Skip to content

As Bulls bench suffers, starters racking up too many minutes

Nov 27, 2012, 6:26 PM EST

Tom Thibodeau AP

It has been one of the secrets of the Bulls regular-season success the past couple years — coach Tom Thibodeau fully trusted a bench made up of Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson. They could play big minutes, play tough defense and either hold or stretch leads the starters gave them.

All those guys are gone and their replacements haven’t cut it. Nazr Mohammed and Marco Belinelli don’t even touch the court. The three guys off the bench that do — Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson — are not playing near the level of last year’s bench mob.

It shows in the Bulls record. And it’s starting show in the minutes the starters are starting to rack up, notes Mark Schanowski at CSNChicago.com.

Luol Deng and Joakim Noah rank first and second in the league in average minutes played. Deng played 47 minutes in the nightmarish loss to Milwaukee, getting a one minute break midway through the second quarter, even though the Bulls were way in front most of the night….

The NBA season is a grueling marathon, and even the fittest players can break down if not given proper rest. All five Bulls’ starters have had injury issues in the past, and it’s crucial to keep them healthy until Derrick Rose can get back. We know Thibodeau wants to win every game, and no one can blame him for that. But looking at the bigger picture, finding minutes for the likes of Belinelli, Mohammed and even Vladimir Radmanovic could keep the starters healthy and fresh for a stretch run with Rose back in the line-up.

Thibodeau needs to balance staying within striking distance of Milwaukee on top of the Central Division and having guys rested and healthy enough to make a run with Derrick Rose once he does return sometime after the All-Star Break (most likely).

But this is the price the Bulls management consciously made to get short term deals so they can chase another big free agent to pair with Rose in 2014. They can’t expect to cut corners — to not match offers like the one Asik got — and have no impacts.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Add the Clippers to the list of teams pursuing Corey Brewer (with Rockets, Cavs)

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:22 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    It would be very difficult for the Clippers to find a deal Minnesota would like.

  2. Carmelo Anthony introduces his latest signature shoe, the Jordan Melo M11

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    IMG_2292

    Plenty of photos and a recap of this week’s launch event from Jordan Brand’s Terminal 23 space in NYC.

  3. C.J. Miles gets up, throws down on Clippers (VIDEO)

    Dec 18, 2014, 10:12 AM EST

    He turned the table on the Clippers and dunked on them.

  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo sprains ankle, leaves Bucks game not to return

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:46 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    He walked off under his own power but did not return.

  5. Report: Mavericks and Celtics in ‘substantive discussion’ about Rajon Rondo trade

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:33 PM EST

    Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Rockets, Kings and Knicks also reportedly inquiring about Celtics point guard

  6. Adam Silver says Charlotte hosting All-Star Game is inevitable

    Dec 17, 2014, 10:25 PM EST

    Adam Silver AP

    In related news, Hornets got a ton of public funding to upgrade arena

  7. Greg Monroe’s agent says he does not want a trade from Pistons

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:39 PM EST

    Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    The offers are not going to be big, will Stan Van Gundy eventually give in and take one?

  8. Now what for Milwaukee Bucks? For rookie of the year race?

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:31 PM EST

    Jabari Parker AP

    There are no good answers for the Bucks, or for other rookies to reward.

Featured video

Can red hot Warriors sustain success?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Favors (7437)
  2. K. Martin (6816)
  3. J. Noah (6749)
  4. A. Davis (6731)
  5. D. Cousins (6371)
  1. T. Jones (6307)
  2. A. Bogut (6293)
  3. T. Parker (6287)
  4. K. Leonard (6118)
  5. D. Lee (5956)