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Thibodeau: Gasol's commitment something special
Pau Gasol returned to practice on Wednesday after a day off and looked sharp, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said afterwards.
Thibodeau has long been impressed by Gasol, dating back to his days serving as an assistant coach for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics. Those teams twice faced Gasol’s Lakers in the NBA Finals. In 2008, Boston won in six games, while in 2010, Los Angles won in seven.
“I learned a lot about him then from preparation and of course watching him closely this summer,” said Thibodeau of Gasol. “He’s a really good pro and he plays to win. That’s why he’s such a good fit for us.”
Thibodeau elaborated by noting that Gasol participated in double sessions all summer with the Spain national team, thus was in great shape throughout the offseason. It is those kinds of commitments to the game that show how important winning is to the veteran of 13 seasons.
“You could tell he’s the type of guy that when he commits to something, it’s special,” said Thibodeau of Gasol.
All-Star center Joakim Noah is also glad to have Gasol on board. Noah spoke about how Gasol brings a “different dimension” to the team, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
“He’s a great player,” said Noah. “It’s early in the year. We’re working and we’re a work in progress, but I think it’s going to be great.
“It’s great to have another basket protector,” added Noah. “I think it’s going to make us that much better defensively.”
Though Noah has not spoken to Gasol much about his championship experience yet, he suggested that could come in time. Until then, he appreciates what Gasol has brought to the table, on and off the court.
“He’s very steady. Very steady,” said Noah of Gasol. “He comes in with a positive attitude every day and brings it every day. Great teammate.”