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updated: 10/21/2013 11:32 AM

Bulls' Dunleavy adjusting to teammates' work ethic

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  • Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy drives to the basket past Detroit's Jonas Jerebko last Wednesday. Dunleavy, in his first season with the Bulls, says, "We're here to get better every day."

      Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy drives to the basket past Detroit's Jonas Jerebko last Wednesday. Dunleavy, in his first season with the Bulls, says, "We're here to get better every day."
    Associated Press

  • Pacers forward Danny Granger (33) looks to a pass as Chicago Bulls guard Mike Dunleavy (34) guards during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.

      Pacers forward Danny Granger (33) looks to a pass as Chicago Bulls guard Mike Dunleavy (34) guards during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.
    Associated Press

 

Mike Dunleavy joined the Bulls as a free agent last summer in part because he wanted to finally be part of a winning team.

But that can have its drawbacks, too.

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"I've had a hard time finding a basket to shoot at after practice because there are so many guys getting extra work in," Dunleavy said Sunday. "I've never been in a situation like that."

Obviously, Dunleavy doesn't consider a crowded practice court a huge problem in his life. He used it as an example of how the Bulls do things differently than the teams he's played for during a long NBA career.

After an intense preseason game against Indiana on Friday night, the Bulls returned to the Berto Center on Saturday for practice, then were at it again Sunday for more than two hours.

"I think it's pretty much what I expected," Dunleavy said. "This is a bunch of guys that work, from the coach on down. We're here to get better every day. There's no point coming in and wasting our time. We had a lighter day, kind of a day off on Thursday, so I think we all expected to be in the gym Saturday and Sunday getting ready for this week coming up."

Since being chosen with the No. 3 pick of the 2002 NBA draft, Dunleavy has played for Golden State, Indiana and Milwaukee during an 11-year career.

He's never played on a team that finished with a winning record but has made the playoffs twice as a No. 8 seed. So essentially, this workload is what he signed up for.

"Don't get me wrong, it's hard work," he said. "You've got to get your rest and bring it, physically and mentally, every day. It's a lot of work, but hopefully at the end, there will be a reward."

One of coach Tom Thibodeau's talking points recently has been how the Bulls need to practice better. He's talking mostly about the younger guys, but it does seem like an unusual message for team that is 5-0 in preseason.

"My expectations, I measure everything whether it's being done at a championship-caliber level," Thibodeau said Sunday. "Whether it's your preparation, how you practice, how you conduct yourself in the weight room, how you conduct yourself in the film session, how you conduct yourself on the bus -- there's a lot that goes into winning it. You've got to be willing to pay the price."

"The first day of camp, if you went to all 30 teams, everyone would say, 'Yeah, we want to win a championship.' Then very few teams are willing to make that commitment over a long period of time to put the work in every single day. It's easy to say it. It's hard to do it."

Dunleavy's experience in training camp has brought back memories of his days at Duke, being coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Dunleavy compared Thibodeau's intensity with other coaches he's experienced.

"It's higher than anything I've played at, at the NBA level," he said. "Very similar to going back to college to Coach K.

"It doesn't matter if you're playing against each other in practice, preseason game, regular-season game -- you need to bring a high intensity and you need to get better every time. I'm kind of on board with it. There's no point in going through the motions.

"If you're going to come in here, you might as well get your work in and do it right."

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