After the Chicago Bulls lost by four points to the Houston Rockets, coach Tom Thibodeau commented that he was “looking at a lot of things.” This was interpreted as him looking to change the starting lineup for the Bulls. On Friday, Coach Thibodeau said that he will not change the lineup saying that the Bulls “were fine.”
Tonight, they face the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee and the question is, why would Thibodeau not change the lineup? The Bulls are 5-6 and have struggled in almost every aspect of the game the last few games. They have trouble shooting the long ball, trouble on defense, trouble closing out the fourth quarter and trouble starting off games. With all these troubles, changing the starting lineup might be a better idea than he is attesting to.
Right now, Chicago’s starting five consists of: Kirk Hinrich, Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. These five players have started all the games (except for Hinrich who has been injured for several) and until late, have looked like a formidable unit. But after suffering three losses in a row, maybe it’s time for a small change.
Thibodeau has the pieces to substitute in; high scorer Nate Robinson would be a good player to start the game at the point, and newly contracted Taj Gibson might be exactly what Chicago needs to start games off hot and continue to play with intensity and suffocating defense like they were.
Starting positions are earned, and at any given time no player should feel complacent with it. A key motivational piece for players is the risk of losing your starting position or become a bench reserve. If Thibodeau makes necessary adjustments it can spark the players who have the opportunity to start to play as best as possible. And it will send a message to the starters who got replaced that they were not playing well enough to sustain a starting role and that they need to improve.
Basketball is not about the same routine every single night and by mixing it up, Coach Thibodeau may find the right formula to solve the woes that the Bulls are having as of late. If it doesn’t fix anything all he has to do is swap a few players in and out and everything will be back to the way it was. But after seeing the Bulls loose three games in a row, it might be time to move away from “the way it was.”