Here’s more from the Central Division:
- While Pau Gasol understands the Bulls‘ reasons for firing former coach Tom Thibodeau, he doesn’t believe that simply revamping the team’s offense is enough to take the next step toward an NBA title, Mike McGraw of The Daily Herald relays. “Offense wasn’t too much of an issue last year,” Gasol said. “We can work on our offense all we want, but defense is going to make a difference in how we’re going to beat other teams.“
- The Bulls also face the challenge of fielding a roster loaded with big men in a league trending toward more scoring and smaller lineups, McGraw adds, but Gasol believes the team can benefit from its roster continuity. “We have a great opportunity,” Gasol said. “We have a very strong team. There were very few changes made as far as our roster and our players. We can build on what we had last year, so we have all the tools to be a much stronger team than we were and learn from our mistakes from last year. I think we have to understand we have talent offensively and we have to play with a better flow offensively. I think we’re going to have more freedom to play in transition and exploit our abilities as individuals. As long as we understand that defense is what wins championships and makes the difference … we should be fine.“
- Shayne Whittington is part of the Pacers‘ current frontcourt logjam, but he believes his ability to guard multiple positions will set him apart, Scott Agness of VigilantSports.com writes. “Honestly, I think the one thing that really will set me apart from anybody at the four and five is if I can start guarding guards on a consistent basis,” Whittington said. “If I start doing that, then, then you never know, I’ll be at the four quite a bit. We’ll switch a lot; I can actually guard those guards; [Coach Frank Vogel will] feel comfortable with me out there guarding people. If your President of Basketball Operations feels comfortable with you guarding guards out there, you’re going to be on the court, especially if you’re 6’11”. Playing defense, rebounding the ball — that’ll get me on the court.“
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.