The Bulls were back in town Tuesday after spending the opening week of training camp in Nashville.
One goal behind changing locations was to get players to spend more time together. When leaving practice at the Advocate Center, people tend to go their separate ways. In Nashville, there were team dinners and excursions like Top Golf or a visit to the Tennessee Titans’ facility.
Did it help? Zach Lavine referenced the Bulls’ low roster turnover when giving his answer.
“We’ve been together for three years. I think we know each other pretty well,” LaVine said with a laugh. “It’s the same team. At least, that’s my take on it. I think it was just good to get away and do something different.”
Coby White described some of the positive elements of the off-site training camp, which seems to be trending up across the NBA.
“I think we definitely got a lot closer,” White said. “We were with each other more than we were by ourselves in Nashville. We got to know each other a lot more, especially the new guys. It gave us a chance to just hang out.
“Maybe we didn’t go do a team activity, but we stayed and talked for a long time or we went to the players lounge and played Madden or just sat in there, chopped it up, played ping pong. It didn’t matter, we were around each other a lot.”
One theory is the team communication will improve when players know each other better. They might be more comfortable talking about mistakes on the court or making sure everyone’s on the same page.
“I do think the group is communicating better,” LaVine said. “Each year you play with the same players, you start to understand them better. I think it’s good.”
Asked if any of the activities stood out, White mentioned the chance for the Bulls to pretend they were NFL players.
“Everybody would say the best one was probably the Titans football (facility),” White said. “Going in there, seeing their locker room and stuff. But just being able to be in another environment, playing football. I think everybody would probably say that was the best part.”
The Bulls social media team made a point of nominating DeMar DeRozan as the NBA’s best quarterback, posting video of DeRozan rifling a 50-yard touchdown to Ayo Dosunmu and other clips.
“In here (DeRozan) throws the basketball the full court with his left arm with accuracy,” White said. “So seeing him do that wasn’t really surprising. He just gives off that vibe that he’d be good at a lot of sports.”
The Bulls will play their second of five preseason games on Thursday against Denver at the United Center. Their first game was a 105-102 loss in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon, but the Bulls played well in the first quarter with the starters on the floor.
Coach Billy Donovan said he thought the players looked tired at times after a hectic opening week of practice.
“It was good,” LaVine said of the preseason opener. “I had a lot of open looks. I think everybody played well, played unselfishly. There wasn’t a bunch of iso play. Obviously, me and DeMar are getting to that; that’s what we do. But I think it flowed well.”