<
>

Thibodeau still dissatisfied with Bulls' play

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau remains unhappy with his team's preparation over the past week. He made that clear several times after Saturday's win in Milwaukee and reiterated that point after Monday's shootaround in advance of a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets.

"We're evaluating everything, so it's not only the rookies, it's the entire team," Thibodeau said, in regards to a question about rookie Doug McDermott. "We have to determine who we're going to start with, who we're going to finish with, who can handle playing, what's the group doing that's on the floor, who's functioning well together, who has their game sharp. When you're watching the film after you see that there's a lot of things that are not acceptable and we got to get those corrected."

Thibodeau acknowledged again that he is 'concerned' about timing issues for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah as they return from separate knee injuries. While his general frustration seems to be based upon the fact that his team isn't playing well as a group, he is particularly frustrated with the fact that he can't play Rose and Noah together -- with the rest of the starters -- as much as he would like because of the restrictions on their minutes right now.

The interesting part of Thibodeau's comments is that not everyone in his locker room agrees with him. While Bulls power forward Taj Gibson said after Saturday's win that he liked the fact Thibodeau was pushing hard in preseason, swingman Jimmy Butler said Monday that he liked the way the team was coming along.

"He is the coach so I guess he can feel however he wants to about the situation," Butler said. "I like the way that we're moving. I think the guys like the way we're moving. But I guess our standards may be a little different than his."

Butler said that despite Thibodeau's bluster, the veteran coach actually seems a little more patient than in years past.

"I think it's kind of the same," Butler said. "Maybe even a little more understanding to the fact that we got a lot of new guys and they don't know everything like the past years have been. It's a little different but he still wants the same hard-nosed, everybody-has-to-get-every-little-thing-perfect type of mentality."

So what makes Thibodeau happy? Butler had to laugh a little bit.

"You know, that's a valid question," he said. "I would say winning but he always finds a way to pick out some little thing that we could do better even in a win. I know a championship would make him happy along with a lot of other people."

While Thibodeau remains unsure, at least publicly, that his team will be mentally where it needs to be on opening night against the New York Knicks later this month, Butler doesn't sound worried.

"I think we will all end up on the same page," Butler said. "We got a few more preseason games to get everything straightened out. We're not too worried about it. I think we just got to continue to play hard and play our style of basketball."

Dunleavy feeling better: After missing Saturday's game because of left knee soreness, Thibodeau said Mike Dunleavy went through Monday's shootaround and is expected to play Monday night.

The last word: Butler, on if Thibodeau is a perfectionist: "Yes. He wants everything done his way, which is the right way, which is going to be perfect. So let's just make the guy happy."