Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

D-Rose: Jabari Parker will bounce back

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
3:54
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Bulls guard Derrick Rose said Sunday he was confident his friend and Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward Jabari Parker would bounce back after his recent season-ending ACL injury.

Rose has known Parker since he was a child, and both attended high school and played for the same varsity coach at Simeon Career Academy on Chicago’s South Side. Parker’s Twitter account includes a picture of himself as a young kid with Rose in Simeon’s gym.

“It’s hard, man,” Rose said of Parker’s injury. “It’s hard. I feel bad for him. At the same time, he’s got the right mentality as a young kid to put basketball first, so I know he’s easily going to bounce back from this injury.”

He said he hadn’t reached out to Parker yet. He wanted to give Parker some time before doing so.

Rose, who has dealt with myriad injuries during his career, said he planned to give Parker some advice but planned to keep it between them.

“It’ll be something I’ll have to tell him personally,” Rose said. “Something I wouldn't say right now.”

Parker, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, tore the ACL in his left knee in a game on Dec. 15. He averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 games this season.

Rose, Gibson could return vs. Raptors

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
3:27
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said Sunday he hopes to play against the Toronto Raptors on Monday after missing the last two games due to an illness.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was also optimistic forward Taj Gibson would be able to play Monday after missing the past two games with a sprained right ankle. Gibson participated in the team’s entire practice Sunday, and Rose was a partial participant.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” Rose said. “Getting my energy back, was fatigued the last couple of days. But just kind of trying to fight off this little sickness I have.

“I’m going to try to go [Monday]. See how I feel in the morning, go through walk-through and hopefully be playing.”

Rose thought he probably picked up whatever his son had.

“The sickness probably came from being around my son,” he said. “He was sick. It was something I probably caught from him. I’ll take that any day. I’m just spending time with my son. I think it comes with the territory of being around a sick kid. It’s just something I got to live with.”

Rose had played in 11 straight games before getting sick. It was his longest stretch of consecutive games since the 2011-12 season. He is averaging 16.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 16 games this season.

Thibodeau said he liked how Rose was progressing before missing the last two games.

“He had a nice run going, and unfortunately he got sick,” Thibodeau said. “There’s nothing you can do about it, other than try and get healthy and get back out there. But I felt that as he started to string the games together he was getting better and better. That’s encouraging.

“He is where he is [this season]. When he’s been out there, I think he’s played very well. There’s been some bumps, which we anticipated. I just want him putting everything he has into each and every day, just keep getting better."

Derrick Rose lacking attack in game

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
3:53
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau shares many words of advice with star guard Derrick Rose on a daily basis, but he’s been using one more than any other as of late.

Thibodeau has stressed for Rose to attack.

“He’s got to attack,” Thibodeau said after practice on Tuesday. “That’s the bottom line. Some teams are going under [picks] and some teams will adjust to a blitz. All I know is when he’s pushing the ball up the floor and attacking, that’s who he is. He can’t defer. He can’t pace himself. He’s got to go. That’s the big thing. He’s got to go.”

Rose established himself in the NBA and won an MVP trophy by attacking. He attempted more shots in the paint than from midrange or from 3-point range during each of his first five NBA seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Rose has now shown a preference for stopping this season. He’s opted to pull up for a 3-pointer 45.5 percent of the time, compared to attempting 40.3 percent of his shots inside the paint through 12 games. It’s the first time in his career he’s averaging more 3-point attempts than interior ones. He’s never attempted more than 28.7 percent of his shots from 3-point range in any previous season. During his 2010-11 MVP season, he shot 47.9 percent of the time from inside the paint and 24.1 percent from 3-point range.

Rose admitted Monday he was aware of his increased 3-point attempts, but didn’t see it as an issue.

“I’m taking a lot, but I feel like that’s an easy shot for me, a set shot,” Rose said on Monday. “I’m going to have a game where I’ll string in four or five of them, and it’s just going to help my confidence. I can’t stop taking those shots. They’re shots I normally take in practice, so my teammates know they’re great shots for me. It’s just, I haven’t hit four or five in a game yet.”

Rose’s outside shots have had mixed results this season. He’s made 21 of 70 3-pointers. He’s been especially active from deep in the past five games and has gone 11-of-38 during that span. He’s a career .311 3-point shooter.

Rose also explained his lack of driving has had to do with taking what defenses have been giving him.

“I mean, it’s different,” Rose said. “They’re playing me different. It’s more like, when I’ve got the ball, if I have a pick-and-roll, they’re going to send two people on me up top to pass the ball, or play a contain-type trap where there are people on me and they’re going to make sure someone’s always contesting me at the rim like [Andrew] Bogut was last game. I’ve just got to learn how to score with two people actually being on me whenever I drive and make sure I learn how to get fouled and how to get a good shot up.”

Thibodeau has been patient with Rose as he’s settled back into playing this season coming off multiple injuries. Thibodeau has been taking the same approach with Rose’s attacking.

“It’s going to take time,” Thibodeau said. “We knew that. He’s stringing games together. The last two days in practice, he has been terrific. Those are all great signs. I just want him to keep building, get better day by day. Concentrate on improvement. Don’t overthink it. Get out there and play, attack, be aggressive.

“We talk every day. I’m not going to measure every play. It’s an instinctive game. We have to trust him. But I know when he has played well this year, he’s been in attack mode.”

Backcourt battle ahead for Bulls, Warriors

December, 5, 2014
Dec 5
1:58
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Backcourt matchups do not get much better than the one that will take place Saturday at the United Center when the Chicago Bulls take on the Golden State Warriors.

They also don’t get much more diverse. It's the long-range shooting of the Warriors’ Steph Curry and Klay Thompson against the inside-out play of Derrick Rose and the tough defense/blossoming offense of Jimmy Butler.

“They’re definitely talented; they can really shoot and score the ball,” Butler said Friday. “They get up quick in transition. But I think our job is just to make them work for every look that they get. Make everything difficult and challenge every shot. That’s the best way to guard those guys.”

The Bulls are coming off a win at Charlotte on Wednesday, while the Warriors are arguably the hottest team in the NBA with an 11-game winning streak that matches a franchise best. The Warriors lead the NBA in field goal percentage and assists.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau prides himself on defense and there might not be a more unique defensive challenge than the Warriors.

“If you overcommit to [the backcourt], they have other guys who can hurt you,” Thibodeau said. “What’s probably overlooked is how unselfish they all are. They were a high-assist team last year and they’re a higher-assist team this year. It tells you they play for each other.

“[Andrew] Bogut is under the radar. He’s very clever. He can handle the ball, pass, score around the basket. And he has a great defensive presence about him, He’s one of those guys who makes the team function extremely well. He’s a great screener. You can tell they have a team of guys who have fully embraced their roles. And their record reflects that.”

Thibodeau witnessed the challenge ahead with Curry and Thompson this past summer, as an assistant coach of USA Basketball.

As far as gleaning some kind of advantage heading into Saturday’s matchup? The Bulls coach scoffed.

“You have a pretty good idea of what they are,” Thibodeau said. “You also base it on what your team has done against them. I didn't need to be there to know how hard to be guarded. That part, I had a pretty good understanding of that.”

With Rose still working his way back from a myriad of injuries and Butler seemingly getting better by the game, is this the chance for the Bulls backcourt to show what it is made of?

“I don’t think our backcourt really cares (about that), whether it’s me or Derrick or Kirk [Hinrich] that’s in there; we just play,” Butler said. “We don’t worry about getting into the media and saying who is better than who. I think we’re all really good players, and whenever we go up against each other, I think each other’s games will speak.”

While Butler is the only one of the four backcourt starters not to have played in Spain this summer, he brings with him his own bona fides, most notably the Eastern Conference player of the month award for Novemeber. But he's aware of the perception of his place in the matchup.

“I guess at the end of the day [Thompson] is supposed to be better than I am anyways, like everybody else in this league, so I just continue to play the game hard, play the game the right way,” Butler said. “I think it will take care of itself.”

Mutual respect between Hawks' Kane, Bulls' Rose

November, 15, 2014
Nov 15
1:44
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said Saturday he was honored that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose thought so highly of him.

Rose recently said Kane’s success had motivated him in his own career. Kane returned the compliments Saturday.

“A lot of people were sending messages about [what he said],” Kane said Saturday. “When you see that stuff, that’s pretty cool. He’s such a great athlete. He’s done so many great things on and off the court for the city of Chicago.”

Kane respects Rose’s game, but he also admires Rose as a person.

“What I like about him is his humble attitude,” said Kane, who lives in the same downtown Chicago building as Rose. “If you see his MVP speech from a couple of years ago, you can really see he cares about the people he’s closest to and cares about his family and the people away from the game. That’s what I like most about him. He’s got a positive attitude, always looking on the bright side.”

Kane has been rooting for Rose throughout his injuries and was hopeful Rose and the Bulls had a successful season.

“For some unfortunate things to happen to him, he’s still had a great career,” Kane said. “They seem like they have a pretty good team this year. Hopefully they can do some special things.”

Rose not worried about doubters ... or Melo

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
1:15
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
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videoNEW YORK -- Derrick Rose wants to prove all of his doubters wrong, but he's trying not to let all the doubts about his game get into his head. As Rose gets set to open a new season against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night (ESPN, 8 ET), the former MVP sounds excited about being back on the floor after playing in just 10 games over the past two seasons because of two serious knee injuries.

"I can't get caught up in that," he said of the doubters. "I let my game speak for itself. By the way that I play you should be able to tell that I'm in the gym almost every day working on my craft. I don't like to say too much about my haters but you should be able to tell by the way that I work that I've been in the gym really going hard."

Teammates and coaches have consistently praised Rose for the work ethic he's put in over the past few months in order to get ready for the season. While he still wants to use his speed and quickness to overwhelm opponents, the 26-year-old is also trying to be more of a distributor during this return.

"Someone like Larry Bird, he just had a great feel for the game," Rose said. "His teammates, they loved playing with him. He made sure he got everybody the ball, but in the fourth quarter they knew that that was his fourth quarter. So [we're] just trying to get the same atmosphere here where [we] go through the game, go through the first couple of quarters getting everybody touches, then in the fourth quarter it's my time."

There was a point during free agency when many in the Bulls' organization thought Knicks star Carmelo Anthony would ultimately land in Chicago, but that didn't come to fruition after Anthony decided to take the extra guaranteed money and re-sign with the Knicks. Rose isn't worried about the Bulls' flirtation with Anthony as the pair prepares to face off.

"That's over with," Rose said. "I wouldn't say it's weird at all. He made his decision and like I said at the time, who wouldn't want to play with a talent like that? He came back [to New York], you can't get mad at him. But the people that we have on our team is who we got and that's who we have to roll with."

Bulls remain undecided on improving Butler

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26
2:36
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
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CHICAGO -- With the season opening game just three days away, Jimmy Butler's status remains uncertain due to the sprained ligaments in his left thumb.

Butler had the thumb wrapped heavily Sunday. He didn’t practice with the team, but he was taking jump shots after practice and seemed to be making progress toward being available for Wednesday’s game at New York against the New York Knicks.

Coach Tom Thibodeau was non-committal about his guard’s status, though.

“Yeah, he’s a little better,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see where he is, so that’s a good sign.’’

Thibodeau said that it’s not like he has to make a decision on Butler in advance in order to fashion a gameplan for the Knicks and admitted that he could wait to until the last minute to decide on his lineup for the opener.

“Yeah, it really is day-by-day,” Butler said. “Other than that, there’s not much to say. It’s better than it was. He’s got it taped up, but he didn’t practice. He’s shooting, and that’s about it. But it’s encouraging that it’s a little better."

If Butler does not start Wednesday, Kirk Hinrich is expected to take the floor in the backcourt at the outset along with Derrick Rose. The Bulls don't play again until Friday at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With opener near, defense not finished product

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26
2:26
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
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CHICAGO -- While Chicago Bulls players might be happy that the preseason schedule is complete, the coaching staff would not mind more opportunities to fine tune the squad.

After a full collection of practice games when Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were on minutes restrictions, and Jimmy Butler sat out the tail end with a thumb injury, the Bulls never did get to put together a finished product in advance of Wednesday’s season opener at New York against the Knicks.

Butler was putting his thumb injury to the test with jump shots after practice Sunday, but head coach Tom Thibodeau said the guard ultimately could be a game-time decision for the first game of the season.

It leaves the defense in flux, but Thibodeau refuses to hinge the team’s success without the ball on one person. It did seem clear, though, that opposing offenses had an easier time of it in the final two preseason games that Butler missed.

“Well, (Butler) is important, they’re all important,” Thibodeau said. “In this league, you can’t guard individually. It’s very difficult. You guard collectively. We need him, and we need everybody. We can’t rely on Jimmy to do everything for everybody. We can’t rely on Jo, we can’t rely on Taj (Gibson). It’s got to be everybody tied together, and so we can’t leave it to chance.”

In the final preseason game Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Bulls’ defensive weaknesses were exposed.

“There were a lot of good things offensively in the Minnesota game, a lot of bad things defensively, and so that needs to be corrected,” Thibodeau said. “When you look at the numbers from the preseason, you know, we played like a .500 team. So if we want more than that we have to put more into it.’’

That 4-4 preseason record gets thrown out the window now as the regular season begins this week.

“I feel we have done some pretty good things on both sides of the floor, we just have to be more consistent with it and sustain those good efforts for a longer period of time,” big man Pau Gasol said. “But we’re about to open things up and understand that we have a tough schedule to start off with -- seven games in 10 days, if I’m not mistaken. There are a lot of back-to-backs, and a lot of games on the road next month so it should be challenging, but it will tell us exactly where we’re at and it will force us to be on top of our game.”

Gasol might have as much to prove to Thibodeau as anybody since he only has had eight preseasons games to show what he can do defensively, as well as daily practices. Gasol said earlier in training camp that he wants to be on the floor at the end of games, but that will happen only if his defense measures up.

“Well, more or less he told us that he is going to try and get a feel for the game,” Gasol said of Thibodeau. “We have three really good interior players that he feels comfortable that can finish off games. He said he’s going to put the guys out there he feels more confident and comfortable to win that particular game. We have to trust his abilities and judgment, and work hard to deserve to be out there.”

That’s a far cry from earlier in camp when Gasol said that if he isn’t seeing playing time late in games then he doesn’t have the trust of his coach.

“Nah, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,” Thibodeau said. “I’m always going to do what’s best for the team. It’s going to be based on performance, so that’s the way it is here.’’

Thibodeau: Bulls have a lot of work to do after preseason finale

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
10:54
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Derrick RoseDavid Sherman/NBAE/Getty ImagesThough the Bulls lost their preseason finale, "I feel like I'm in a good place," Derrick Rose said.

ST. LOUIS -- The bad outweighed the good for Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in his team’s final preseason tuneup on Friday.

The good was represented by Bulls guard Derrick Rose playing a preseason-high 31 minutes, 37 seconds and again being aggressive offensively, finishing with a game-high 27 points. Center Joakim Noah also played a preseason-high 31:58 to go with 6 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists.

The bad came in the form of the Bulls committing 18 turnovers, allowing 35 first-quarter points, being outscored 30-21 in the fourth quarter, blowing a 13-point lead in the game’s final eight minutes and losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-112 at the Scottrade Center.

Thibodeau was in regular-season form when it came to his frustration over the defeat.

“We obviously got a lot of work to do,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what it reveals to you. Give up 30, score 21. Blow a 13-point lead. Turn the ball over like crazy.”

Even Rose couldn’t escape Thibodeau’s disappointment.

“We lost,” Thibodeau said. “He runs the team. He’s the point guard.”

Rose also wasn’t happy with the result, but put the game in perspective. It was another significant step in his return. He created for himself and his teammates within the offense and in transition. He knocked down 3 of 7 3-point attempts. He worked hard to defend Timberwolves point guards Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea. Just as important, his minutes increased again.

“Moving up, man,” Rose said. “Moving in the right direction. I felt good. Just trying to stay positive even when I do things wrong, just try to learn from it, try to learn from my mistakes and just try to make myself a better basketball player by using my IQ of the game.

“I feel like I’m in a good place. Just missing two years, coming back, being able to play again against all these great players and really go up against them. I don’t know if they would be able to do the same if they were in my shoes, but the situation happened with me and all I can do is try and be motivated by it and just try and move in the right direction every day. Stay positive.”

While Rose and Noah closed out the preseason strong, Thibodeau had mixed feelings about Pau Gasol's overall performance. The forward ended it on a low note as he committed seven turnovers and was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter Friday.

“Probably over-passing right now,” Thibodeau said. “Rather have that problem and get him to look to score more than have a guy who’s not unselfish. It wasn’t all on Pau. We have to play with an edge. We have to play defense. There’s no getting around that. You have to be in great shape. There’s no getting around that. You have to play with a lot more toughness. I know that.”

Rose agreed that the Bulls have some work to do, but said he didn’t think they were that far off from putting it all together.

“I’m not concerned at all,” Rose said. “I’m not concerned with the team. I know how hard we work as a team. Individually, I’m definitely not concerned with that. But as a team, seeing how everybody is focused. As long as everybody is focused on the same page, like I said, keep putting in that consistent work, that’s all you can ask for. That’s all you can ask from your team.”

Derrick Rose: Patrick Kane pushes me

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
10:42
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose made it clear Friday that there’s a mutual respect between him and Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.

Rose and Kane will both look to put on a show at the Scottrade Center in the next few days as the Blackhawks and Bulls both happen to be in St. Louis at the same time. The Bulls play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday and the Blackhawks face the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Kane, a basketball fan, has often spoken highly and been supportive of Rose over the years. Kane has attended a number of Bulls games.

Rose may not be as huge of a hockey fan and isn’t seen at many Blackhawks games, but Friday he sounded like someone who has seen Kane play enough to understand his ability.

“He’s a talent the way that he skates, how he is on the ice and the way he is able to play an aggressive game and still be productive in games,” Rose said after the Bulls’ shootaround Friday. “Even if the physicality of the game is a little bit more than he expects, he’s still able to play.”

Kane and Rose share a lot of the same fans because of their entertaining styles. The two players have also been linked together because they’re within a month of each other in age -- Rose turned 26 on Oct. 4 and Kane will turn 26 on Nov. 19 -- and both began their professional careers in Chicago at nearly the same time. Kane was a rookie in the 2007-08 season and Rose was one in the 2008-09 season.

Rose said he’s been following Kane’s career since early on and has even motivated by seeing what Kane has done with the Blackhawks.

“I think everybody knows Patrick Kane for what he did so young,” Rose said. “I know I’ve been hearing about him since we came in together. I’m a fan. He’s pushing me along with him. He’s pushing me.”

Kane and Rose also have something else in common -- the same building address. Both own condos in the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago. Rose said he rarely sees Kane, though.

“I live in his building with him and I see his mom more than I see him,” Rose said. “Who knows what he’s doing? You just know he’s doing something right. He getting where he’s supposed to be. Career-wise, he’s playing like he’s supposed to be.”

Derrick Rose seeking further progress in Bulls' preseason finale

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
1:12
PM CT
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Derrick RoseDan Lippitt/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose is just trying to get better each day as the regular season closes in.
ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose gets one final preseason tune-up Friday before embarking next week on his first regular-season game in nearly a year.

For Rose and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, their final preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday represents another chance for Rose to work toward regaining his form.

“Just keep making progress,” Thibodeau said after the team’s shootaround at the Scottrade Center. “The conditioning is a big thing. He just needs to continue to work at that. I like where he is. He’s gotten better each game.”

Rose made significant strides in the Bulls’ last two games. He played a preseason-high 28 minutes against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday and scored a preseason-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

Rose’s focus Friday continued to be his timing. He has averaged 15 points on 47.2 percent shooting, 3.7 rebound, 2.6 assists and 20.6 minutes in seven preseason games.

“Just, of course, working on my timing,” Rose said. “Just know that we can get better every day. We had a great shootaround. Hopefully, when we come back later on tonight we have the right concentration for a good game.

“It’s always a positive. You always get a positive out of the preseason no matter [what] because it’s early. Like, who cares? You can always improve. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re on the road to improving. Take every day seriously and get the most out of every day.”

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Final dress rehearsal looms for Bulls

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
2:29
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
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CHICAGO -- If he has even the slightest spare minute of time, the sense is that Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will use it to figure out a way to make his team better.

So if there is court time available and another NBA team sitting at the bench on the opposite side of the arena, you can bet that Thibodeau will take advantage of it.

With the Bulls’ final preseason game approaching Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at St. Louis, Thibodeau isn’t looking at it as an opportunity to take it easy on his starters and see what his bench can give him for 30-plus minutes.

“In general, you don’t want to skip any steps; this is your final test,” Thibodeau said after practice Thursday. “You can use it, and as you do with every game, analyze the things you’re doing well, the areas you need to lock into to improve and clean up.

“I don’t want us to get wrapped up in 'This is the last preseason game' or 'The start of the season.' Just concentrate on exactly what is in front of you, what are we trying to get accomplished today and lock into that. If we do the right things and put the right amount of work in, things will take care of themselves.”

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Lottery criticism too much of a gamble

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
3:07
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
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CHICAGO -- The NBA voted down the plan to restructure the league's draft lottery, and Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau elected not to gamble with his own money.

Asked about the vote to not change the current lottery system, which some point to as encouraging teams to tank games to improve their draft odds, Thibodeau started to answer and then stopped.

"The thing that I don't like about it is," Thibodeau said before pausing. "It just seems like … I think it’s bad when …"

Thibodeau then wrinkled his face.

"No, I don't know," he said. "I guess it's fine. I'll try to save my money."

That money Thibodeau was trying to save was a potential fine for being critical. So he gathered himself and started all over again.

"Nah, I want what's best for the game," Thibodeau said. "I guess there's always flaws in any system you use. But I think the intent of trying to do your best is important for the game. When there's so-called incentives to lose, I don't think that does anyone any good.

"I think we have a great game. It's in a great place. We have to keep striving to keep it there and to improve it. I do like the fact they're looking at those type of things. I have a lot of confidence in [commissioner] Adam [Silver]. I think he's going to be terrific, so whatever he decides, I'm good with."

Now there's a lesson on turning a negative into a positive.

The Bulls haven't been in the draft lottery since 2008, when they ended up with the No. 1 overall pick despite a 1.7 percent chance to nab the top spot. They used the pick on Derrick Rose.

Thibs forced to consider minutes limits

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
2:31
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau will not commit to a minutes restriction plan for any of his players, especially when there still is a week of preparation time remaining before the regular season begins.

Yet, with Derrick Rose returning from essentially a 2-year absence and Joakim Noah coming off knee surgery this offseason, Thibodeau will be forced to take a road lesser traveled for him: Keeping playing time to a reasonable level.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve got some guys where it’s a situation where they need to work, they need to play. But they also need to do what they can handle. It all plays into it.”

With the Oct. 29 season opener at New York fast approaching, Thibodeau no longer seems as high-strung about the preparation process as he did earlier in camp when he didn’t feel the team was coming together fast enough.

“We’re not there, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Thibodeau said Wednesday. “We all have to do more. It’ll be here before you know it. Every game reveals something to you. I think we learned a lot from the Cleveland game (Monday). It was good for us.

“There was a lot that happened: back-to-back, an injury (playing without Jimmy Butler), minutes restrictions. That tells you everyone has to be ready. And you have to find a way. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to know what they have to do when they get out here.”

Noah continues to insist that his knee continues to get better and was asked if he experiencing any pain.

“Nope; none at all,” he said. “In the beginning, I was a little bit more uncomfortable, I was a little limited. I still have to get my strength back; I have to get the strength back in my leg. I’m just trying to manage practicing, playing. But overall I’m happy with where it’s at.”

He also knows he doesn’t figure to be ready to go from tip off to final buzzer by next week.

“There’s a plan,” Noah said. “We’ll just take it day by day and see how it feels, see if there are any setbacks.”

Thibodeau might like to get the most out of his players physically, but he isn’t blind to Noah’s situation. One major hurdle cleared was having Noah play in games both Sunday and Monday.

“He’s a work in progress,” Thibodeau said. “I think he’s starting to feel better. You can see his timing is coming around. For him, that was his first back-to-back. That was good. He has to work at it.”

Thibs prepared if Butler can't go in opener

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
2:13
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- While the Chicago Bulls continue to operate on the premise that Jimmy Butler will need a week for his left thumb injury to heal, coach Tom Thibodeau will move forward as if he won’t have one of his top defenders for the season opener.

Butler injured his left thumb in the first quarter of Sunday’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. An MRI on Tuesday confirmed that he has sprained ligaments in the thumb on his non-shooting hand.

If Butler remains on his one-week timetable, he would be ready to play in the Oct. 29 season opener at New York against the Knicks. Thibodeau will believe it when he sees it, though.

“Obviously, I’d prefer to have him, but if we don’t, we don’t,” Thibodeau said after practice Wednesday. “We have more than enough. Next guy step up, get in there, get the job done. That’s why you have 14 guys. You prepare for everything.

“An injury can happen at any time. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to be ready. Even though you may not start off in the rotation, when that time comes you have to be ready. I think we have the type of guys that will be ready.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 3.3 1.5 40.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.4
AssistsD. Rose 4.9
StealsJ. Butler 1.5
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0