Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed looking to get back into the rotation

it's like he's literally looking to get back in the game, hahahahaha - Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

The Bulls rotation was down to 8 players on Monday, and the minutes have been dwindling for Marco Belinelli and nonexistent for Nazr Mohammed.

Tom Thibodeau is famously reticent to criticize anyone on his team (which makes him less interesting than Scott Skiles, but a better coach), so he took the 'if you don't have anything nice to say...' approach:

When asked about what Marco Belinelli and Nazr Mohammed can do to get back into the rotation, Thibodeau was non-committal. Neither player saw action Monday night.

"They just have to stay ready," Thibodeau said. "Just stay ready. That's it."

Thibodeau noted that Belinelli has been playing better in practice, but that wasn't enough to give him minutes against the Bucks.

"Right now we're just trying to figure how we can get our team to function well," Thibodeau said. "It's not any one particular thing. (Belinelli) just has to stay ready, keep doing the things that he's doing."

Thibodeau was almost defiant in some of his remarks and clearly frustrated with his team's inconsistency.

"We have more than enough here," he said. "We're fine."

Not to suggest that there's seeds of discontent from those two players, but they're aware they need to get back into Thibs's good graces. Here is Marco Belinelli to KC Johnson:

He certainly didn't expect this: The shooting guard didn't play against the Bucks on Monday after playing a combined 9 minutes, 42 seconds in the previous two games.

"For sure I want to play more," Belinelli said.

"I'm comfortable with my shot, but I'm not playing much," he said. "It's a bummer for me, but the NBA is like this. So I work extra before and after practice and try to be ready when I go to the court. I'm trying to play the best game I can."

Belinelli said he would try [to be patient]. But he also said he might talk to his coach about his role moving forward.

"I try to play defense and try not to make mistakes," he said. "It's not easy. When you don't play, there's nothing to say. I'm not a rookie. My first year was tough for me. But I don't think I've played this little since then."

Nazr Mohammed has no similar quotes, but according to Shams Charania (who's covering the team for RealGM.com) "privately hasn't been pleased with his lack of minutes". Or not so privately, then! (ht: Sports2)

Nazr has much less of a case: he's been on-his-way-out-of-the-league bad after showing good signs in the preseason.

Belinelli should be given a second chance soon though. He's only shooting 37.5%, but is also hitting that mark from three-point range. Which, on this team, sadly puts him 2nd in percentage. And despite the lack of minutes, 3rd in three-point makes. Playing Belinelli also allows for some versatility in the lineup construction which would include some more minutes for Luol Deng (I know, like he needs it...) at PF to alleviate some pressure off the 3-man bigs rotation if Mohammed is still unplayable.

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