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Thibodeau: Bulls striving for improvement each day
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Oct 8
Following a week of training camp at the Berto Center, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau moved practice downtown to the United Center on Monday, affording his team the opportunity to spend a few hours on the court where it will open its seven-game preseason schedule on Tuesday.
“We have a long way to go,” said Thibodeau. “We’re building habits and hopefully we’re improving every day. [Tuesday] gives us a chance to see where we are. It’s the first opportunity for us to compete as a team together. It will give us some answers and reveal some things, things we have to work on.
“Every game tells you something,” Thibodeau added. “It tells you the things you’re doing well and the things that need work. Right now, we’re striving for improvement each day.”
One priority for the Bulls as they host the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 p.m. will be getting a handful of new players acclimated and on the same page. Following Monday’s practice, Thibodeau discussed the need to identify individual roles and come together as a team, as well as developing an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“We have a lot of guys that are new and have to develop chemistry,” acknowledged Thibodeau. “But you can’t lose sight of the core guys who also need work. We’ll try to strike a balance.”
Last week, Thibodeau revealed his starting lineup—Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.
However, Noah, who has been overseas following the passing of his grandmother, did not attend practice on Monday and is a game-time decision for Tuesday. If Noah doesn’t play, Thibodeau said Nazr Mohammed would start in his place.
Thibodeau typically plays a rotation of ten players and he said he didn’t see that changing for Tuesday.
As for the Grizzlies, Thibodeau called them one of the better teams in the Western Conference.
“They’re well-balanced, and each year they’ve gotten better and better,” said Thibodeau of Memphis. “They’re strong inside and their defense is improved. They have rebounding and Rudy Gay is a tough matchup. Zach Randolph is a tough matchup. Marc Gasol is probably one of the most underrated players in the league. You can make a case he’s a top five center. He can score and pass the ball; he’s big and physical defensively. Tony Allen, a guy I had in Boston, is as good of a defender as there is in the league. And [Mike] Conley, you have to give that kid a lot of credit. Each year, he’s improved. He’s gotten better and better. Lionel [Hollins] has done a great job with them.”
Audio—Tom Thibodeau meets the media following practice at the United Center (10.08.2012):