Nate Robinson looks to ‘bring energy’ coming off Bulls’ bench
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media October 12, 2012 11:48PM
Updated: November 14, 2012 3:13PM
CHAMPAIGN — The Bulls aren’t even two weeks into training camp, and already Nate Robinson is starting to sound like coach Tom Thibodeau.
“Just bring energy,” Robinson said of what he wants to accomplish this preseason. “The scoring will come. I just want to be the best teammate that I can and make sure that I pick our starters up if they’re down or not playing as well.”
Robinson, who has made his living as instant offense off the bench in seven years in the NBA, seems to be taking a more laid-back approach when it comes to his initiative on the scoring end.
While energy is a big chapter in the Thibodeau handbook on effective substitutes, defense requires its own volume.
“That’s what he preaches,” Robinson said. “That’s what we got to get better at as a team, especially myself. I just do whatever he asks.”
But Robinson is a part of a bench that was erratic in the Bulls’ first preseason game.
Thibodeau has tried to keep the unit together as much as possible, noting that the substitutes need as much time together as the starters. Thibodeau even has kept the units together in practice.
“The big thing for them is to strive for improvement,” Thibodeau said. “They’ve scrimmaged a lot against the starters in practice, and there have been times in which they’ve played extremely well.”
Watching makes perfect
Before the preseason game Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Assembly Hall, Thibodeau said that some of a rookie’s development has to do with the opportunities he gets to play.
Likely to play in spurts, rookie Marquis Teague has brought a studious approach to camp.
“The guys on this level have so much knowledge for the game, so you’re just watching in practice and in games and know what passes to make,” Teague said. “You just learn so much more when you’re watching.”
Thibodeau deferred to his old boss, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, when trying to explain some of the reasons for the surge in point-guard play in the NBA.
“The rules have helped them some because you can’t play defensively with your hands on people,” Thibodeau said. “[Rivers] said he wouldn’t be able to play [now].”