According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Derrick Rose “soaked up as much of the Kobe Karma as possible” when he and Bryant shot a video game commercial together earlier this month: “When you’re around people like that, of course you can learn a lot. How they manage themselves, how they eat, how they treat people, how they take care of their business, how hard they work, how they act all day. If Kobe’s not the most competitive person in the league, I’d like to see the person who works harder. That’s Kobe. He wants to win everything. I want to win everything. I guess it’s something that’s just born in you. I just wanted to ask him about winning. … It was a cool experience.”
The will to win everything…that’s cool. But personally, I hope that Derrick picked up a few defensive tips from Kobe, who is a nine-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First or Second Team.
Meanwhile, Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald reports about Tyrus Thomas’ recent charity work. And while his efforts certainly deserve mention — in the past several months, Ty started an outreach program for at-risk kids in Baton Rouge, La., sponsored a school supply giveaway, and spoke to students at the new Chicago Bulls College Prep high school — as a Bulls fan I’m more interested in the work he’s been putting in on his game.
According to McGraw: “Thomas spent the summer working on his shot — his spot-up jumpers and some moves that initiate in the post. ‘I was watching Magic Johnson and he said every summer he just wanted to add one thing, get real good at that,’ Thomas said. ‘I focused on being able to consistently knock down the 15-17 foot jumper. I’m real comfortable with that.’ Don’t cringe. Remember, the one time the Bulls won a road playoff game in Boston, the game-winning basket was a 21-foot Thomas jumper. There have been a few times in the regular season when Thomas made some clutch baskets. With Ben Gordon gone, the Bulls need a variety of offensive contributors. ‘I see myself improving a lot,’ Thomas said. ‘I know where I want to be and where I could be. Right now I’m in a situation where I just have to find my exact role on this team. Once that’s defined, I’ll probably give you more of a prediction.'”
Okay, I’m glad that Tyrus gleaned a little wisdom from Magic Johnson. However, two things about these quotes really bothered me. First was this: “I focused on being able to consistently knock down the 15-17 foot jumper. I’m real comfortable with that.” You know what? I’m not comfortable with that. Let D-Rose, Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, Luol Deng, Jannero Pargo and even Brad Miller shoot the jumpers on this team. The Bulls don’t need another jump-shooting big. We need a big man who wants to slam dunk and own the paint. But Tyrus focused his summer efforts on knocking down the 15-17 foot jumper?! Facepalm.
The second thing that bugged me was: “Right now I’m in a situation where I just have to find my exact role on this team. Once that’s defined, I’ll probably give you more of a prediction.” I don’t know if this illustrates Tyrus’ lack of basketball IQ or Vinny Del Negro’s basic failing as a coach. I understand there’s been some turnover this summer, but that was in the backcourt. Shouldn’t Thomas’ role be pretty well-defined? I know what I think Ty’s role should encompass: rebounding, shot blocking, interior defense, help side defense, running the court on the fast break, taking the ball hard to the hoop and jamming it down as hard a humanly possible.
Man, if Tyrus was going to imitate Magic, why couldn’t he have learned the baby sky hook?