New Bench Mob has plenty of work to do

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
5:27
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Lionel Hollins made a very astute point as he stood outside his team's locker room before Tuesday night's game. The Memphis Grizzlies' coach and NBA lifer explained that while losing Derrick Rose may be a huge issue for the Chicago Bulls, the larger more pressing issue is that Tom Thibodeau has a lot of work to do to reconstruct his roster.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Butler
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty ImagesJimmy Butler had a rough preseason debut, missing 10 of his 11 shots on Tuesday.
"What probably will affect them more than Derrick Rose being out is all the new players they have to mesh together," Hollins said. "That's a huge task for Tom to have to mesh these guys because they have a very good defensive philosophy and a very good defensive team. So now, you're adding all these guys, and it takes time."

Given the way the new Bench Mob performed at times Tuesday night, Hollins' point rings true. Obviously, it was just the first preseason game, but the Bulls' second unit knows it has a lot of work to do before the season starts.

"I felt we could have did better," Taj Gibson said. "It's the first preseason game; we still got to get our timing together. We still got a long ways to go. But guys are putting forth the effort so we should be OK."

The effort wasn't lacking, but the production was. Veteran Nazr Mohammed knows that the chemistry the second unit needs to develop can only happen in games.


"Part of it can be developed in practice just going against the starters. It's tough going against the starters, but it has to happen in the game," Mohammed said. "The intensity of the game is just at a higher level. You can't get the intensity of a game in practice, I don't know why. We try, we go hard, we're one of the hardest working teams in the league, but it has to come in the games eventually."

Deng feeling good: Luol Deng looked solid in his debut Tuesday night, leading all scorers with 18 points and showing no ill effects regarding his left wrist. He believes one of the keys to his success was playing for Britain's Olympic basketball team this summer.

"It always does," Deng said. "I felt like I had a good rhythm. Even the few shots that I missed, they felt great. My timing and my rhythm is there."

As for the up-tempo style that pushed the Bulls to 32 fast break points? Deng hopes his team can continue to play like that all year.

"I thought we did a good job of running the floor," Deng said. "That's what we're going to have to do, get stops and get early baskets."

The last word: "Last year, I don't know what that was. I was just finding my way. It's good that you get an actual training camp, or to really get an understanding of what the coaches want. But (last) season was my training camp. Learning games on the fly. This year, I'm a lot more prepared. A lot more understanding of what coach wants and stuff like that. It's more now you can play other than think." -- Richard Hamilton on the differences between training camp last year and this year.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5