Saturday, April 8, 2006


Nice bit on Andres Nocioni in the Sun Times today. I love what he's saying and how he says it. The NBA needs more guys like him.

''I think he is the most-improved player [in the NBA],'' Skiles said. ''I also thought he should have been all-rookie [NBA selection] and things like that. But people look at him as already a pro player. I understand that because he has played professionally for a long time. I know everybody respects him around the league, they just tend to look at him as a long-term veteran, or whatever, even though he's in his second year.''

Nocioni is more modest than his statistics.

''If I want to talk about myself, I'd play tennis,'' he said to the media surrounding him following practice Friday. ''This is basketball, we need to talk about team. This is not about Tyson [Chandler], or me, or Ben Gordon; this is about the Chicago Bulls. Everybody will need to play together if we want to win. I think everybody is playing really good right now and that's because we work.

''I play like this all my life. When I don't play hard, I don't play well. I need to play hard every night if I want to play in the NBA. I'm not a star player, I'm not like a Kobe Bryant. I need to play hard because I think I am a role player."

The hard work Nocioni put in during the offseason to improve his English has helped.

''His personality has definitely come out this year, there's no doubt about it,'' Skiles said. ''He's much more comfortable around the guys. With the coaches, we could always have a basketball conversation with him last year because he understood the basketball terminology. But just as far as other conversations, it wasn't terribly difficult but it's much more easy now.''

Nocioni said his approach to basketball is an Argentine thing.

''There are few guys who play with our passion,'' Nocioni said. ''We feel the sport in the blood. You watch the Olympic Games, [Argentina] plays so hard. It's the same in soccer. It is for the country. I know if I want to play in the NBA, I have to play like this.

''And I think I'm on the perfect team because everybody wants to play hard. From the coach to the trainer, everybody wants to win. That's good for us. Sometimes, I don't think we have the talent of other teams, but I think we play harder. This is the reason why we are fighting right now for the playoffs. Two weeks ago, nobody thought about the possibility of the playoffs. Right now, we are. This is because everybody keeps working every day and is thinking that the team is most important.''

He's right, and that's why the Bulls can be so frustrating. That last game against the 76ers was awesome, they haven't played like that in a while. It's tough to quantify how "hard" you play and try to chart it or work on it when it isn't "there" during some stretches of the game. But when it's there and the fundamentals of basketball are there, we have the pieces to win.

There is a lot of talk that the Bulls are a superstar short of becoming a contending team. A player like Garnett. The problem is, to get someone like that, you need to trade guys like Ben Gordon or Luol Deng and possibly someone else like Nocioni. Then you're just another NBA team again (although you still have Hinrich, Duhon, and Chandler). I don't know if this is the right path to take, but I have faith in Paxson and in Skiles. They sat Thomas when he came over in the Curry trade because he was lazy in practice and wasn't "trying hard enough." That's good, we don't want those guys, which makes me think that, if a move is made, they are going to be really careful about A) who is is B)What they trade away, and C) the effect it has on the team.


Post a Comment

<< Home