Team USA got a taste of life inside a Bulls practice Friday. The collection of NBA stars spent nearly an hour going over defensive assignments for Brazil, with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doing all the talking.
"I think everyone has a lot of respect for the way the Bulls have played defense the past few years," said Kyle Korver, a former Bulls forward now playing for Atlanta.
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"Everyone's getting a glimpse at seeing how they're good. It's because it's a lot of work and a lot of attention to detail, and that's probably new to a lot of guys."
The defensive detail might be new and unusual to many Team USA players. But as Golden State's Steph Curry pointed out, everyone in the league knows what Thibodeau is all about, so they knew what they were getting into.
"Really, that's kind of the reputation he has, drilling the fundamentals of defense home," Curry said. "It's really interesting to see how he communicates that on the court. You can tell how detailed he is and why Chicago has been a strong defensive team under his guidance.
"A detailed approach to that side of the ball is helpful for this team, especially since we haven't been together for so long."
Korver speaks up:
Former Bulls forward Kyle Korver shared some thoughts on the new look for his old team. This summer the Bulls added power forward Pau Gasol, rising European star Nikola Mirotic and rookie Doug McDermott, who followed in Korver's footsteps at Creighton.
"Super talented. A lot of pieces, a lot of length, really good bigs," Korver said. "You know Thibs is going to have them prepared and working hard. If they can stay healthy, they're going to be a really good team."
Korver thinks McDermott will be at the top of Creighton's NBA pecking order by the time he's done.
"I hope he's better than me. He's a great player," Korver said of McDermott. "He's got his own things in his game that I don't have. He's got a great head on his shoulders. I think he'll be a really good player.
"I never played against him until Las Vegas a couple weeks ago (at Team USA training camp)."
Can't hide from Thibs:
Brazil brought several NBA players to the United Center on Saturday -- Nene, Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter and Leandro Barbosa. But Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau made sure his players were prepared for the entire Brazil team.
Thibodeau said it was actually pretty easy to find scouting video on the other guys.
"It's amazing how different things are. It's so easy to get games now, worldwide," Thibodeau said. "At one time it was almost impossible. You couldn't even see the film. It's really changed quite a bit with the new technology."
Team USA warming up:
This was the first of four exhibition games for Team USA. They'll play twice next week at Madison Square Garden in New York, against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and Puerto Rico on Friday. They will then face Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain on Aug. 26.
The FIBA World Cup begins Aug. 30 vs. Finland, the first of five games in six days.