INDIANA — Richard Hamilton is the newest piece of machinery for this Bulls locomotive trying to chug its way to a championship, but he won’t be starting in the first NBA game for the Bulls since their embarrassing exit to last year’s playoffs.
Instead, Ronnie Brewer gets the nod from coach Tom Thibodeau. Brewer was a big piece of the Bench Mob last season, coming off the bench to relieve Keith Bogans of his duties numerous times. Brewer split two guard time last season with Bogans and fellow Bench Mob mate Kyle Korver.
Brewer was a dark horse favorite to be the answer at the shooting guard position and had the Pistons not waived Hamilton, Brewer may very well have gotten the job.
Joakim Noah went out of his way during training camp to praise Brewer for his work and to vouch for him as the starting shooting guard. Brewer himself even made it known that he wants the starting job no matter what happens.
“No matter who they bring in, it’s going to be a fight in training camp,” Brewer said. “We’re going to push each other and make each other better at that 2 spot.”
Despite there seeming to be a controversy at shooting guard with the addition of Hamilton, Brewer’s emphasis was on making the starting job a competition so no matter who gets it, the team is better for it.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau feels the same way and knows that during this abbreviated 66 game season, Brewer and the Bench Mob’s depth will be tested like never before.
“He’s played well,” Thibodeau said. “He’s in great shape and he’s healthy. So that’s the biggest difference. Last summer, he was recovering from his hamstring injury. He came into camp not in great shape and unsure. I thought Ronnie got better as the season went along. He played very well in the playoffs for us. He had a very good summer.”
Having Brewer will be a great aid for the Bulls. Even if he doesn’t win the starting job, he will at least split the difference with Hamilton, who at 33 may not be able to sustain the grind of the shortened and intense season ahead.
But Brewer is no stranger to coming off the bench and contributing. He’s becoming a staple in Chicago and his talents will only bring good things this season.
Brewer gets the start tonight with the Bulls in Indiana to face the Pacers in the first of a two game preseason.