There’s no denying that the Bulls defense has been broken throughout most of the early part of the season.
That was debated on Wednesday, and not a quiet debate at that.
After the morning shootaround, it was Taj Gibson explaining the defensive lapses as, “Just the effort and having trust in one another. We really haven’t had any practice and had the chance to go over the defensive sets the way we normally used to. It kind of hurt us a little bit. The last two days, we were back to the old stick-stick-stick drill, all our old plays to help us get ready to play defense. Hopefully we can make a change.’’
It wasn’t the first time “trusting each other’’ was used as an explanation for the defensive problems, with Joakim Noah also insisting that was an issue over the weekend.
Coach Tom Thibodeau, however, had a very different explanation, and one that didn’t seem to sit too well with his players.
“That’s garbage,’’ Thibodeau said of trust issues. “That’s garbage. Trust is work. That’s how you build trust. You gotta know what you’re doing. You have to be tied together. You have to work at it. It’s a cop-out.
“Where you get trust is from the work. The magic is in the work. It’s working together. It’s timing. It’s being tied together. One guy being off is going to hurt. You need everyone working together. And it doesn’t end. You’re not going to have it figured out in three days. You’re trying to do something great. Nothing great was ever achieved without great work and great ethic. It’s really that simple.’’
Gibson was later approached after the Thibodeau comments, and rather than back off the topic, the power forward doubled-down.
“That’s [Thibodeau’s] opinion,’’ Gibson said. “That was just me and Jo’s opinion. We’re on the court.
“It’s just new guys that’s all it is. Most of the guys are coming from teams that not really, like they’re [not] defensive-minded teams first. So of course it’s going to happen. But that’s just my opinion. That’s what I see on the court. I’ve been here for a while, I know what I’m talking about. Joakim knows what he’s talking about, he’s defensive player of the year, so of course he’s going to know what he’s talking about. But we’re on the court, though.’’