With five new faces dropped in his lap by the Thursday trade deadline, Donovan and his staff have the challenge of getting the new players up to speed and everyone on the same page as quickly as possible.
Billy Donovan has had an All-Star dropped at his doorway last minute before.
Just a day prior to the start of the 2017 training camp, Carmelo Anthony was acquired from New York, and had to play catch-up with his new teammates that had been around each other all summer and in the mini-camps.
“[Anthony] came in and there was a lot to get ready for and prepare for, but we did have a little bit of a lead-up time which is a little bit different than this,’’ Donovan said on Saturday.
It was a lot different than this.
Sure, Anthony had to figure out the play-call tags and where his new teammates feel the most comfortable on the floor, but they had a training camp to get that together.
The new Bulls had one morning shoot-around.
Before the likes of Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu made their Bulls debut against the Spurs, they had a film session and then some time on the court in the morning, and that was it.
Not ideal, but adding five players as Thursday’s trade deadline expired meant having to teach the new faces on the fly. Along with Vuevic and Aminu, the Bulls also acquired Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green and Daniel Theis.
Theis was still wrapping up family matters, and was scheduled to join his new teammates on Sunday in the Bay Area, so that meant again trying to get everyone on the same page in the midst of a hectic West Coast schedule.
“I don’t worry about those guys picking up anything that we’re doing,’’ Donovan said. “What I worry is the play-call tagged along to whatever it is we’re running, right? So you yell something off the bench and a guy is like, ‘What is that? What do I do there?’ That’s the challenge. Certainly we condensed a lot.
“It’s going to be a work in progress, it’s going to take some time, and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us to get that done.’’
That’s why Donovan wants his team to spend as much time as possible with each other on and off the court.
“In talking to ‘Vooch’ just a little bit [Saturday morning], I think he’s got a grasp on the things we’re trying to do, but like he said to me, ‘The biggest thing for me is going to get used to playing with different players that I’ve never played with before,’ ‘’ Donovan said. “So they’ll figure that out, but the more time they spend with each other and talk and communicate, the easier it is to get those things worked out.’’
A picture says …
A photo of a young Vucevic covered in Bulls gear has been circulating around social media, and the big man explained it on Saturday.
“Yeah, that picture was from when I lived in Belgium, but yeah of course I remember it,’’ Vucevic said. “So growing up I think like obviously many people I was a big Bulls fan because of [Michael] Jordan. And the success the Bulls had at that time. And I was just obsessed with Jordan and Jordan gear and everything that came with it. And I was lucky that my dad, he played professionally so he had access to a lot of the stuff. And, I think on that picture, you can’t really see because it’s very dated and it wasn’t as good quality as now. But I have a pair of Jordan 9s. Actually as soon as I got traded my family reached out to me and we talked about the picture.
“I’m not sure, but I might still have that sweatsuit somewhere, I’ll have to ask my mother.’’