Thibodeau, Noah discuss ex-Bulls head coach Skiles leaving Bucks


Thibodeau, Noah discuss ex-Bulls head coach Skiles leaving Bucks

DEERFIELD, ILL. Former Bulls head coach Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to mutually part ways Monday evening. Chicagoans will recall that Skiles was technically fired from the Bulls on Christmas Eve, 2007, in the middle of the 2007-08 campaign.

Just like back then, Skiles longtime assistant coach, Jim Boylan, will take over head-coaching duties. It was reported earlier in the week by though it was an open secret in league circles that Skiles informed Bucks management that while he was in the final year of his contract, he wasnt interested in an extension.

Its unfortunate. Scott, I know him, I coached him. I think hes a great coach and Im sure hell do well in the end. Hes proven to be a great coach in this league. You hate to see it. You hate to see anyone leave in the middle of the season, but I guess thats the nature of the business and as I said, Im sure hell do well, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after Tuesday afternoons practice at the Berto Center.

The way I measure him is whoever he has, he gets the most out of them. I know what its like to coach against him. Ive done it for a number of years, some as an assistant, some as a head coach. Sometimes, its the personnel, too. That changes over time. I think if you have serious-minded players, Scotts going to be a great coach for you. Hes proven that and I dont buy all that other stuff.

I saw some of that when I had the opportunity to work with Doc Rovers in Boston. Unfair criticism that went his way and after being around Doc, and seeing what a great coach he is, I think it said a lot about the Celtic organization, Danny Ainge, the ownership, that they saw what Doc was doing every day and they didnt fire him because he had a bad record. They knew that he was a great coach, continued Thibodeau, who coached Skiles in Philadelphia, when he was a 76ers assistant.

Scott Skiles is a great coach, and sometimes, everyone wants to pin something on the coach. Sometimes, its circumstance. Maybe its injuries; part of the schedule, they took some tough injuries. A few years ago, when Dallas won the championship, that year, Dirk Nowitzki went out and they went a stretch where they didnt win any games, so injuries are big part of this. But Scotts a great coach. Im sorry to see that.

Joakim Noah was a rookie during Skiles final season in Chicago. The center recalls that during that campaign, things were drastically different for him, compared to now.

I think about it sometimes. I think about it in the shower a lot, he quipped. How I was almost out of the league, basically. I wasnt having any playing time. I remember coming into the game a few times and getting booed at the UC. You cant make this stuff up. Thats really what happened. It was tough. There were a lot of things going on around that time. I wasnt used to it.

A lot of learning experiences, Noah continued, before referencing the dj vu of the circumstances. Its not the first time Ive seen that. They Skiles and Boylan run pretty similar things. I was always a big Boylan fan because he gave me my first opportunity to play, so I wish him nothing but the best, except against us.

Ironically, Milwaukee is the Bulls next opponent, Wednesday evening at the United Center. Thibodeau doesnt expect much to change, as Boylan, who served as the Bulls interim coach after Skiles departure from Chicago, will likely keep the system intact.

The strengths and weaknesses of the team arent going to change and in one day, youre not going to change your philosophy. You may tweak something, how to play, change maybe one scheme defensively, if that. But Jim Boylans a terrific coach. Hes been part of Scotts staff for a long time, so I dont see dramatic changes and as I said, the tendencies of the players are not going to change, Thibodeau explained.

Theyve changed their roster around quite a bit. Scotts teams are always well-balanced. Theyre going to play hard and smart on defense, and theyre going to play hard and smart on offense. Theyre going to share the ball. Their backcourt is very dynamic. They have some young big guys that are very active. Their penetration can lead to a lot of problems. Dunleavy has played extremely well for them. Hes a proven player in this league. The only thing thats slowed him down is some injuries. So, its a very dangerous team. They played a great game against Miami on the 29th. We have to be ready.

While most observers have focused on the Bucks explosive backcourt tandem of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, another key to the Bucks success theyre currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, making Skiles departure even more puzzling third-year big man Larry Sanders has been a revelation this season, similar to the campaign power forward Ersan Ilyasova had a year ago, prompting a long-term contract extension over the summer. Sanders, though undersized at center, has developed into a reliable scoring threat offensively and has utilized his athleticism to become the leagues current top shot-blocking force on the defensive end of the floor.

If youre playing in this league, youre talented. Sometimes, it just takes a couple games. A guy can get going, get his confidence and really play well. He had a defensive mindset when he came into the league and now, hes gotten some experience and you can see that his confidence has grown. So, hes a tough player, Thibodeau said. Henson has played well for them. Udoh has played well. Theyre active, theyre quick to the ball and again, their dribble penetration leads to second shots. Its constant pressure on you.

In addition to Skiles, Thibodeau mentioned that he also coached his Bulls predecessor, Vinny Del Negro, as well as another peer fired this season, former Nets head coach Avery Johnson, both of whom played under him when he was an assistant in San Antonio.

I had an opportunity to coach Avery, I coached Vinny, so all three guys, you could see when they were playing, that they would be good coaches. They studied the game, they gave you everything they had each and every day, he recounted. When you looked at them, you said, Oh, okay. They have the right characteristics. They were great teammates, they played unselfishly, they played to win, they were sound fundamentally and they were all driven.

Of his current players, Thibodeau thought hard before giving a diplomatic answer about who could be a future NBA coach after their playing days end.

We have a few guys that I think would make really good coaches. At this point, usually early on in a career, no one wants to coach. Theyre smart. Now, management, they all want to be in management. A few, ownership. Thats the way to go, he cracked. The big thing is the commitment that it takes. Its a huge time commitment and I think what a few guys wrestle with is the sacrifices they make with their families during their playing career, they dont want to continue on with a coaching career.

Thibodeau did say sidelined point guard Derrick Rose, if he chose, could become a coach.

He definitely could be a coach. He could be a coach, but I dont know if hed want the headache. But hes got the right mindset, hes got a great demeanor, he said. Im sure that hasnt even crossed his mind at this point. Hes just thinking about playing and what our team has to do.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.  

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose has never been shy about voicing his opinion. And that didn't change once he was dealt to the Knicks in late June.

He told in late July that the Knicks, who also signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, had formed a "super team" with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose said both the Knicks and Warriors, who won 73 games and then added this generation's greatest scorer in Kevin Durant, were the two super teams in the NBA.

Rose then doubled down on those comments earlier this month, saying every player should "believe in yourself" enough to feel as though you're playing on a super team.

That confidence didn't waver in the last week, as Rose made headlines once again for saying the Knicks have a chance to do something pretty special.

"I think (the Knicks) have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare," he told Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it's important to recognize that Rose is not saying the Knicks are going to go 82-0, or even that they have a realistic shot at doing so (though Rose's other super team in the NBA, Golden State, may have a shot). It'd be even more odd to hear Rose say there were games the Knicks had no shot at winning this season, even though their 32-win season from a year ago would suggest otherwise.

What Rose's comments really show is that he hasn't lost any of the confidence that made him the league's youngest MVP. Even while battling through his myriad injuries Rose maintained that he'd get back to the level he once showed as a dominant point guard in the NBA. And with a fresh start in New York, he's hoping that becomes a reality.

The Knicks have a decent shot at getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But with new head coach Jeff Hornacek and many new pieces needing to mesh, there's bound to be a few games early in the year that the Knicks have no real shot at winning (like Opening Night in Cleveland).

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

As part of a joint collaboration between and's Blog a Bull, Mark Strotman and Ricky O'Donnell are breaking down the latest happenings on the Bulls. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

On the first edition of the collaboration, Mark and Ricky break down USA Basketball's road to a third consecutive gold medal in this month's Rio Olympics.

It marked the third consecutive gold for Carmelo Anthony, the first man to accomplish that feat, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski finished his career as USA Basketball head coach 88-1, including a 76-game winning streak to end things.

Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler was on that squad and provided crucial defensive work on the team's second unit. The guys break down whether or not he'll be a part of the 2020 team that heads to Tokyo looking for a four-peat.

And Butler wasn't the only member of the Bulls participating in Rio. Mark and Ricky look at Nikola Mirotic's encouraging play for the Spanish national team, as well as Cristiano Felicio getting his feet wet for the host country, Brazil.

See all of what they had to say in the video above, and be sure to check out Blog a Bull all season long for Bulls news and analysis.