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George Karl thinks Bulls can be No. 2 team in East
Veteran NBA coach George Karl is impressed with Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls.
“Chicago is maybe the most efficient team in basketball,” the Nuggets coach said. “They play both ends of the court with dedication and they execute very well. They are going to try to keep the pace of the game down. When they get [Derrick] Rose back, they’re going to be very much in the top two or three teams in the eastern conference.
Can the Bulls win the East?
“If Derrick Rose comes back healthy there’s a chance,” he said. “They were playing last year at a very high level before he got hurt. I’m always going to give the champs the benefit of the doubt but if they can get back healthy I think they would be second most dangerous team to Miami in the East.”
Karl said preparing for the Bulls is like preparing for a Jeff Van Gundy team, which is only natural since Thibodeau was an assistant for Van Gundy. He also compared Thiobdeau to coaching greats Pat Riley and Jerry Sloan.
“There’s not a lot of nonsense out there,” he said. “There’s not a lot of lazy basketball. There’s a lot of serious basketball going on for most of the game. It’s an effort game. You have to match their energy on the boards. We have to find a way to get our tempo into the game against a team that probably wants to execute more than run with us. It’s a fun challenge. … You’re not going to beat this team by a big number. You can beat them but you’re usually not going to beat them by a big number.”
The Bulls held their shootaround at the Pepsi Center after the Nuggets left the floor. Thibodeau and Karl spent several minutes talking.
“He’s one of the great coaches in this league,” Thibodeau said. “To do it the way he’s done it for all these years, it tells you how good he is and he always finds a way, no matter what team he has — whether it was in Seattle, Milwaukee, here –it’s always the same. His teams play hard, they’re going to play unselfishly, he has his own style of play and I just love the way he is as a guy, too. What you see is what you get. He’s true to himself. He’s a great teacher and to have the success that he has had throughout his career, that says everything.”