- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, as well as other NBA coaches and front-office personnel on Thursday, was able to discuss players for the first time since the lockout began, and he said he expects reigning MVP Derrick Rose to take another step this season.
"You can't be the MVP without being great," Thibodeau said at Berto Center. "But the thing that I really admire about him is he's never satisfied. He always wants to do everything better.
"I think defensively he made great strides last year. I think his leadership improved and he has to be the leader of the team this year."
Rose worked on a post game during the offseason to help the Bulls take another step this season. The Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in five games last season in the Eastern Conference finals.
"We were in the games that we lost, but like I said, it's on me," Rose said. "I'm the reason why we lost them games, like little mistakes, turnovers, me not making the extra pass to the open guy, not having the confidence in my teammates at certain times like making that extra pass.
"I think looking at film, I know I saw a lot of open guys, but when you're playing, you really don't see it. You're in the act of playing. I know who's open in certain situations."
Thibodeau wouldn't commit to adding another player when asked about the importance of finding someone who can create off the dribble. Instead, he praised Keith Bogans.
"The thing is, when you look at the strengths and weaknesses of our team, we have some guys on our roster who are capable of (creating off the dribble)," Thibodeau said. "You're always looking for guys that can create shots and break defenses down, particularly in the playoffs. And hopefully that's something that everybody improves upon."
Not surprisingly, Rose wasn't campaigning for a trade or free-agent signing.
"I'm rolling with Keith," Rose said. "We're fine. Like I said, with my teammates we have right now, we made it that far. It wasn't my teammates' fault that we lost last year, it was me. Me not making the plays and me not playing smart enough throughout the whole game.
"I think last year is going to help me grow this year as a player more mentally."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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