The new look Chicago bulls are just two nights away from opening their season against the visiting Boston Celtics.
With the offseason departure of their starting center, starting small forward, and starting point guard, the Bulls starters are obviously going to look much different when they take the floor opening night.
While Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler have a lock on their respective positions, the frontcourt spots were still a bit up in the air. Coach Fred Hoiberg just finalized the lineup by announcing that Taj Gibson will take the starting power forward spot over Nikola Mirotic, according to The Chicago Tribune.
We feel like Taj has played excellent basketball throughout the preseason. He’s been good in practices. We’ve talked to our guys about that. Niko has had a couple good practices in a row now. You try to get him in a good rhythm coming out of the gate. But that’s the way we’re going to start.”
Some expected Mirotic to grab the starting position given that he is a young prospect and adds shooting to the lineup that so desperately needs it. Mirotic didn’t exactly have a breakout year last year, but Gibson had a down year as well.
The big issue here is the aforementioned lack of shooting. While there has been talk of Rondo, Wade, and Butler encouraging each other to take more threes, their respective histories suggest that may not be a great idea. Add in Gibson and Robin Lopez, and you have a starting lineup without a single outside shooter. It isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but it is going to make it much harder to find buckets.