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Bulls Thu Oct 02 2014

Bulls' Depth a Formula for Success

Chicago BullsTraining camp is underway as the Chicago Bulls get ready for their first preseason game Monday, Oct 6th. There's much anticipation and high hopes for this Bulls team coming off a successful off-season with the additions of Pau Gasol, Aaron Brooks, and rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, not to mentioned the return of former league MVP Derrick Rose.

There's a new element to this 2014-2015 version of the Bulls, and that's depth. When you look at a potential starting lineup of Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Gasol and Joakim Noah, and a bench of Kirk Hinrich, Brooks, Tony Snell, McDermott, Mirotic and Taj Gibson, you can see the amount of depth and improved scoring that this Bulls team is capable of displaying. But the big question is, how will Tom Thibodeau utilize this depth and who will be the players on the short end of the stick? You can expect Hinrich, Gibson, and Mirotic in the rotation, but who will the others be?

Snell and McDermott had great showings in the NBA Summer League and can definitely contribute minutes somewhere, but how much is the question? Knowing Thibs and how much of a load he puts on his starters, you can expect maybe an 8-9 player rotation. Having this much depth is a great problem to have and with a long NBA season, there will be stretches when players off the bench will have to step up.

One player who is embracing his role is Gibson. The Sixth Man of The year candidate will continue his role of coming off the bench and bringing energy with his offense and defense. Coach Thibodeau said he would like to experiment with some things in the preseason and use different lineups. There could be times where you see Brooks and Hinrich as a back court combination with Snell, Mirotic and Gibson up front. Having a stretch four big-man like Mirotic is something new for the Bulls and allows them to play around with certain matchups.

Preseason will be a huge stepping stone for the makeup of the team and how rotations will develop for the regular season. The Bulls can go 10-11 deep but that's likely not to happen. One player who I can see breaking the rotation midway through the season is McDermott. His style of play fits the Bulls culture and he could very well be the starting small forward of the future.

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