One of the most important factors in a successful NBA season is a team’s depth. With the league turning back to the normal 82-game season after a shortened 2020-21 due to the coronavirus it’s going to be more important than ever for teams to load manage and have plenty of guys who can come in and perform when starters are hurt or need rest.
So far this preseason the Bulls’ bench has delivered, being one of the most impressive parts to an all-around impressive preseason and very well one of the best second units in the league. Due to so many standout performers though, it’s becoming a real question that needs to be asked. Who is going to get the bulk of the minutes in the second unit?
The guard position has a lot of potential on this roster. Head coach Billy Donovan has utilized the small ball lineup a lot and it’s been extremely successful with this teams’ personnel. The guy in the second unit that’s stood out to me the most is Alex Caruso.
The Former Laker fan favorite has been doing it all for the second unit. He managed to pick up a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists in 20 minutes of playing time his first game out and has been constantly delivering all preseason. He’s been a huge surprise in the playmaking department and very well could be the point guard in that second unit come regular-season time moving Coby White to shooting guard when he returns from injury.
I personally believe he fits better here, allowing White to be the primary scorer in the second unit with significantly more point guard options on the roster than in previous seasons.
The hometown kid Ayo Dosunmu has also impressed. The rookie had a couple of good buckets down the stretch in their most recent game against Cleveland and closed the game out to move the Bulls to 3-0 in the preseason.
I thought the former Cousy award winner was a steal at 38 in the draft this year and had a very high ceiling. That prediction is proving right so far and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dosunmu gets some minutes eventually at some point.
With the depth in front of him though, this is something we will probably see in the latter parts of the season. Matt Thomas is a sleeper who may have very well found his way onto the final roster unexpectedly. A late pickup going into the preseason for training camp, the career journeyman has found his way into this conversation with hustle plays and his ability to nail the long ball and could provide more useful than one of the numerous forwards currently on the roster.
While Green has played guard his whole career, Donovan may have very well found a role for him at power forward in this new small-ball system. Despite being undersized, his hustle plays and ability to do the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet have been a huge part in the Bulls’ preseason success. Fans should expect Green to move from guard to forward heading into the season to help out the undersized rotation.
Despite not playing too much due to recovering from injuries as well, Bulls fans should expect to see a lot from Derrick Jones Jr. The guy is a human highlight reel who has playoff experience that should prove crucial for Chicago early on but especially later in the season.
Troy Brown Jr. is another guy who seems to be coming into his own. Going into his sixth season but still only 22 years old, he’s had some impressive plays this preseason and may very well prove to be a late bloomer that could be an important piece for the Bulls.
Marko Simonovic doesn’t look NBA ready yet and will need some time in the G League and with Chicago cutting Daniel Oturu earlier this week, it seems like the Bulls will be keeping the abundance of wings they have and going all out with the small ball style hinted at during the start of training camp.
With the results it’s brought so far I don’t see why not, but as the season stretches on the need for guys who can bang down low may stick out. As of now run with the small ball and if need be the Bulls can always sign someone or make a trade down the line regular season-wise at least. This style should prove extremely successful with the number of offensive weapons available in other positions.
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