New Bulls coach Billy Donovan won’t accept excuses for a subpar performance, like the 30-point loss Friday night in Milwaukee, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Donovan was particularly unhappy with his starting backcourt of Coby White and Zach LaVine, who combined for nine turnovers.
“They’re the ones who have to be the driving force behind the identity which we need to play and we did not play to that identity,’’ Donovan said. “It’s five guys on the court doing it together, but also I think a big part of that is the guys who have the ball in their hands as they start to make decisions and get the ball up the floor quickly and get us into things, we’ve got to be able to do that and sustain that for a period of time. I thought collectively we were unable to do that.”
Cowley notes that Donovan has talked since training camp about the important roles White and LaVine will play, but both have been inconsistent during the team’s 2-4 start. White is in his second NBA season and his first as a starter, while LaVine has one year left on his current contract. Cowley suggests that the way both players perform now will determine their future in Chicago.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Bulls rookie Patrick Williams welcomed the challenge of guarding two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to Rob Schaeffer of NBC Sports. Williams said he’s ready to face “the best players, night in night out,” and Donovan thought it would be a good learning experience for the 19-year-old.
- Pistons rookie Isaiah Stewart is drawing comparisons to Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace for his tenaciousness as a rebounder, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Through his first three NBA games, Stewart is tied for the league lead in offensive rebounding with 4.0 per night. “To me, it’s just wanting it more than the next guy and just not being denied,” he said. “It’s just a part of me. It’s who I am. If you put me out on the floor, it’s what you’re going to get out of me.”
- The Pacers expect second-year center Goga Bitadze to make his season debut soon after being sidelined by a Grade 2 right ankle sprain, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. “He’s moving a little bit more every day,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “I’m not sure on the time frame when he’ll be back yet. I wouldn’t think too much longer.”