Due to the controversial offseason departure of former Bulls lead assistant coach Ron Adams, Thibodeau’s holdover assistants—Andy Greer, Adrian Griffin, Ed Pinckney and Mike Wilhelm—will take on larger roles this season, as Adams' spot was never replaced. Thibodeau doesn’t expect the heavier workload to be an issue, however.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a great staff, so these guys have done a good job for a long time. They all have a little more responsibility, so it’s good,” Thibodeau explained Monday. “They’re all great teachers and coaches and they’re a good fit, and I think the fact that we’re going into Year 4, so I think they’re ready for more responsibility and they’ve gotten it. I feel very strongly about how good our staff is.”
Thibodeau refused to say much about Adams, who was hired by the Boston Celtics over the summer to be the top assistant to rookie head coach Brad Stevens, previously in the college ranks at Butler.
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“I’m not going to rehash that other than saying Ron is a great friend, a great coach and I was obviously pleased he was able to land in Boston. He’ll be a great asset,” he said. “It’s not just [mentoring] the head coach. I mean I thought was Ron was great with our staff. He’s been around a long time, a great teacher and he enjoys doing that.”
Rookies Snell, Murphy start out on Thibodeau’s good side
The good news is Bulls draft picks Tony Snell and Erik Murphy aren’t doing anything to earn Thibodeau’s scorn early on in their first NBA training camp. The bad news for Snell, the ex-New Mexico swingman, and Murphy, the stretch four out of Florida, is that they’re rookies, meaning that it will take a while for them to earn the trust of a head coach who values experience, as predecessors Jimmy Butler and more recently, Marquis Teague have witnessed.
When asked how they were faring, Thibodeau deadpanned, “Like rookies.
“The thing is, they’re both great kids. That’s what I love,” the coach expanded. “The first step is attitude and approach. They’ve got that. Each day they come in, they give you everything they have. They’re learning a new system. They’re learning the league. They’re learning their teammates. They’re learning to work at an NBA pace. If they do that each day, they’ll continue to improve. There will be some ups and some downs. We’re trying to get them to be more consistent. That will come. But I love the way they approach things.”