Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau refuses to get Star-struck
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com January 23, 2013 10:08PM
Bulls center Joakim Noah grabs an offensive rebound in the first quarter of the Chicago Bulls-Detroit Pistons game Wednesday January 23, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 25, 2013 1:03PM
Joakim Noah has had more than his share of All-Star moments. Carlos Boozer has been on a tear since the end of December. Then there’s Luol Deng, who should be “a lock every year,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
With the reserves for the All-Star Game to be announced Thursday night, someone is headed for some disappointment.
“I hope all three make it; I think all three are deserving,’’ Thibodeau said Wednesday.
Noah, Boozer and Deng shouldn’t have been counting on Thibodeau to work the phones and campaign for them. The reserves are selected by the coaches, and Thibodeau admittedly didn’t lift a finger to push his players.
“I don’t get wrapped up in that stuff because it’s political, and I think it’s a waste of time,’’ he said. “If someone sent me something, I wouldn’t even look at it.
‘‘When they ask me to do something, to vote, I try to look at the team’s success, how does that player fit in, and they’re all tough choices because you can make a case for a lot of guys.’’
Noah might be the sentimental favorite, considering he never has been selected, and it helps that Sports Illustrated named him the best defensive player of the first half of the season.
“I’ve got enough to worry about,’’ Thibodeau said.
“The All-Star Game is for the fans.’’
Richard Hamilton remains on a minutes watch. The goal is to make sure he’s healthy for the second half of the season and into the postseason.
Just don’t ask Thibodeau about the plan for those minutes and if they’ll change as the season moves along.
“The big thing is keeping him healthy, and also we’re going to look at how the team is playing,’’ Thibodeau said.
Derrick Rose participated in the shootaround and had no setbacks after a Tuesday practice in which he experienced more contact.
Rose underwent surgery in May to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
As expected, Deng missed his third consecutive game with a strained right hamstring.
There’s no timetable for his return, but Thibodeau said he’s improving.
Jimmy Butler started in his place again and is opening up some eyes.
Is Butler good enough to be a starter in the league? He’ll let others answer that.
“It goes by what system you’re in, to tell you the truth,’’ Butler said.
“I love our system, defense-first, play for each other. I feel like if there’s a chance, maybe, but my role is coming off the bench and filling in when there are injuries.’’