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Chicago Bulls rotation: will Thibodeau play McDermott and Mirotic?

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some nightmare fuel, why not...
some nightmare fuel, why not...
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls brass faced the media on Monday to open training camp, and there was some...well, Bulls stuff.

And maybe part of the reason they're so bland is that when they're not we get maybe too interested?

Nah. So here's Tom Thibodeau when asked about his rookies, as transcribed by Ricky from media day.

Nikola and Doug are two guys we're real excited we got. Nikola we waited for. And there will be a period of adjustment for him. And Doug as well. It's a big jump coming into our league. When you look back through history, you see that there hasn't been two rookies in a championship rotation for a long, long time. They're unproven. We have to be patient and give them an opportunity to grow and learn. But I like the way they fit. They're a good fit for us.

It's even less here about the rookies in question as it is a revelation of Thibs's philosophy: the default is that the rookie won't play. And he has a point in that rookies, generally, don't contribute as much as veteran players. I don't doubt that they can play their way into more time, perhaps aided by an opportunistic injury, but we probably shouldn't expect anything initially.

Jay went over Thibs's options in far more detail over the weekend, and concluded there looks to be more of a chance for McDermott than Mirotic simply based on internal competition. But even looking at McDermott's situation shows both sides of the Bulls roster: some needed depth but also lack of impact in some spots.

I'll put it this way: To end last season, Mike Dunleavy started and Kirk Hinrich finished, and both are returning this year. McDermott has to outplay them (and fellow Summer League star Tony Snell!) to take those minutes, while in the potential catch-22 where he won't earn the minutes to do so.

But given that these aren't stars (and both are old and have injury histories) he'd be competing against, it's not outrageous that McDermott can do it quickly. I think Thibs's stubborn streak with young players is a bit unfair when nearly all coaches have a similar attitude, and there hasn't exactly been a stud rookie he's benched. The Bulls have top-end talent elsewhere to the point where both McDermott and Mirotic really don't have to contribute much. And if they can merely shoot the ball as we'd hope they can, that may win them some more time. But as Thibs kind of tipped his hand to already, don't go into this season expecting it.

As Thibs apparently said a lot of during media day: "We'll see"