Bulls’ Billy Donovan praises being named coach of the month

NEW YORK – Billy Donovan doesn’t praise himself very well.

So of course he was uncomfortable on Thursday when asked if he had been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in late October and through November. .

“I think whenever you’re on a team and there’s some kind of recognition in itself, I think it’s always a reflection of the coaching staff and the players and the organization, to my notice, ”Donovan said. “The players are the ones who do it on the pitch. “

Donovan was the fifth Bulls coach to receive the Coach of the Month honor, joining Doug Collins, Phil Jackson, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Skiles. Thibodeau led the group, receiving the honor six times.

“Obviously I’m very touched by this and honored by it, but I also realize that without the players and the staff I’m just the one who is recognized, but for me it’s really a recognition of our team.” , Donovan said. .

What Donovan cannot avoid, however, is that he not only inherited an almost new roster, but a roster that has faced challenges in the first 21 games of the season.

He had to get them used to playing with each other, but also dealing with a roster that had a share of moving parts.

Second-year forward Patrick Williams was lost early with torn ligaments on his wrist, Nikola Vucevic lost seven games to coronavirus, and Coby White missed the start of the season while recovering from surgery. shoulder, to come back and then also be hit with a positive coronavirus test.

Donovan was not only able to overcome these issues, but the Bulls have also played defense at a high level compared to last season.

“I think that maybe reflects what I’ve been talking about from day one, the willingness of these guys to come back to Chicago after Labor Day to get down to business,” Donovan said. “I think about the work they did during training camp, how we knew it was a whole new group and a whole new team, and we were starting from scratch. You know that there were a lot of teams, especially in the East, which have a lot of continuity and coherence and which have been together. And we’re one of those teams that hasn’t, and we’ve tried to speed up some of these growing pains. ”

White update

As he was when Vucevic was isolated with the coronavirus, Donovan has continued to check with White since he tested positive on Wednesday.

According to Donovan, White had very few symptoms and was only getting through it. The hope is obviously that he can be back sooner rather than later.

“Trying to be there for Coby, the same way Vooch was when he was away,” guard Alex Caruso said. “It’s unfortunate, especially since he was just starting to pick up his pace, starting to get into the pace of the game coming back from an offseason operation.”

Talk about training?

Thanks to a brutal November schedule, training time was very difficult to find for Donovan’s crew last month.

That has changed this week as the Bulls were able to train solid Wednesday to correct some defensive mistakes, and will have training in New York on Friday to continue smoothing out some bumps.

“It’s a necessary evil to get better, necessary to improve things that you can’t do live in games,” Caruso said. “You need the reps to do things to make sure you can implement them in games. “

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