Kirk Hinrich is going to play shooting guard, W T F.

Kirk Hinrich is going to play shooting guard, W T F.

Tom Thibodeau noted already that he's going to run with a nine man rotation meaning anyone who's not in those nine will only play spot minutes here and there. Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah, Hinrich, and Gibson are all obvious. That leaves two spots left.

K.C. Johnson says Aaron Brooks will take one of those spots which is bad news for Bulls fans.

The starters you mention are five. Gibson, Hinrich and Aaron Brooks are locks to come off the bench. So you’re looking at a battle between Mirotic, McDermott and Tony Snell for the last spot.

Aaron Brooks can only be in the rotation if he plays PG. Presuming Derrick Rose plays 30+ minutes that leaves 18 or less minutes a game at back up PG. That's clearly not enough for Brooks and Hinrich to split. In fact, if Brooks is in the rotation it means that he's probably playing 12 or so of those minutes.

So you know what that means....

Yes, Kirk Hinrich's primary role for this team will be to play SG.

Keith Bogans 2.0 here we come.

Look, I've got nothing against Hinrich as a player. I, like most fans, enjoyed greatly the revival of the team he helped to bring when the Bulls drafted him. He's a tough minded, gritty guy, who tries had and leaves it all on the floor.

He's a smart player who doesn't make lots of mistakes, can run an offense, find guys in their spots, and you know does some quality things you'd like out of your back up point guard.

However, he can't shoot. He can't score. He can't release pressure on the rest of the team as an offensive threat. He can't fulfill the responsibilities this team needs out of it's shooting guard.

That wouldn't be SO bad except for the fact that the Bulls have a guy who can. His name is Doug McDermott. He can shot the fucking lights out of the ball, and while his shooting was so-so in the second preseason game watching the defense react to him made it damn clear that he'll relieve pressure on the rest of the offense regardless of how good he's shooting.

No one is trying to run 100 miles an hour to make sure they close out on Kirk at the three point line. There's no need for that. That's a slow jog on the close out while you yell "shoot it" at him as he catches the ball to taunt him into a shot you know won't go in anyway.

And this is where the Kirk Hinrich signing sucks.

If we left Kirk as a back up PG and played him 12-18 minutes a game to relieve Derrick Rose things would be all fine and dandy. We could make use of his skills in running the offense, finding guys, and all that jazz, however, I don't know what anyone sees on film that makes them think Hinrich at the two is an answer for anything.

It makes your defense smaller and doesn't really do much for your offense either.

Tom Thibodeau hurt this team considerably in 2010 by not playing Korver nearly enough with Derrick Rose. Kyle Korver's ability to create space by merely standing around the court, blowing on his fingernails and nodding at the defender while saying "do you feel lucky punk" if he steps more than three feet from him opened everything up.

Doug McDermott could do the same. However, Thibodeau wanted to have Korver be an offensive creator instead of a spacer so ran him with the second team off 50 screens every play to get him shots where he's coming off a hard sprint on plays that took 10-15 seconds to develop.

We've seen him do the same with Doug in the preseason.

Both guys could find some success doing that, however, both guys would find even more success simply playing with an elite player and getting open looks or just swinging them to the weakside of the court and forcing a defender to stay all alone out there on them and not be able to help.

Maybe I'm over-reacting, maybe K.C. Johnson is wrong, but I doubt it.

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  • I think the back court rotation is pretty obvious and I understand the rationale. Thibs wants to bring a strong defense rotation to wear out opponents, so they don't get into a good offensive rhythm, and that's why the Bulls is an elite defense team. Rose and Pau will be the primary offense weapons initially. Kirk and Brooks will enable to limit Rose's and Butler's minutes during the regular season. Kirk will sub for Rose, McBuckets for Dunlevey as the first rotation. Brooks will come as a PG, Kirk slides to SG to give Butler a breather. The wild card is Snell if he can compete for McBucket's spot and win, which I doubt it.

  • If there was only a coach out there that was an upgrade over Thibs. Simply put, Dammit.

  • It's probably a 9 man rotation because he plans on Butler playing with the second unit like Deng did so we know he will play 40 minutes. Only the Bulls would find a shooting guard that can't shoot or score. Hinrich at the very most should just be used to give Butler a breather at the 2 spot, 10-12 minutes but knowing thibodeau he will play him 20 plus minutes. Thibodeau needs to have Doug Mcdermott out there despite the rookie mistakes, maybe just use him as a spot up shooter to give space to derrick and gibson on the second unit. Asik as a rookie was a factor in the Bulls success that year and so can Mcdermott. Having Hinrich, Butler and Dunleavy floating around the perimeter doesn't leave much perimeter scoring which is one of the biggest weaknesses of this team and because of this I don't see it as a true contender yet.

  • Thibs just isn't comfortable unless he's giving inordinate minutes to an over-matched veteran.

    If this is in fact true, and I have no reason to think it isn't, then the "Thibs is a near-perfect coach he just doesn't have the talent to work with" group has no leg to stand on. Thibs is being given offensive talent but you wonder if he knows what to do with it.

    Also, I've noted that many blame GarPax for the Hinrich signing but it looks to me like Klank is Thibs' guy. Hangdog is here because Thibs wants him, not because Klank has naked photos of Forman or whatever other theories have been posited.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    There is no doubt that Hangdog is one of Linus's(Thibs) security blankets and that the decision to sign him was not forced on Thibs by GarPaxDorf. He is an adopted son to all four of them. Hopefully, Hangdog will breakdown as usual and open up more playing time for the 2 guys that Bulls fans actually want to/enjoy seeing play, the M&M boys.

  • M&M need to play, they are not the typical one and down college rookies. Give them time on the floor to mature and by April, May, June they could be something special...

  • In reply to Sluggers:

    I agree 100%! Failiing to give M & M the floor time to develop and figure out the NBA would be collosally stupid! Aren't there assistant coaches on the team who get this?

  • Do you think Kirk would play the 2 with Brooks? Kirk would help balance out Brooks' chucking. Maybe that would leave some time to have Dougy play with Rose? I feel like Mirotic might be the one left on the bench this year (barring injury). It seems like Thibs thinks there is a bigger adjustment for him coming from overseas, plus the front court is crowded already. Maybe they do end up going 10 deep though, as much as I hate to say it, I think it'd be hard for Noah to stay healthy and play all 82 games...

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Totally agree. Noah (and Gibson and Gasol) will not be healthy all year. We will need Mirotic at some point.

    I think Thibs should try to get Mirotic 4-5 minutes per half to start the season just so that he can get comfortable and be ready. Some of these minutes could be match-up driven.

  • In reply to Granby:

    To Granby;

    Totally agree. I would add 10 minutes a half for McDermott with that amount escalating as he shows progress.

    Granby, I think your 'be ready' comment implies ready for the playoffs.. correct?

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I'd say that there is no doubt that McKorver will get more minutes than Mirotic(baring frontcourt injuries). Whether he deserves them or not this seems to be preordained by the blockheadedness of those in charge. Just like Gasol starting and Hinrich being the first guard off the bench. It's like working with a bunch of chicks, feelings trump actual job performance.

  • The Bulls per usual failed to obtain a legit SG which they easily could have in Afflalo or Jodie Meeks so where is the surprise that they throw some schlock like tired ass Klank Chokebrick in there? Paxson vicariously lives through said white draft pick for how long has Klank been here now a f-ing decade? No surprise at all. It's the Bulls way as in futility. No sense banging your head against a wall.

    Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, and now Dougie Fresh as SG's of the future. Too much. McDermott does not have the handle or speed to play the two IMO. His handle is not even regarded as exceptional for SF let alone a two combined with his so-so speed I mean come on. He might fill in there at times ala Korver, but he's no answer as in starter at the two. I'm not even sure he's going to be much more then a hired gun as in three point specialist, but if he does have an all around game as a quality starter it will be at SF.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    To RW,

    You may be right. But give the kid a chance. Damn. Ok, he's slow on his footspeed compared to other wings, but he may be a better shooter than average.,
    way better.

    Give him a chance to absorb. It's Thibs, man. He's gotta learn 'D' too, and first.

    Give him a chance to grow before you write him off.

  • Kirk is a terrible shooter.

    What is more frustrating to me with kirk is he just dribble the ball until there is 9 seconds left on the clock before he initiates the offense.

  • In reply to handushk:

    Watching Hangdog play is like fighting Mr. T(Clubber Lang) expect nothing but pain.

  • This is a non story to me. I think it was obvious this was the plan. They had success with the two point guard rotation last year and they will try it again. I don't see McDermott as a shooting guard at all, so to me he's not in the discussion. People have compared Brooks to Robinson or DJ, but I see him more like John Lucas. To me, that means he will see a lot less time than Nate or DJ. The fact that Snell hasn't impressed enough to take the backup SG spot means that Hinrich will slide into that role when Butler is out leaving spot minutes for Snell. His defense will be fine. He has proven that he can guard any PG or SG. This is the rotation that I expected to see. It is up to Snell to break into this rotation.

    As for the bigs, I think Mirotic will get a chance to play more if they give Noah or Gasol some nights off. That might not happen, but I think early in the season Noah will get his minutes limited. I thought it was interesting watching the NBATV Bulls preview that they thought Mirotic would have a bigger impact than McDermott. That is basically the opposite of what everyone else has said.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Because they recognize that Mirotic is a more well rounded developed player than McKorver, who looks like he will be a one trick pony do to athletic limitations.

  • I see Brooks playing more of a SG role on offense while guarding the PG on D. I'm probably wrong....:)

  • I don't know if Thibs even knows the rotation at this point.

    M&M should get better with each practice and game, so hopefully they will force Thibs' hand eventually.

  • Things I'd like to see in the first 10 games of the season:

    1--Thibs resting Noah and Gasol, but alternately.

    2--McDermott in the regular rotation with Dunleavy and without Niko on the floor except for garbage time.(Niko + McD =too little 'D' on the floor)

    3--Enlarge Thibs view of what I call garbage time at the end of games. So we blow a game. Look for places to give all newbies some minutes.

    4--Thibs OBVIOSLY dedicating first 10-15 games to giving guys a chance to learn and grow without making any harsh decisions.


  • Basketball is Thibs life. It's absurb how much film he apparently studies and yet he still sees the game in black and white, offense and defense.

    He should be thinking ahead to potential playoff matchups and work his rotations around that. Mirotic could be a killer matchup for Cleveland by drawing their already weak interior defense away from the basket. Wouldn't expect McDermott to get many minutes in that series either because of the typical defensive issues.

  • To be honest, KC Johnson is rarely right about this kind of thing. Especially when it comes to lineups. He's good for injury reports and not much else. He's never really broken a Bulls related story. He a company man more than a reporter but he's never shown any evidence of even having any inside info on lineups or rotations.

    In this case, it's good news because if Aaron Brooks takes a rotation spot, I might just swallow the barrel of a revolver..

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    I'd rather watch Brooks than Hangdog any day of the week. Hand me the bazooka.

  • With Thibs it's gonna shake down like this...

    Rose and Hinrich will get all 48 of the PG minutes.

    The 2/3 for Thibs are interchangeable.. So Jimmy, Mike Dunleavy and McDermott, along with Kirk seeing some minutes at the 2 will get all 96 minutes at the 2/3.

    Then we have the 96 MPG available at the 4/5. I think with Noah coming off knee surgery and Gasol being 34, I think Thibs is going to be smart this year.. I see it like this...

    Noah Gasol and Taj will all play around 28-32 MPG depending in match ups and who is hot. This is going to leave 10-12 MPG for Mirotic which he will get much like Asik did as a rookie.

    No Brooks, No Snell, No Nazr, No Cam, except garbage time and when somebody gets hurt or is being rested..

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    Forget your revolver, this is just entertainment - not world peace or a cure for cancer or even a sensible congress or presidency.

    1) Mirotic will get more than 10 minutes per game, if only because Noah, Pau, and Taj will all miss games due to injury, so no worries there!

    2) Thibs coached McD before and he reportedly wanted him, so he is going to play - not sure how much, but enough to show what he can do.

    3) Still need the SG, as the whole world of Bulls fans knows. Taj for Afflalo near the trade deadline?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The revolver comment was a joke, obviously. Just not a Aaron Brooks fan, at all. Teams he's been on have always been quite bad when he's playing. H's just not a good PG. Even in his outings so far with the Bulls, the team has crashed and burned with him at point. Even with the late 3's he made which looked all heroic, it cam on the heels of him running the team from having control of the game to losing the lead in the first place. He was also the worst Bull +/- for the games. I know it's only two preseason games.but it's just like he was for the Denver team last year.

    I'll take substance and scoreboard over flash and style any day..

  • In reply to rustyw:

    rusty- I agree with your #1, for sure.. but for games when everybody is healthy, that's about what he'll get.

    #2- I have McDermott down for over 20 MPG

    #3- I would consider Taj for Afflalo but I would prefer to see how Noah's knee holds up, if Pau's vertigo makes an appearance, or various other things that are relatively likely to happen.. Right now, we have just the right amount of depth in the frontcourt, considering the durability of the personnel. Gibson has been remarkably durable, which is more than you can say for MOST NBA bigs. An underrated trait.

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    #3 - I agree, it will take two or more months to see what trade, if any, the Bulls need.

    Bulls need a top 10 Offense, so either M & M develop or Rose returns to elite status. The former seems much more likely, as we both, and many others, recognize. But does Thibs get it?

  • I don't find any of this "news" to be a shock, thats why the Hangdog signing was the single worst moment of the summer. Hopefully, the M&M boys adjust to the NBA quickly and demonstrate that they need to be on the court more during the second half of the season so that they can be legitimate contributors in the playoffs.

  • "No way the Bulls are going to trade Deng" - KC, about 15 minutes before the Bulls traded Deng.

    McDermott is second on the team in minutes so far, behind only Butler (who has played one more minute than McDoug). He will be in the rotation, in fact I still expect he'll be starting at SF.

    Mirotic is probably going to get 10-12 minutes a night, I expect Thibs will keep Noah, Gasol and Taj around 28 minutes each. Thibs is giving away his rotations if you're paying attention - Taj will come in for Noah at the first dead ball after the 6:00 time out, then Niko will come in for Pau around the 3:00 TO.

    Noah will come in for Mirotic at the 9:00 TO, then Gasol will come back in for Taj with around 5:00 left.

    I expect Thibs will use a rotation pretty similar to 2010-11, when he had 11 players who played double-digit minutes (Asik was 11th in MPG at 12.1). I expect 10 players to be over 10 minutes/night this year, assuming everyone is relatively healthy.

    It will wind up looking something like this:

    PF/C - Noah 30 min, Gasol 30 min, Taj 26 min, Niko 10 min
    SG/SF - Butler 36 min, McDermott 28 min, Dunleavy 20 min
    PG - Rose 32 min, Hinrich 16 min

    That leaves 12 minutes at SG/SF, if Snell can earn the minutes he'll get them, if not then Brooks will get the backup PG minutes and Kirk will play SG.

    I think Thibs would rather play Snell than Brooks, because of his length and higher defensive potential. But if he doesn't play better than he has in the first 3 preseason games, he'll be enjoying front-row seats while Brooks is out there.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    This just makes too much sense. Maybe Thibs will actually do it. I noticed McD took down 8 rebounds last night, so I'm thinking this kid can play, and do the things that Thibs needs him to do to get floor time. He's indeed leading the team in preseason minutes so he's going to be out there a lot. I know Thibs referenced Gasol playing minutes in the high 30s but I find it hard to believe that's going to happen over a full season, even with Thibs as coach.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Good analysis overall, pretty much spot on, although I could see both Butler and Rose getting a few more minutes.

    I see that someone else noticed(figured out) Thibs bigman rotation. I wondering last night how Taj is going to respond to less minutes compared to last season because he won't play the entire 2nd and 4rth quarters. Noah too is likely to see less minutes than last season. Noah could use the break, not sure how Taj will react to fewer minutes and maybe not finishing the game.

    While I totally agree with you overall assessment of the bigman rotation, the one area where there might be something less than set in stone will be the closing minutes. I could see Thibs going with any of the bigman combo's depending on the situation(score) of the game. He could go with Noah and Taj for more defense, he could go with Gasol and Taj for more offense, or he could go for Noah and Gasol for some balance.

    While I like everyone else would like to see McKorver start I don't think that Thibs will start the season that way, I could see that being the case by the end.

    While you might be right that Thibs would like to give the minutes to Snell, Thibs has actually talked up what Aaron Brooks brings to the offense, and I expect Snell to be behind Brooks and likely a DNPCP more often than not.

    The only thing that I'm bummed about is that Mirotic will struggle to even get 10 minutes. My gut feeling is that Mirotic is going to be the better(vs McKorver) overall player long term. I don't see how that changes over the next 3 seasons unless Taj is traded.

    Really the only way to get guys that we want to play more is to play Hangdog less, and unfortunately Hangdog is the perfect player in Thibs brickheadedness system.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree that the closing big men could easily fluctuate from night to night, based on who's playing well that night and also based on who the opponent is.

    I think we'll find out tomorrow night if McDoug will start over Dunleavy, if he's starting tomorrow I think he'll stay there. Like Sam Smith (yeah, I know) said in his column today, with the bench playing as poorly overall as it has, Thibs has the excuse of needing a veteran to play with the bench guys, so he's not really demoting Dunleavy, it's for the good of the team.

    It's only been three games, but I can't believe Thibs can like the way Brooks has played. His defense is pretty bad, and he has thrown up way too many bad shots with time left on the shot clock. He's 7/20 with 8 TO in 3 games, of course he has 5 more preseason games to beat out Snell (which won't be hard with the way Snell is playing).

    I agree with you that Mirotic will be better than McDermott, but I'm cautiously optimistic that if he's outplaying Taj, Thibs will give him more minutes.

  • Mirotic needs more than 10 mpg! They are paying him double what they pay Kirk, so ... he should get more minutes than Kirk. Kirk will likely miss a bunch of games again due to injury.

    How about cutting Butler's minutes down to about 30 pg? He plays a lot stronger when he is not dog-tired. That would get Mirotic to 16mpg.

  • Good thing we didn't use that logic to determine Boozer's minutes! I do agree with you, especially preseason.

  • I feel your pain Doug, but lets wait and see on this one. McDermott has had some really REALLY bad defensive breakdowns, if Thibs can fix those in his game he'll probably feel a lot better about playing him more. I'm worried, like you are; but I understand the reasoning behind less minutes early on for McD; the problem is Thibs past isn't one that makes you confident he'll change his 9 man rotation going forward.

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