There are 13 players on the Chicago Bulls roster, twelve with Derrick Rose out of the lineup indefinitely with his injury. And it appears that Coach Thibs only has confidence in 6, maybe 7 guys. Deng, Noah, Hinrich, Hamilton and Boozer are already logging some serious minutes. They have only played 14 games and the starters minutes are going up while the bench units minutes are going down.
In comparing players from the 2011-2012 season to this season so far, here is what we get:
- Radmanovic and Belinelli came in as the 3 point shooters. Radmanovic has only played in 5/14 games and Belinelli is playing only about 15 minutes per game, where Korver played almost 22 minutes per game.
- Nazr Mohammed, brought in to back up Noah, took over for Omer Asik. In the 2011-2012 season, Asik averaged 14.7 minutes per game. So far this year, Mohammed is averaging 6.8 minutes per game and has only played in 11/14 games.
- Last year, rookie Jimmy Butler played in half of the Bulls games and averaged 8.5 minutes a game. So far this year, rookie Marquis Teague has played in 6/14 games but is only averaging 5.7 minutes per game.
And why is a guy like Marquis Teague not getting some more playing time? He is most definitely young, and inexperienced, but isn't now the time to see what the Bulls have got in him? Isn't now the time to get him the necessary time on the floor to start developing as an NBA professional?
Now, I have heard Coach Thibs mentioned in the same breath as another Chicago coach-Doug Collins. A coach who coached his players into the ground. A coach who left Chicago just before the Championships came our way. Or is it the other way around? Did Coach Collins leave simply SO the Bulls could get a Championship?
Coach Thibs has a win at all costs attitude-every game-every night. And without a doubt there is something to be said for that. But knowing what we know, about DRose, about the current makeup of these Chicago Bulls, is it truly necessary for Deng to be playing over 40 minutes a night, and for Joakim Noah's minutes to have gone up on average over 8 minutes from last year, this season? Does Coach Thibs need to be running these guys to the point of exhaustion, potential injury and eventual burnout not even a quarter of the way into the season? Seems more than a bit excessive in my eyes.
We know Thibs is a guy who lives, breathes and sleeps the game of basketball. And his coaching practices have made us all believers up until this point. We as fans have bought in, the players have bought in-but now? Without DRose to pick up the pieces? To see how this plays out-to see if Coach Thibs can change his ways, or start winning with this club more consistently, will be a dining season for him. And the Bulls. Many are calling this season of Chicago basketball a wash. I believe it is a defining year for the direction of this team.