Should Chicago Bulls Consider A Lineup Change?


The Chicago Bulls definitely haven’t had the start to this season that they would’ve liked, and there could be some changes coming as a result. Joakim Noah coming off the bench was always going to be a risky move, and it hasn’t paid off for Fred Hoiberg quite yet.

He could try playing Noah at power forward in the future, and it might happen sooner rather than later. The other option if the head coach wants Joakim in the lineup is benching Pau Gasol, but that could leave the Bulls completely devoid of a post presence. It has been rumored that Hoiberg could even try a change in Monday night’s game, although that hasn’t been officially announced.

“We’ve thought a lot about it,” the head coach said to the Chicago Tribune. “When you’ve had the inconsistencies that we’ve had early on in the season, you think a lot about those things. Maybe if you do change the lineup, it’s more to change the rhythm of a guy. It’s not necessarily a demotion or anything like that. It’s just to change the overall rhythm.”

Nikola Mirotic is likely to be the guy benched if the Bulls do this soon, and it is easy to see why. Before Monday, he had missed 12 out of his last 13 3-pointers, and he was shooting a dreadful percentage (30.7) from the field in the last four games. The young power forward has admitted that his play isn’t where it needs to be. He should see the writing on the wall here if his struggles continue.

“It’s not a good week for me and the team,” Mirotic said. “But it’s not the end of the world. I just need to keep working. I have another chance to play well (vs. the 76ers).”

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The Bulls are entering a crucial stretch of their season, because the race for Eastern Conference supremacy is just starting. A few wins could completely change their seeding when the playoffs come, and a few losses could put them on a dangerous path towards possibly even missing the postseason. That isn’t a likely scenario, but it would be a doomsday scenario for many fans in the Windy City. Chicago definitely didn’t think their team would be getting embarrassed by squads like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets this year. Those aren’t exactly squads with elite talent, although Minnesota does have some interesting young players who could grow into superstars. The point, though, is these are games the Bulls are expected to win and that just makes it concerning to consider how they will fare later this season against teams they are supposed to lose against.

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We’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks, but the Bulls clearly need to adjust something going forward. Their defensive intensity has been somewhat of a joke, and Noah would certainly help them on that end. It might clog up the offense, but their offensive rating (97.0) before Monday night’s game was only 23rd best in the league. That isn’t exactly stellar, and it might be better for them to just focus on defense.