Starting Five: Bulls to face Jordan-owned Bobcats

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Starting Five: Bulls to face Jordan-owned Bobcats

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
10:32 a.m. Updated 4:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

1. Charlotte star swing man Stephen Jackson spoke to CSNChicago.com about the teams mentality under new Bobcats head coach Paul Silas. Well, I think were playing the type of ball everybody wants to play. Its exciting, our style of play and hes giving the young guys confidence, the confidence that they need to for them play well and for us to play well. I think its been great, Jackson told CSNChicago.com. Its Golden State with a defensive mentality. Youve got a lot of guys that can score, that can get up and down the floor quick. Coach is letting us use that talent in that aspect and were trying to get back to the defensive team we were last year. Continued Jackson: Its been hard, but I think were making the adjustment. Weve got guys that can step up. Weve got a lot of young guys that are getting the opportunity to play and are doing a great job. And also, D.J. is coming into his own, which we knew that he could do, so its exciting to see these young guys grow and start to contribute to our team.

Jackson also believes third-year point guard D.J. Augustin is benefiting from Silas guidance. Its been good because you dont have too many point guards in the league that can shoot and also run a team as well as he can, and I think for him, Coach is giving him the confidence to be a leader out there and to be able to take shots and make mistakes, and not worry about coming out of the game. I think its helped his confidence and thats why hes been playing so well, said Jackson.

2. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau coached new Bobcats assistant Charles Oakleya former Bull and one of the leagues all-time tough guys during his NBA careerin New York.

Prior to the teams shoot-around Wednesday morning in Charlotte, he opined on the colorful Oakley as a coach. Whatever he decided to do, I thought hed be great at it, just because of the way he approaches everything. When he goes into something, hes 100 percent committed to it and I think hes figuring out now what he wants to do. He tried the management part of it, now hes trying the coaching part of it. Whichever way he decides to go, hell be great at it, said Thibodeau. The way he played is also the way he practiced every day. Never took a day off and you got 100 percent from that guy all the time.

Jackson also discussed Oakleys contribution to the team. Its good, bringing that toughness that we need, getting our big guys to be physical and to have our best constantly on the court is something that I think he was one of the best at, and its definitely going to help us if our bigs can start playing the way he played.

3. Thibodeau also discussed Silas, another of the NBAs warriors during his playing career, as well as a head coach known for turning teams around quickly. Hes been around the game forever. Hes done a great job in a number of different places. Theres not too many things that he hasnt seen and experienced. Hes been through every situation, so I think hell do a great job here, said Thibodeau. When you look at the way theyre constructed, Augustin with his shooting and then you look at the two, three and four, when you have Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Diaw, because of their versatility, it makes them different. They do a lot of switching, they can spread you out, theyre skilled and now theyre pushing the ball more. But I thought this team has always had a defensive mindset to it and theyre unique because of all the switching they can do. You cant allow that to slow you down or turn you over because now theyre in the open floor. Theyre hard to stop. I like Kwame Brown. Some people have criticized him, but I think hes a terrific defender, he plays hard and then when you look at Tyrus Thomas athleticism coming off the bench, Henderson is playing a lot better right now and Livingston poses a number of problems because of his post-up ability, ability to run the team, great vision, unselfish. So, theyre a talented team.

4. Rose talked about his individual improvement on the defensive end, an area of weakness before this season. I think I improved a lot everything was just new. In college, you dont really play pick-and-roll defense like that. We were a good defensive team, but we never played pick-and-roll defense, said Rose, who credited Thibodeau for his defense becoming better. He forces it. He holds you accountable, especially me, on everythingThibodeau doesnt really do that embarrass players during film sessions, but hell stop the film and tell you what youre doing wrong. Were used to it right now. We watched so much film in the beginning of the year and in training camp of ourselves, that we expect him to be hard on us in film.

Continued Rose: I look at Kobe Bryant. Hes a guy that, he tries to kill you on both ends. Definitely when he has the ball, hes trying to score every single time, but on the defensive end, hes giving his heart outjust watching how almost everybody in the league plays defense. Chris, Deron, Rondojust seeing what they do on defense because in pick-and-rolls, people play different, teams send people different ways. The biggest thing I know in pick-and-roll is that youve got to push yourself into the ball, so that you can avoid all the screens.

Thibodeau chimed in about where he thought Rose improved the most. Guarding the ball, his ball pressure. I think the two areas hes improved the most are getting over screens and challenging shots. Now, I think hes starting to see how he can help with his team defense. I think hes reading plays well and I also think his rebounding. He knows when he rebounds and he busts out with the ball, thats almost an impossible break to stop, said Thibodeau. Fighting over screens is about both effort and technique. Communication by the big, effort, intensity, technique. I think you have to combine all those things and I think you have to continually work on it.

Thibodeau went on to talk about the biggest adjustment defensively from the college level to the NBA. In the pros, youre going to see multiple pick-and-rolls on the same play, so you may handle the first one well and there may be a re-pick and then maybe even a third one. You have to be prepared to do that throughout the course of a game, to develop a multiple-effort mentality, said Thibodeau. You get over the first one and even when you do handle the first part of it, you still have your team help responsibilities after youve done that. Its a never-ending concept. You cant stop and you cant relax. You have to keep going, you have to do it for 24 seconds, you have to do it for 48 minutes, you have to do it day after day. Thats what makes a team special. Thibodeau used his last point guardBostons Rajon Rondo, a highly-regarded defenderas an example. He Rondo really had to work at it, too. Youre coming in from college, I think the biggest thing is getting to learn the players, their tendencies, the teams, their systems. You understand the speed of the game and the strength the players have, and I think that you have to recognize that you have to get stronger, said Thibodeau. I know Rajon has and I know Derrick has the commitment to the weight room, so you can get over things. Youre going to get hit and your body position is critical.

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

Raiders' move to Las Vegas approved by NFL owners: When's Bears' first trip to Sin City?

Raiders' move to Las Vegas approved by NFL owners: When's Bears' first trip to Sin City?

The Oakland Raiders won't be the Oaklnad Raiders for much longer.

NFL owners approved by a 31-1 vote Monday the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, meaning Sin City will soon have its own NFL team.

With the Raiders playing in the AFC, the move doesn't affect the Bears much. But there eventually will be a road trip to Nevada.

When's the first time the Bears could play in Vegas?

Now, that's contingent on a couple things.

First, the NFL needs to keep its current scheduling model, which pits certain divisions against one another every few seasons.

Second, will the Raiders even be playing in Vegas by 2019?

A new stadium needs to be built, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that the Raiders will stay in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, potentially getting to Vegas for the 2019 season — when the Bears could play there in the team's inaugural campaign in the desert. But a new stadium might not be done by then, keeping the Raiders in Vegas another season. Or, maybe the Raiders could play where UNLV plays.

Whether it's two years down the road or more, there will one day be a Bears road trip to Vegas, one it's fairly certain Chicago fans will be interested in joining.

Archie Miller a good hire at Indiana, but his promotion to the big time comes with big-time expectations

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USA TODAY

Archie Miller a good hire at Indiana, but his promotion to the big time comes with big-time expectations

Archie Miller is the new Indiana head basketball coach, and while that gives Indiana the big splash it wanted for Tom Crean's successor, it remains to be seen whether it will please the Indiana fan base and its monster-sized expectations.

Miller is a great get for the Hoosiers, a guy who's taken the Dayton Flyers to four straight NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2014, a round the Hoosiers themselves haven't reached in 15 years. Miller has Big Ten experience, a former Thad Matta assistant at Ohio State, and he has experience recruiting in Big Ten Country.

He's been in line for a promotion from the A-10 to a major-conference program for a couple years now, and he was one of the biggest names at that level that Indiana or any other major-conference program looking for a new coach could have snagged.

But weren't Indiana fans expecting Steve Alford to come back to Bloomington?

Keeping in line with the enormous expectations this fan base always seems to have for this program, the internet was hoping athletics director Fred Glass could woo the former Indiana star back to his alma mater, pry him away from the most tradition-rich program in the country to spearhead a rebuilding effort for the team that finished tied for 10th in the Big Ten standings this season.

Those hopes seemed pretty unrealistic from the beginning — though it is difficult to argue with the immense financial attractiveness any Big Ten program has — but a perfect example of the kind of expectations that await Miller.

Marquette is plenty of distance up the college-basketball ladder from Dayton, but it was Crean, too, who made a career leap to the Hoosiers almost a decade ago. Crean's nine-year tenure featured some program-saving digging out from the horrendous spot Kelvin Sampson left things in. It also featured two outright Big Ten championships and three seasons of 27 or more wins. But all that couldn't keep the crushing expectations off Crean's shoulders, and one season after he won a conference title in one of the toughest conference's in college hoops, he was out.

Crean's kind of success wasn't good enough at Indiana. Will Miller's be?

Of course there was inconsistency that accompanied Crean's winning. The Hoosiers were just two wins above .500 this season, the same thing that was true a season after Indiana earned a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament. The two winningest seasons during Crean's tenure were followed by years in which Indiana didn't make the NCAA tournament. Not the kind of trajectory a program expecting a national championship wants to see, hence his firing.

But that goes to show how tough the task is in Bloomington, not necessarily when it comes to building a winner but when it comes to pleasing the folks in this basketball-loving state.

That's Miller's job now, and there likely won't be too long of a honeymoon period. Miller won at the lower levels of college basketball, winning 102 games over the past four seasons, but the Big Ten is a different animal. Another former Matta assistant, John Groce, found that out over his five seasons at Illinois. After getting hired off a Sweet Sixteen run at Ohio, Groce made the NCAA tournament just once in his five seasons in Champaign, the reason for the Big Ten's other coaching change this offseason.

Miller comes to Indiana with a better resume than Groce brought to Illinois — the A-10 is a much better league on an annual basis than the MAC, and Miller did more consistent winning over a longer stretch — but with a similar challenge ahead of him. Illini fans soured on Groce relatively quick, with questions about his job status lingering for a couple of years before he was fired earlier this month. Certainly Crean was never free from questions about his job status during his time in Bloomington, not even getting them to go away with a Big Ten championship last season. Will Hoosier fans treat Miller any differently if a deep tournament run doesn't come in one of Miller's first few seasons?

Of course, that all comes with the territory of being a college basketball coach, and Miller knows that well from his time as a major-conference assistant and with his brother the head coach at Arizona. But now he has to live it every day.

Miller is a great hire by Glass. It's time to find out if Indiana and its sky-high expectations make for a great landing spot for Miller.