The newest Bull, Richard Hamilton, will start Tuesday's final preseason game for the Bulls against the Pacers. Though his role as a starter was expected, the question of when was still up in the air. Tom Thibodeau seems eager to see how Rip's assets add to the Bulls' executing the system well:
"It gives us a catch and shoot game," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It gives us size at his position and experience. He knows how to read defenses. He's seen just about every defense there is and he knows where the holes are, so hopefully we can take advantage of that. It's how he fits into the team. He has to do his part."
Thibs didn't say the role was permanent, let alone whether Rip would start the Christmas Day opener against the Lakers. He said they're "planning on it", but added the staff is "still trying to figure out what's best for the team".
Ronnie Brewer started Friday's preseason opener and is fine with returning to his role on the bench:
"He wants to just get a different look," Brewer said. "It's fine with me. I'm comfortable playing with either group. Last year I played the entire season with the second unit, 'Bench Mob' and we had great chemistry. That's one of the things that (Thibodeau) talked about. It's still preseason. I'm still going to continue to work hard. The team is still going to continue to work hard and we're just trying to get better."
A day ago, Thibs said Rip was "moving along well and in pretty good shape". Carlos Boozer added the transition's been "real smooth". Rip himself said Sunday that the team has made a strong effort to install him into the system:
"It is going pretty good," Hamilton said. "The guys are really helping me out on the sets and things like that. A lot of the sets are pretty much the same but different terminology. Every day I get a little bit better."
That day, Thibs called Rip a "pro's pro", so the change of scenery is showing very bright early signs for optimism.