The Bulls seem to have a crowded roster rotation entering the season. They're especially jammed at the three, and they'll be forcing Hinrich to play as a two for most of his minutes. How they manage that rotation while still developing James Johnson will factor greatly in how successful the team can be this season.
The minutes at point guard are straightforward. Rose plays 38 minutes
a night for as long as he's healthy. Kirk Hinrich gets the remaining
Here things start to get messy. First, who starts? Hinrich or
Salmons? There've previously been rumblings in the press that Hinrich
didn't care to come off the bench, something sources close to me have
said as well. Salmons' productivity fell off a cliff when he came off
the bench in Sarcamento, so the Bulls will likely want to start him as
well. Deng could theoretically come off the bench allowing both to
start, but that seems unlikely if they want to build his trade value.
Hinrich 20 minutes, Salmons 20 minutes, Pargo 8 minutes. Salmons starts initially, but it's a role that's up for grabs.
What's best for wins and losses and what's best for trade value of the
team may not initially be the same. The financial commitment is on
Deng though, so he'll probably start initially whether he earns it on
the court or not. I expect the leash to not be that long though. I
gave some thought to the organization bringing him off the bench with
the excuse that they're bringing him along slowly, but they've been too
positive about his health for that to fly without them looking
foolish. How much time will James Johnson earn here is another
factor, and do we want to develop him here?
Deng 30 minutes, Salmons 10 minutes, James Johnson 8 minutes
Things get really messy here as well. The Bulls don't really have a
great solution for power forward. If they start Noah with Miller then
both their centers are in the game at the same time putting them in
foul trouble risk and burning down their energy at once, for that
reason I don't think that's all that practical.
Tyrus, Gibson, and Johnson can then fight for the spot, but it's not
going to be a great situation regardless of who starts. Even though I
think this is Tyrus's last year with the Bulls, I think they'll start
him for a lack of better alternatives, and they'll probably lose him
mentally if they go any other direction. However, if all of our
perimeter guys play well don't rule out a small ball lineup with Deng
at the four, and if James Johnson impresses then he'll have a shot at
the job as well. The minute distribution here will be off and on.
Tyrus 25, Johnson 13, Noah 10
The organization wants to make Noah more of a building block, so they'd
probably like to start him to build up his confidence and esteem. At
the same time, a Noah/Tyrus starting pairing doesn't work well. It
makes more sense from an Xs and Os stand point to start Miller, so it
will be interesting to see whether Xs and Os or future status wins out
here. Either way the rotation seems simple enough.
Miller: 24, Noah 24
This leaves the Bulls with a nine man rotation filling in the primary
minutes. Everyone else will play in spurts depending on the game or
injury status of other players. In order of minutes played:
Out of the rotation initially:
Gray (or whomever fills his spot if he goes elsewhere)