- Scott Powers, Reporter
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls undoubtedly signed Daequan Cook to shoot the ball, but when he’ll get that opportunity is unknown.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t hide the fact Sunday there weren’t many free minutes in his rotation at the current time.
“Right now we’re pretty much set with our rotation,” Thibodeau said after Sunday’s practice at the Berto Center. “He has to learn, get ready, and you never know over a course of a season; you need everybody. He’s been around a little bit. We know what he’s capable of. He can come in and knock down a couple 3-point shots in a very short amount of time. I think he compliments the players we have.”
The 6-foot-5 Cook said after his first practice Sunday he understands he’s facing an uphill battle to get minutes, but he’s up for the challenge. Cook was waived last week by the Houston Rockets. He averaged 3.4 points and 10.3 minutes in 16 games for Houston.
“I’m going to work,” said the 25-year-old Cook, who starred at Ohio State for one season and was drafted No. 21 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2007. “The most important thing here is just working hard and being patient. When I get the opportunity to play, I’ll play my heart out.”
Cook’s strength has been the Bulls’ weakness this season. The Bulls rank last in the NBA in 3-pointers made with 141 and 18th in 3-point percentage at .347. Cook, who won the 3-point contest at the All-Star weekend in 2009, is 427-of-1,171 from 3-point range in his six-year career. He made two or more 3-pointers in 23 games last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I take a lot of pride in being young in this league and being known as one of the best shooters in this league right now; (It’s) a good thing,” Cook said. “I can’t just settle for that. It’s going to be more than my shooting that’s going to get me out on the floor to play.”
Cook could be insurance if Rip Hamilton misses any future time with injuries. Hamilton sat out 12 games this season with an ankle injury and missed 38 games last season with multiple injuries.
Cook’s playoff experience could also be an asset to the Bulls. He’s played in 40 playoff games while with the Miami Heat and Thunder. He’s made 33-of-100 3-pointers in the playoffs. He appeared in three NBA Finals games for the Thunder last season.
“The biggest part for me was playing on the teams that have been to the finals, having that experience,” Cook said. “As a young player coming into this team with a lot of guys who love to play hard and have the opportunity to play in the playoffs and be in that situation, I think that’s one of the biggest roles I have right now.”
Cook was excited to play for Thibodeau, and thinks it could be similar to playing for Pat Riley, who coached Cook with the Heat.
“Coach Riley was a great coach,” Cook said. “Now I get the opportunity play for coach Thibs, who is an up-and-coming great coach.”
Daequan Cook knows he'll have to earn his minutes with the Bulls.