Last week, I said it seems like the players on this year’s Bulls squad really like each other. Well, I must have been onto something, because Mike McGraw of the Daily Heraldjust wrote an article about how much the players really like each other: “Since training camp began, players have been emphasizing how well they’ve gotten along. No doubt, the locker room is louder and livelier than it’s been in the past. Excessive laughter could be heard in the hallways even after a mundane Monday practice at the Berto Center. ‘The practices are fun,’ Joakim Noah said. ‘We’re having a great time together.’”
Added Lindsey Hunter: “It’s like family and that’s how you want it. It’s hard to get that, too, by the way. It’s really hard to get. It takes time to develop that and you have to put the right personalities in place where egos won’t come into play and if anybody has one, you have enough guys to put him in line. I think we really have the makings of having that special type of chemistry.”
Of course, best friends don’t always make the best teammates. So the question is, will the lovefest translate to team success? Kirk Hinrich addressed that: “We’ve got a good group of guys and we get along pretty well. Everybody’s kind of trying to use that as a reason why we’re going to have a much better year this year. But the bottom line is we have to take that onto the court. That’s kind of what we’ve been working on, offensively and defensively, having the chemistry out there where we can be one of the better teams. We don’t have an all-star or anything like that. We have to do it as a group and it takes a specific type of effort.”
Kirk has a point. The reality is, it’s probably relatively easy to get along right now, before the pressure of the regular season begins, before players stop getting minutes or fall out of the rotation, before fatigue sets in or someone suffers a major injury, before losing streaks and trade rumors (or trade demands)…basically before all the things that actively kill a team’s chemistry. So it’s extremely important for the Bulls to take advantage of the feel-good vibe out of the gate so they can avoid the early-season malaise that has doomed them to slow starts over the past four or five seasons.
Derrick Rose Update:The Great Poohdini still hasn’t practiced since injuring his ankle in a game against the Pacers on October 2. But according to Bruce Levine of ESPNchicago.com, D-Rose might return to practice by the end of the week. Said Rose: “I have fluid around my ankle and around my tendons. They’re just waiting for the fluid to get loose, so it can relieve some pressure on my ankle. Right now they’re treating it using a lot of [stimulation] on it. They’re massaging it and making me do a lot of things … for motion in my ankle and running on the treadmill. I’m kind of mad about my conditioning, but I have to do this to get back in shape.”
I know I shouldn’t worry too much about Derrick’s injury. I know the Bulls are just being cautious with him. But…I’ll sure feel a lot better when he’s back on the court.