Longtime NBA writer Sam Smith, author of "The Jordan Rules" and "Second Coming," is now writing for Bulls.com and was in town for Wednesday's season opener.
Smith's thoughts on the upcoming season for the Thunder: "The most pressing issue with them would be overconfidence, in the sense that it's tough to make that next step from 50 (wins last season). It's really hard to do. When the Bulls hit 50 (in 1987-88), the next year they went back to 47. Then Jordan bailed them out in the playoffs with that shot and they fired (coach) Doug Collins. When expectations go up... sometimes guys start thinking it's not that hard. Are they tough enough players, and is he (Brooks) a tough enough coach to push them?
"I'm not saying they can't (improve over last year). I'm just saying that would be the ultimate question because the team has good pieces, has talent and has been built well. It seems like they know what they're doing. It's just whether they get too filled up about how good they are."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks claims he was coachable as a point guard during his 10-plus seasons in the NBA, and new Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would know.
Thibodeau coached Brooks as an assistant while at Minnesota (1990-91) and New York (1996-97).
"He was a tough coach. Actually, he was a jerk," Brooks deadpanned. "I was like in my ninth year in the league (while with the Knicks), and he put me with three rookies (Walter McCarty, John Wallace and Donte' Jones). I had to get there early at 4 o'clock and work out with the rookies (during pre-game) because he wanted me to set an example. I didn't appreciate that.Thunder-Bulls box score