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: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls Vs. Wizards First Round Matchup: Da Bench!

Take a look at this picture. What do you see? These are three of the starters for the Chicago Bulls. There’s Joakim Noah on the left, Carlos Boozer in the middle and Jimmy Butler on the right. Well Pippen Peoples! Have you been paying attention? There’s going to be a pop quiz! Pippen Ain’t Easy has been hard at work analyzing and cracking down the matchups that you need to watch out for to see if the Chicago Bulls will be successful in their task to make it through the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Washington Wizards. We have broken down the matchups between the centers, Joakim Noah and Marcin Gortat. We have broken down the backcourt matchup between guards John Wall and Bradley Beal vs. Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler. Then we ventured basck into the frontcourt to talk about the forward matchup between the two Trevors, Booker and Ariza vs. Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer. Now our continuing coverage leads us to the backup players on the bench. It’s basically a matchup of one team that depends on their bench against another that uses the bench as a tax write off.

Washington Wizards bench

The Washington Wizards had a great acquisition at the trading deadline back in February. They brought in Andre Miller from Denver who was exiled from the team after Miller felt the need to tell Head Coach Brian Shaw that some of his coaching schemes needed work…in front of NBA fans in a full arena and on NBA League Pass. Then after Nene went down with a knee injury, they signed Drew Gooden basically off the street. Both players have paid major dividends for the Wizards down the stretch. I have always been a fan of Andre Miller, this goes back as far as the days when he led the league in assists with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is a true professional that will run the offense and get the play executed right. This was a sleeper pickup for the Wizards. Andre Miller will be the guy that come in and settle down the team if John Wall and/or Bradley Beal lose their composure. Remember these guys have NO playoff experience. Andre Miller will stabilize the team at the point and keep things under control. Plus he can steal a few minutes rest for Wall and Beal. Drew Gooden has played for 761 teams in his NBA career. He was basically playing pickup ball at a community center to stay in shape when the Wizards called him in. He corralled two 10 day contracts into getting picked up for the rest of the season. It’s going to be interesting how his minutes go now that Nene is back.

Make no mistake Pippen Peoples, the Washington Wizards have a very deep bench. They have battle tested Martell Webster who has been in the league a while. Al Harrington who has been around since President Bill Clinton was in office. (That is not a joke…I’m serious.) Couple that with the return of Nene from injury, this is a very formidable bench. The Washington Wizards are not afraid to use their bench. They can go ten deep very easily. If the Wizards are as deep as the far end of the pool, let’s go to the kiddie pool that is…

The Chicago Bulls bench

On paper Pippen Peoples, it looks like the Bulls put the Bench Mob back together again. ON PAPER! In actuality, based on the substitution patterns of Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, you will see two players with extended time. Those two players are Taj Gibson and DJ Augustin. I may be wrong but I doubt it and all of you Pippen Peoples know it. Tom Thibodeau will only go to the bench in case  of injury or foul trouble. That’s it. Let’s break down the chances of these players playing in a game or even making the postseason roster.

DJ Augustin

Oh this dude going to play. A LOT! He is the only one in the last six weeks that has proven he can hit jump shots in between TV timeouts. Since the Luol Deng trade, he is the Bulls leading scorer. He’s in.

Taj Gibson

Oh yeah! He’s playing. You see he’s the one that plays in the 4th quarter when the street lights come on and Carlos has to go to the bench for the night. Tom Thibodeau plays him for the defense in the final frame. He’ll make it past the velvet rope.

Nazr Mohammed

Nazr Mohammed is Joakim Noah’s backup aka caddy aka baggage handler. He’ll suit up because you can’t coach seven feet. Will he be useful? He may hit a 15 foot jumper at the elbow and foul about four times a game. But with Coach Thibodeau, who knows how many minutes he gets? Theywon’t be valuable if he gets in but, I could be wrong. I just doubt it.

Tony Snell

Thibodeau doesn’t trust rookies. He’ll be watching the game on the bench.


Mike James



Ronnie Brewer

The Bulls brought him in at the end of the season. He should get some burn based on playoff experience and the fact that he knows the system from the old Bench Mob days. He’s got a shot, but a slim one.


Lou Amundson

Anyone got a suit for this guy??? Let’s get him an ID badge! Next!


Jimmer Fredette

Anyone got a suit for this guy??? Let’s get him an ID badge! Next!


The Chicago Bulls really do have a deep bench that is effective and all of these players except Mike James (Let it go Home Slice! Would you retire already?) Ronnie Brewer can spell Jimmy Butler who will need a few minutes rest. Jimmer Fredette can bring some scoring punch off the bench. Lou Amundson is an active big man who can bring energy and play tough defense. Problem is Tom Thibodeau will only use these guys to keep the lay up line even. Randy Wittman will use his bench…often.

Advantage: Wizards

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Tags: Chicago Bulls NBA Playoffs Tom Thibodeau

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