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Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and the Chicago Bulls' Minutes Problem


In fact, in back-to-back games against the Clippers and Sixers, Noah played a staggering 87 minutes, raising his season average to a mind-boggling 40.1 — a number that no big man has put up since Tim Duncan averaged 40.6 during the 2001-02 season.

With the absence of Derrick Rose, this type of usage has been born out of desperation. Last year, a deep Bulls bench featuring Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, and C.J. Watson went a long way toward picking up the slack as Rose missed 27 games with an assortment of injuries. This year, those four all have new addresses, a product of the Bulls’ offseason effort to cut costs. They’ve been replaced by an assortment of bargain-priced veterans and unproven young players. Though there have been some surprising developments — most notably the steady play of second-year wing Jimmy Butler and Warriors castoff Nate Robinson — the bench is still significantly lacking compared to a year ago.

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Since the 2007-08 season, just five other big men have averaged more than even 37 minutes per contest. That’s the same season the Celtics won a title thanks to suffocating defensive schemes employed by current Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, then an assistant for Celtics. As it would happen in a copycat league, the following season saw Thibodeau’s philosophy became commonplace throughout the NBA, with more teams adhering to tactics that required post players to expend far more energy on the defensive end of the floor. This was a shift from the isolation-heavy era of the '90s and early '00s that allowed players like Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon to rack up a colossal amount of minutes.

You would think, being the man behind such a taxing system, that Thibodeau, of all coaches, would be acutely aware of the toll such heavy minutes could take on an injury-prone big man. Yet with Milwaukee and Indiana both nipping at Chicago’s heels in the Central Division, Noah’s minutes will likely stay consistent. They could even increase as the season wears on and the stakes get higher.

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As the team experienced with Rose’s injury last season, title hopes can end (and arise) in the blink of an eye. If the Bulls are to be the ones to capitalize, Thibodeau must reevaluate his current commitment to using Noah and Deng at all costs.
More good stuff at the link:

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-t...ol-deng-and-the-chicago-bulls-minutes-problem
 

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I'm torn.
 

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Oladipo for the people
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All your sports writers seem to complain about something all the time.

Point blank is that you guys are over performing. The beat writers and fans should be overjoyed.
 

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It is hard to blame Thibodeau too much; Deng and Noah are the unquestioned anchors of this squad.

However, Thibodeau also just got this big extension so he shouldn't be worrying about job security; and he sort of has a free pass (to an extent) since everyone knows Derrick is out. I guess it's just his natural competitiveness.

Jimmy Butler has been really solid all year so IMO there is no excuse for Deng to play 40 minutes per game. Just give 5 of those minutes on average to Jimmy. You won't lose much at all defensively and you'll even get a different dimension offensively in the sense that Jimmy is a better slasher and draws fouls better than Deng.

In Noah's case, there is no reason not to play Taj Gibson more -- isn't that why we paid him? -- and while Nazr Mohammad is subpar, he can at least hold down the fort against opposing benches for a couple minutes per game if you pick and choose when to use him. That at least gets Noah's minutes to a more reasonable 36-38.
 

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Anti Monday Morning QB
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All your sports writers seem to complain about something all the time.

Point blank is that you guys are over performing. The beat writers and fans should be overjoyed.
Agreed. For some reason across all of Chicago sports, if you are not favored to win the championship the media will always find something to bitch about, no matter how insignificant.

Well, unless you are the Cubs...then you can do no wrong.
 

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I blame it on being the second city. We are really just all small town hicks who want to love our teams no matter what. But it just would make us look like small town hicks before the big apple types. So, we act all cool and analytical and dissatisfied, like someone who rejects the wine at a French restaurant.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All your sports writers seem to complain about something all the time.

Point blank is that you guys are over performing. The beat writers and fans should be overjoyed.

Grantland is one of "our" sportswriters? Ha. Ok.
 

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Noah found a way to get some rest in the game with the Knicks. He got ejected in the 4th quarter, along with Tyson Chandler.

Seriously, the Bulls need someone to step up and play some decent minutes at the backup center spot. If no one on the current squad can do it, get someone else!
 
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