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.
Filed under: Uncategorized