Tom Thibodeau wants Bulls to have Spurs mindset, I want them to play Spurs minutes

The Bulls stormed back from a 21 point deficit to win by 20 and Tom Thibodeau didn't have all that much good to say about the players. There's an old coaching adage that it's best to go to the whip when players are feeling good and go to the sugar when they're feeling bad. Maybe this is a case of that.

Sun Times link:

‘‘I’m watching San Antonio, and they’re going after it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Parker, Duncan, they’re playing huge minutes right off the start. I think it’s a strong message what they’re saying right now. They’re preparing themselves to defend their championship. And so in order to get that way from them, you’re going to have to wrestle it away from them. They’re not just going to give it away. Your mind-set has to be right.’’

Hey Tom, just so you know, the Spurs had regularly rest days last year in the regular season and no one on the team topped 30 minutes per game even only counting the games they played. I'd love it if you brought a Spurs mindset to this thing.

Of course the minutes issue is deeper than that. It's about guys playing long chunks of minutes, like Taj Gibson whom always played his minutes in 15-16 minute bursts without breaks or guys playing with three minutes to go and a 15-20 point lead.

It's about the pointless minutes that accumulated and the lack of trust in guys who proved later to not be so important. What'd the Bulls lose when Deng wasn't playing 40 minutes a game? Nothing at all.

Mirotic looks good except shooting 3s?

I expected Nikola Mirotic to be a quality player, but what has been unusual so far is that his greatest attributes have come from something other than shooting. In fact, he's been pretty dreadful from beyond the arc.

He passes up threes regularly, misses the vast majority of the ones he takes, and looks awkward shooting them. Yet, he's played well inside the arc and his energy and physicality have been strengths relative to what I expected.

He's been playing center defensively more times than not when Gibson is on the floor and has the height to pull it off if not quite the toughness we'd want. Still, I think it's been an overall good showing for Mirotic. I expect the shooting to iron itself out and the quality at everything else is a great sign.

McDermott continues to play well

I like him quite a bit more with the starters than reserves. He's far more effective, IMO, when he's getting kickouts and spacing the floor then when he's being run off tons of screens with plays drawn for him. I said the exact same thing about Korver while he was here.

Korver was significantly more impactful in Atlanta when the Hawks used him how I wish the Bulls would have used him than he was with Chicago.

If McDermott's going to be used with the second unit as a primary offensive weapon, then Chicago should at least start experimenting with him more in the mid post where he was quite effective in college. This would provide a different look for defenses, require a bit less energy for McDermott, and preseason is the best time to practice stuff like this.

Starters still playing pretty well

There's stuff to iron out. Derrick Rose's shooting and Pau Gasol's offense as examples, but the overall ball movement looks good. The defense looks improved over last year, and in general while the Bulls don't quite look ready to rock and roll, they do look like they have all the potential to dominate.

The Bulls still have five games to grow together as a team and find their rhythm. They don't have a huge need to play well right out of the gates either. I'd predict Chicago will look quite deadly by the time January rolls around and might get there as early as opening night.

Sorry about the lack of content

I try to post every day, but things have been completely crazy with my real job the past few days. Also, I'm debating about working on doing a daily podcast. Just a quick 5-10 minute mini-Bulls Beat on whatever I'm thinking on the day. If so, it will likely be on a new RSS feed separate from the existing show, and I may or may not post it here.

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  • Someone reported that Popovich plans to sit Duncan next game. Thibs wouldn't consider that, not even in preseason.

    I can see Thibs playing the bigs for long stints. With the depth and quality players they should probably play 6-7 min rotations. It's Jimmy's minutes that are more concerning. The hustle he's bringing in the preseason would ideal to have towards the end of games, but your unlikely to get that after 40mins of playing time.

  • More Bullsbeat podcasts are ALWAYS a good thing.

  • Coach Thibs, what do you think about the Great One Doug Thonus doing a daily mini-podcast?

    "Well, if he's going to do it then he's really got to get after it every day. 5 - 10 minutes of excellent podcasting isn't going to cut it at this level. If you look at the most successful podcasters, they're all going at least 40 minutes day in and day out. I mean, look at Rogan. 3 hours everyday non- stop. Even on days when there's absolutely nothing to talk about. I think that's what we should expect from Thonus. Even though it's pre-season he should be going at least an hour or two. He's really the beat guy we've got so he's got to be ready. He's got to know the free-agent market. He's got to work inside with KC, and outside with those hooligans on his comment threads. We're really going to miss Aggery but Doug's got to develop a comfort level with the rest of the team. The mid-season trade deadline will be here before you know it."

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I should just record from the train, the other people won't mind at 6am.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    LOL thank you so much for the Bulls analysis Doug!
    You give great insight and information! :-)
    Yeah Tom needs to chill a bit and take a seat on the bench during games and work out the drill sargent routine during games and leave that for practice/non public! Show much more faith in this troops/players if he doesn't do that during games and treats them like professionals, and has a talk with them on time outs!

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Record it in the quiet car, so you wont have to worry about background noise. ;P

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Even better. The first podcast in the world with a live studio audience.

  • I don't know if is just me, but after watching the Cavs on the last couple games it just feels like they are going to be unstoppable. James looks faster, Love appears to not miss any shots he attempts and they haven't even got Irving on the mix yet. I hope I am off here, but it appears that the Cavs are even better than the Heat's last year as of now. This is scary and sort of put a cold water on the Bulls title chance, as I am betting on Cavs having chemistry issues on the first year of the big three, so the Bulls could take advantage. But as of now, it doesn't look like that. Again, hopefully I am wrong here.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I wouldn't conclude the Cavs are "unstoppable" based on anything that happens in pre-season, but obviously they will be one of the best teams in the league. The Cavs will certainly have some chemistry issues to work out, but so will the Bulls, so no advantage there. Unfortunately, the Bulls ultimate success will hinge on getting significant contributions from two rookies, where the Cavs are getting all their major production from proven vets. Hopefully the Bull's superior defense will balance the scales between these two teams, as none of Cleveland's main guys are known as elite defenders. That's probably why they are looking so good right now, as no one they have played has had strong enough defense to slow them down. The Bulls should be able to keep the Cav's offense in check, to some degree.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Everyone knows the Cavs are going to be the Bulls biggest challenge but look at it from another perspective. The Cavs have been shooting well and beat the heat only by 3 in OT, Bucks by 6 and Pacers by 5. Bulls dominated preseason last year and look what happened come reg. season.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I caught a little bit of them, and I mostly agree with you, but it is still preseason. Remember how great Rose looked last year during the preseason, and then how awful he looked as soon as the regular season started. I doubt that the Cavs will look awful, but it will be interesting to see how the Bulls defend them. How will Love match up against Noah, Taj and even Mirotic. Jimmy(not Luol Deng) is probably the best Lebron defender in the league, so we'll see how that go's, and Derrick looks good athletically, so he needs to clamp down on Irving. Can't wait for that first game against them.

  • Totally agree with your take on both Mirotic and McKorver. Although, I think a little less of McKorver's overall game than you do, I agree that he will play better with the starters, and should be able to get more open 3's which is the one thing that he can do at an elite level from day one. Additionally, the threat of his 3 point shot will open up the floor for Rose and Gasol.

    Hopefully, Mirotic will start shooting the 3 without thinking about it, right now he is thinking too much which results in bad shooting. When he stroked those 3's in the 4rth quarter of game one he looked really good, because he attacked them with confidence. Who knows what going on in practice, but I hope that Thibs isn't messing with his head too much. Also, I don't like Mirotic playing center unless the other team is going centerless also.

    I also totally agree about the real Korver, his 2 worst(recent) shooting percentage seasons from 3 were the 2 that he spent in Chicago, because we were using him wrong, thinking that he was Ray Allen or Reggie Miller. The same likely applies to McKorver, why can't our genius coaches see what appears to be obvious to novice observers.

    As I mentioned yesterday the one Ray Allen thing that could benefit McKorver would be Allen's commitment to a disciplined diet from the day that he entered the league. McKorver needs to lean out his body to maximize whatever athleticism he might posses and establish his career as a shooting guard. You are a pro now, time to get rid of the baby fat.

  • the minutes thing definitely sets them apart but one thing I like about Popovich is he transformed the offense around 2010 to make it more uptempo and featuring better shooters, before that time the Spurs were in decline. Thib's offense seems to be slow and he plays heavy minutes to people who can't shoot. It's the Bulls offense that scares me more than any other team. He needs to play Mcdermott 25 minutes a game and take out guys stinking it up on the perimeter. The inside out game only works if it has quality perimeter shooting to make it function.

  • To those who still doubt minutes and rest matter -Thibs this means you:

    "When playing at least 40 minutes last season – which Jimmy Butler did a staggering 38 times – he shot 39 percent from the field and 24.7 percent from three with a 104 offensive rating.
    When he played between 30 and 39 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference, he shot 32.7 percent from three with a 111 offensive rating. Once Butler’s minutes are properly managed, look for him to have an offensive breakout in 2014-2015."

  • In reply to Edward:

    I totally agree with you, and there are existing studies in several sports that support the idea that there is a breaking point in terms of minutes played in almost every sport, The thing is to find that point.

    However, if you need any proof that Thibs will never change just look at last nights game. Thibs brought back the starting crew(minus Rose) in a meaningless exhibition game with about 6 minutes to go and the Bulls pretty much out of it after having played listlessly all night. He finished the game like it was a playoff game. Jimmy Butler played the quarter of his life and hit the game winning 3 at the buzzer.

    Worst thing that could ever have happened as it "validated" Thibs strategy. Win at all costs, all the time, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Thibs doesn't need an "I told you so" game, he's going to continue doing what he does no matter the effect on the game. Is 40 minutes really that bad, yeah the game is intense but it also must, on average, stop every 30 seconds or so. Plus you get a 20 min halftime break and a 5 min break after 1st and 3rd.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The whole minutes issue is overblown, not saying it's not a problem because it is.

    I think you'll find that almost every players efficiency drops with minute increase. The majority of the 40+ minute games are produced in the closer games where the team usually struggled offensively.

    Who should have gotten those 10 extra minutes Butler was playing. Deng was gone, Snell was a trainwreck and Dunleavy's minutes were in the high 30's on those nights.

  • In reply to Edward:

    During the 12-13 season Butler played 17 (40+) min games. He had a 47% FG% and shot 43% from 3.

    For the 30-39min games he had a 45% FG% and shot 42% from 3.

    For days rest:
    0 days - 49% FG 48% 3pt
    1 day - 48% FG 40% 3pt
    2day - 38% FG 28% 3pt

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Well, that is interesting. So Butler's stat line was dramatically different in each of the last 2 seasons. The big question is, Why? My guess is his nagging injury in 2013-2014 held his stats way down. That seems to be borne out by his stats now that he is again healthy.

  • It didn't take long for Carlos boozer to establish his bozohole personality in L.A. From Kurt Helin of NBC sports
    My @NUFC scores and I'm jumping around, celebrating like Carlos Boozer after a bucket down 21 in a preseason game!

  • Maybe the Bulls have found their perennially missing SG in J the B. Wouldn't that be nice? Two months from now we should know.

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