Skiles praises Kidd; Bulls were interested in Jefferson



Jason Kidd typically has a little to do with that.

"He's one of the greatest to ever play that [point guard] position," Skiles said Thursday.

Such comments are consistent with Skiles' take on Kidd, whom he coached in Phoenix for close to two full seasons. Kidd either responds with a shot at Skiles or a no comment.

Whatever the case, there is no disputing Kidd's impact. He's averaging close to a triple-double (13.4 points, 9.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds).

"I've been on the sideline when I've seen him just totally take over a game or several games for a four- or five-minute stretch where he didn't score a point," Skiles said. "But he made every play.

"He rebounds. He goes end-to-end. He's a good defender. He's got great hands.

"To this day, every time there's a loose ball he's even near he gets it no matter who else is near it. He just brings a lot of things that help you win the game."

Window shopping

Bulls management long has liked Richard Jefferson's game, and according to league sources, had exploratory talks with the Nets around last June's draft about acquiring him.

Luol Deng's breakout season must make general manager John Paxson glad he didn't pursue Jefferson, although it's unclear how serious talks became.

Deng, 21, is five years younger than Jefferson and is averaging 18.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 53.5 percent shooting in 35.8 minutes.

Jefferson is averaging 16.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 47.7 percent shooting in 35.6 minutes.

Beyond similar statistics, Jefferson and Deng have recovered to play at a high level after tearing ligaments in their wrists.

"There's a lot I've improved on, but it's still early in the season," Deng said. "My main thing is to be as consistent as I can be. There's a lot I can get better on, especially defensively. I also could read offensive plays better."