketball and the slow game and winning. But the secret to getting there is just ability,will, and want, most of all it's work, and that's what Derrick does. Scary to think about. Dude's mature beyond his years and has freakish athletic gifts. What's great for Chicago is he is so different from MJ: he's going to be able to write his own story, and make his own mark, without the constant comparisons that dog a guy like Kobe, and we fans are lucky enough to get to see it happen here in Chicago.

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