Bulls' approach reflected in Thibodeau's intensity

982671.png

Bulls' approach reflected in Thibodeau's intensity

As one might expect, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is taking Monday's record-setting defensive performance against Atlanta in stride.

RELATED: Bulls set franchise record in victory over Hawks

"If you have a good win, it doesnt mean you have it all figured out. You have to understand why you win and why you lose and make the necessary corrections. Even when you win, theres a lot you have to do better. Usually when you lose, youre more aware. It shouldnt be that way," Thibodeau told reporters after the team's Tuesday afternoon practice at the Berto Center.

"When you win, human nature is when you feel good, thats usually when youre headed for a fall. We want to approach everything the same way, have discipline, be focused, concentrate on improvement, not skip any steps."

It was a typical response from Thibodeau, who presents a constantly even-keeled approach to the media, in contrast to his intense sideline demeanor during games, not to mention a reported tirade directed at his players during Monday's shootaround, addressing their lack of consistency, particular at the United Center.

MORE: Thibodeau's pregame message strikes chord with Bulls

But while his players acknowledged their coach's motivational tactics -- Joakim Noah did so, in humorous fashion, in the aftermath of the Bulls' historic smothering of Atlanta's offense -- that didn't mean it was anything out of the ordinary.

"Were used to it. Hes very emotional. He takes getting us ready very seriously," veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich, playing for Thibodeau for the first season in his return to the Bulls. "We as professionals want the same thing. As individuals, we have to make sure were ready to play."

Thibodeau himself also insisted that the evening's result wasn't simply a carry-over effect from the morning session, but a product of better preparation and attention to detail.

"I dont think it was that. They were ready to approach the game in a different manner. I thought readiness to play was important for us. Usually with this team, when we practice well we play well. We had some slippage. When you dont have the opportunity to practice, theres going to be some slippage. You still have to have the ability to make corrections, concentrate and be ready to play. That was the main point of emphasis," he explained.

"Thats part of coaching. As you see things, you have to point them out. I see my job is to tell them the truth as I see it. Each day for us to improve, we have to know the things were not doing well, how we can correct it. Sometimes you do it through film. Sometimes meeting. Sometimes its practice. And sometimes its all three."

Whatever the case, Thibodeau's corrections worked, manifesting themselves in a stellar defensive outing, a tribute to the coach's defense-first philosophy.

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.

Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.

And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.

The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.

Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.

But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."

Bulls' Denzel Valentine throws out first pitch at White Sox game

Bulls' Denzel Valentine throws out first pitch at White Sox game

Count Denzel Valentine as 1-for-1 in a Bulls uniform.

The first-round pick threw out the first pitch prior to tonight's White Sox-Twins game and fired a strike to another young Chicago star, pitcher Carlos Rodon.

Check out Valentine's first pitch in the video above.