Thibodeau respects Lovie Smith's success

CHICAGO -- Tom Thibodeau is considered to be a basketball cyborg by some around the city because of his work ethic and his attention to detail regarding his team. As the football season heats up though, the veteran coach does have one thing in common with most in the city: He has become a fan of the Chicago Bears and a supporter of Lovie Smith.

"I admire Lovie," Thibodeau said before Tuesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I think he's done a great job for a long time. I haven't had the opportunity to spend time with him yet, but hopefully in the future I will.

"I have enough trying to understand what we're doing, but I enjoy watching them play because of how competitive they are," Thibodeau said. "They're good on both sides of the ball. I think they're going to be a very dangerous team all year."

Thibs on MJ: A day after saying it was too soon to compare Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Thibodeau was asked about Jordan again and chuckled while describing the difference in the way defense was played then and now.

"Michael took advantage of a lot of the rules," Thibodeau joked. "He's smart, he's tough, he's physical and very gifted and a great competitor. He wasn't the only one on that team; that team was a great team. Very well coached, great players, play together, played to their strengths, covered their weaknesses.

“There were a lot of great competitors during that time and Indiana had a great team and their were teams out west that were great. So to me, anytime there's fierce competition, in whatever sport it might be, to me that's when the game is enjoyable to watch. I was in New York during the time when Michael was here and those games were hard fought. Miami was in the mix there, and those were battles. Every night you were going against a team that was tough. It was exciting to me."

The last word: Thibodeau, on being voted as having the best defensive schemes and the Bulls being voted the best defensive team in the league in a recent survey from NBA GMs.

"Meaningless. To me, all that stuff is. I just want us to concentrate on what's in front of us, improving. Whether it's praise or criticism, it doesn't really matter. The thing that does matter is what we're doing each and every day to get better and that's where I want our focus to be."