Playing time an uphill climb for rookies under coach Tom Thibodeau
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org July 15, 2013 9:29PM
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:44AM
LAS VEGAS — Bulls rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy might want to start buying containers of body lotion now.
‘‘You can never have enough,’’ second-year guard Marquis Teague joked during NBA Summer League play.
Teague found that out the hard way last season.
‘‘That’s what the rookies on our team do — make sure they have lotion for the veteran players,’’ Teague said.
At times, Teague felt like that was all he did as a rookie under coach Tom Thibodeau because he surely didn’t play a lot of minutes.
Swingman Jimmy Butler didn’t as a rookie in 2011-12, and Teague didn’t last season.
It’s not that Thibodeau dislikes rookies. It’s just that the defensive expectations he has for his players is such a high standard to meet. It doesn’t come easy, even for veterans.
Guard Marco Belinelli was buried on the bench for the first month of last season. He struggled with some of Thibodeau’s concepts and admitted it wasn’t an easy system to learn.
Snell, a swingman, and Murphy, a forward, were drafted last month to add shooting, but it won’t mean anything if they don’t get the defensive end of their games tidied up.
‘‘They have a lot to learn, and they have to put the work into it first, learning the pro game, preparing themselves for training camp,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘But the fact they’ve both shown they’re more than capable of shooting the three in college . . . we think they’re a good fit.’’
They fit well in the second
game of summer-league play Monday, with Murphy scoring 18 points — including 4-for-5 from three-point range — and Snell 11 in the Bulls’ 93-81 victory against the Denver Nuggets.
Guard Andrew Goudelock led the Bulls with a game-high 31 points.
On the move
It didn’t take former Thibodeau right-hand man Ron Adams to find a new gig. The longtime NBA assistant was named the lead assistant to first-year Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Adams was in the news a couple of weeks ago, when Bulls general manager Gar Forman opted not to renew his contract. That led to speculation there was a growing rift between Forman and Thibodeau.
Both since have cleared that up, insisting they’re on the same page. On Saturday, Thibodeau said: ‘‘We’re fine. As I tell our players — I tell everyone — we’re not looking backwards, we’re looking ahead. And we’re getting ready for next season.’’