Chicago Bulls: Don’t be too worried about the new bench mob

Chicago Bulls (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bulls (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls took the floor for the first time in the 2021-2022 regular season.

Billy Donovan’s crew battled through a hard-fought game that didn’t feature much offense aside from Zach LaVine’s 34-point explosion to beat the Detroit Pistons 94-88.

LaVine got extra hot in the third quarter where he scored 15 points, but other than the veteran’s big night, it was fairly tough sledding in terms of any offensive output. DeMar DeRozan shot just under 50 percent from the field and ended with 17 points, but aside from he and LaVine, the rest of the team shot 32.6 percent.

The win is all that matters for right now, and the Bulls are 1-0 heading into a Friday night matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. Their biggest question mark after one game, though, lies in their bench.

The new-look bench mob may take some time to come into shape for the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago’s bench scored just 10 points, between two players, against the Pistons. Alex Caruso shot 1-for-5 and scored three points (although he added three rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks) in 27 minutes.

Meanwhile, rookie Ayo Dosunmu got in on his first regular season action ands cored seven points in 11 minutes on 3-for-8 shooting.

The other Bulls to get minutes off the bench included Javonte Green (15 minutes) Alize Johnson (12 minutes) and Troy Brown Jr. (four minutes).

Donovan’s usage with his reserves was interesting to say the least, mostly because Caruso would be guarding the Pistons’ tallest player at times. Now, the guy proved he could handle it. Caruso may not have contributed much in terms of points, but what he provided was excellent defense and plenty of hustle plays everywhere else.

Caruso is going to be one of the Bulls’ most-used players this year, and he’ll get plenty of run off the bench while being asked to play many different roles. Once Coby White returns, he and Caruso figure to be the main reserves in terms of playing time.

Green’s role will be limited once White is back, thankfully. White is a much better offensive player and should give the Bulls that key spark plug off the bench in terms of scoring.

Dosunmu will likely also take a back seat once White returns, although his development is still important.

As the season goes on, Donovan will likely see what he has in Marko Simonovic and Tony Bradley, both of whom did not play against Detroit. Instead, Donovan went mostly small due to trying to match up well with Detroit.

When the Bulls are at full strength, a bench rotation featuring White, Caruso, Bradley and Johnson seems to make the most sense, with Dosunmu and maybe Simonovic getting in there at times as well.

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For now, Bulls fans can enjoy the win and trust that Donovan knows what he’s doing. Chicago can go 10 deep easily, but Donovan just has to figure out who his go-to guys are off the bench, and he will.