Tom Thibodeau: Bulls to take best player

Updated: June 22, 2011, 10:16 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has a clear cut idea for what his team is going to do in Thursday night's NBA draft.

Thibodeau
Nick Friedell/ESPNChicago.comDid Tom Thibodeau and Ozzie Guillen exchange any coaching tips?
"We've decided we're going to take the best available (player)," Thibodeau said before Wednesday night's Cubs-White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. "There's certain things that we're looking for and we feel good that we'll be able to get them there."

Thibodeau's message comes just one day after Bulls general manager Gar Forman told the media essentially the same thing on Tuesday morning. The Bulls have needs to fill, but they are so low in the first round that they will look to find the most talented player, regardless of position.

"You never know what happens until draft night," Thibodeau said. "So often times towards the end of the first round, there's teams that, if their guy's not there, they're willing to trade and move and adjust. And then there's more movement towards the end, so we're ready for everything. Our scouts and Gar and John (Paxson) have done a great job preparing for this. And I'm confident that we're going to get somebody that can help."

While Forman noted that his team would probably use both first round picks (Nos. 28 and 30) and keep both players on the roster for the upcoming season, the veteran coach left his options open.

"We feel good about the prospects that are there," he said. "And we have a lot of options. We can trade, we can select, and we feel there are good players in our slots."

Much like the free agency process last summer, Thibodeau is confident the Bulls have covered all potential possibilities heading into Thursday night.

"All those scenarios have been talked through," he said. "We'll see how everything unfolds. And of course, as it's coming down to our pick, we'll be getting calls in, you never know what might happen from that standpoint. Every possibility has been covered and we're looking forward to it."

When asked specifically about the possibility of adding another Duke player in Kyle Singler, to a roster which already features Duke alums Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, Thibodeau simply laughed.

"All the Dukies, they always want more," he chuckled. "But like I said, we feel good that there are good players that are available there and we're looking forward to it."

Thibodeau admitted that he did watch the Finals although he obviously his team were playing instead. The Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

"The Finals, it was good to watch," he said. "I wish we were there. And now we have to concentrate on how we're going to get better. Study the past season and get ready for the next season."

The veteran coach was impressed by what Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks were able to accomplish.

"(The Mavericks) were great. It was a great Finals. I thought both teams played well. I think it was good for the league, but again, I wish we were there."

For the time being, Thibodeau will have to find other ways to occupy some of his time. He did on Wednesday night by talking to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen before the game and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Thibodeau, who wore a personalized White Sox jersey with the number 11, stood at the front of the mound and threw a low liner into the glove of White Sox start Mark Buehrle.

"I'm really excited about it," he said of watching the Cubs and White Sox square off. "When I was in New York, I had a chance, obviously, (to see the) Yankees and the Mets, and then the big rivalry with the Red Sox and the Yankees. I always wanted to see the Cubs and the White Sox play. So I'm looking forward to it, and of course the great fans in Chicago."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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