Bulls’ Billy Donovan is no stranger to coaching on the fly
With five new faces dropped on his lap Thursday, Donovan has the challenge of getting them and the holdovers on the same page as quickly as possible.
Coach Billy Donovan had an All-Star dropped in his doorway before.
A day before the start of training camp in 2017, Carmelo Anthony was acquired from the Knicks and had to play catch-up with his new teammates, who had been around each other all summer and in minicamps.
“[Anthony] came in, and there was a lot to get ready for and prepare for, but we did have a little bit of a lead-up time, which is a little bit different than this,’’ Donovan said Saturday.
It was a lot different than this.
Anthony had to figure out the play-call tags and where his new teammates felt most comfortable on the floor, but they had a training camp to get that together.
The new Bulls had one morning shootaround.
Before Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu made their Bulls debuts against the Spurs, they had a film session, then some time on the court in the morning, and that was it.
It wasn’t ideal, but adding five players as Thursday’s trade deadline expired meant having to teach the new guys on the fly. Along with Vucevic and Aminu, the Bulls also acquired Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green and Daniel Theis.
Theis, still wrapping up family matters, was scheduled to join his new teammates Sunday in the Bay Area, so that meant trying to get everyone on the same page in the midst of a hectic West Coast swing.
“I don’t worry about those guys picking up anything that we’re doing,’’ Donovan said. “What I worry about is the play-call tagged along to whatever it is we’re running, right? So you yell something off the bench and a guy is like, ‘What is that? What do I do there?’ That’s the challenge. Certainly we condensed a lot.
“It’s going to be a work in progress, it’s going to take some time and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us to get that done.’’
That’s why Donovan wants his players to spend as much time as possible with each other on and off the court.
“In talking to ‘Vooch’ just a little bit [Saturday morning], I think he’s got a grasp on the things we’re trying to do, but, like he said to me, ‘The biggest thing for me is going to be getting used to playing with different players that I’ve never played with before,’ ’’ Donovan said. “So they’ll figure that out, but the more time they spend with each other and talk and communicate, the easier it is to get those things worked out.’’
A picture says . . .
A photo of a young Vucevic covered in Bulls gear has been circulating around social media, and the big man explained it.
“Yeah, that picture was from when I lived in Belgium, but, yeah, of course I remember it,’’ Vucevic said. “So growing up, like obviously many people, I was a big Bulls fan because of [Michael] Jordan and the success the Bulls had at that time. And I was just obsessed with Jordan and Jordan gear and everything that came with it. And I was lucky that my dad, he played professionally, so he had access to a lot of the stuff. And on that picture, you can’t really see because it’s very dated and it wasn’t as good quality as now, I have a pair of Jordan 9s. . . .
“I’m not sure, but I might still have that sweatsuit somewhere. I’ll have to ask my mother.’’
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