Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau described what happens when his team plays the Miami Heat: “each possession is a war.” Yes, the NBA is actually back now, even though it may seem hard to believe. Training camps are open, media days have been held, including the session for the team with the best regular season record in the league last year.
The reigning MVP Derrick Rose spoke about possible slights by the national media. “We hear everything,” he said and he talked about motivation for the Bulls.
“We had the No. 1 record in the NBA last year. I guess people forgot that.”
Last year at media day it was big news (for some weird reason) when Rose asked rhetorically “why can’t I be MVP?” The oft replayed quote proved to be fortuitous. Actually, I do know why this not exciting quote was national news- not many players/coaches say much during this preseason sessions, so anything colorful gets turned into more than it is.
At the time, I thought “why is that news, he’s a #1 overall pick, a franchise cornerstone, he should compete for MVP awards and expect to win them.
“If anything, (the MVP) made me work harder. I want to be better as a player. I really worked my tail off this summer,” Rose said today. The Bulls went as far as they did pretty much because of him; and Thibs’ coaching. You cannot say enough about how deserving Rose and Thibodeau were in receiving the MVP and Coach of the Year awards.
“The team is good. I wouldn’t trade my teammates for anything in the world,” Rose later added.
Rose on Thibs:
“He’s a tough coach, every practice is going to be tough…As a player it’s going to happen throughout your whole basketball career, you’re going to have a coach who’s always yelling and talking to you. But it’s not to be an a-hole (and he said a-hole, not a**hole), it’s to push you as a player and help the team, help your teammates.”
Both player and coach share that desire to put their craft/vocation first and foremost in their lives. Probably second and third too.
Maybe Carlos Boozer will pull his weight this season, given that he’s lost quite a bit of it.
GM Gar Forman: “Carlos came into camp 20-plus pounds lighter. He’s in great shape.”
Perhaps the improved conditioning will make Boozer that true second banana that Rose sorely lacks. Booze gets paid like a superstar, but he didn’t live up to it during his first season in Chicago.
Of course, there were many questions about the Bulls potential to get past the Heat this year. That’s what this season is all about. Only the playoffs, and breaking through what could be a potential glass ceiling is what matters. Miami will probably have their big three in place for awhile, and that could create a situation commonly referred to as “NBA Hell” for the Bulls and everyone else in the Eastern Conference.
It’s coincidental that the Bulls have so many former Utah Jazz players on the roster cuz the Jazz have been there twice. In the John Stockton-Karl Malone era, it was Michael Jordan and the Bulls who kept them from breaking through. During the Boozer-Deron Williams era it was the L.A. Lakers who were their repeated roadblock.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports