Friday night's game against the Kings reminded me of how much I hate it when Chris Duhon plays so much. 29 minutes last night, which is the stat of the game. Duhon, who's one defined offensive skill is the supposed 'true' point guard ability, committed two turnovers in the final minute and gave away the game. But his high minute count is a bad sign not only because of what he did while he was on the court, but if he's out there that much you know something went wrong with the other guards.
And sure enough, the guards did not play well, and the stats indicate they weren't aggressive (forgive me for going superficial box-score on you, I was watching in a bar and it was tough to get a 'feel'). Hinrich got to the line plenty, but only had 8 FGA, Gordon had 7 and only attempted one foul shot. Thabo went nearly 13 minutes without scoring a point.
So Skiles did what he's been known to do: give more minutes to Duhon. Not really a reach to say it ultimately cost them the game, especially in the final possession where the best shooter and clutch performer on the team was still on the bench, while Duhon tried to dribble past Ron Artest (with predictable results).
One encouraging sign (outside of a great game by Luol Deng) was that the suffocating defense was back, but that last possession pointed out the persistent worry on this squad: who is 'the man'? For those who believe the Bulls can win without an offensive star, games like that prove otherwise. Sure they shouldn't have even needed to make a basket on the final possession, but they needed it, and there was nobody out there I felt confident in. In those situations, I don't care how bad Gordon's night was: it's his time.
All that aside, if you believe that Skiles needs to go based on these player substitutions, that's a pretty embarrassing opinion to have. Especially after 3 games, there will be a lot of fluctuation in playing time. What needs to be done is not for Skiles to give players the most minutes to 'set a rotation', but for the Ben Gordon (among others) to set himself apart and prove that he should get them. Now...if only Thabo can do the same and wrestle minutes from Chris Duhon.