Chicago Bulls Players Who Could Be Losing Playing Time in 2013-14

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Chicago Bulls Players Who Could Be Losing Playing Time in 2013-14
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Perhaps a few members of the Chicago Bulls will see their minutes decrease this coming season.

More than likely, Marquis Teague will not be one of those guys.

True, the point guard out of Kentucky barely played as a rookie last season, logging just 8.2 minutes per game and appearing in 48 contests. Plus, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau usually doesn't rely on rookies, as he lets them sit and watch the veterans. However, Teague's playing time should increase quite a bit in 2013-14 because he's expected to be Derrick Rose's primary backup at point guard.

Don't look for Taj Gibson's minutes to take a hit, either. Chicago certainly needs his defense off the bench, backing up starters Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah

So which players could actually end up losing playing time?

 

Luol Deng

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Small forward Luol Deng is the ultimate workhorse. The two-time All-Star averaged a league-leading 38.7 minutes per game last season, meaning he only sat on the bench for roughly nine minutes a night. He also led the league in that department during the 2011-2012 campaign.

The man needs some rest, and maybe he'll get it this coming season. Chicago signed former Milwaukee Bucks swingman Mike Dunleavy, who should serve as an excellent backup for Deng.

Dunleavy can handle the ball, pass and provide respectable defense off the bench, but shooting is what he does best. Last season, he shot a career-high 42.8 percent from beyond the arc and knocked down 128 three-pointers.   

The Bulls struggled mightily from downtown, ranking just 21st in three-point percentage. So Dunleavy should help out a great deal, possibly replacing specialist Kyle Korver, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks last summer.

Selected by Chicago in this year's NBA Draft, Tony Snell could also see time behind Deng. It's possible that he'll emerge as a valuable "3-and-D" guy right off the bat.

Adding the newcomer duo of Dunleavy and Snell should make it easy for Thibodeau to cut Deng's minutes in 2013-14. C'mon Thibs, give Lieutenant Deng a much-needed break.   

 

Joakim Noah

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Like Deng, Joakim Noah received a ton of playing time last season. He averaged a whopping 36.8 minutes per game (16th-most in the Association).

Also like Deng, Noah needs his minutes reduced a bit. He has battled plantar fasciitis, so it would be wise to get as many breathers as possible.   

Many fans wanted the Bulls to select Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng in this year's draft. But, of course, that didn't happen. That's a shame, because he could've served as the perfect backup for Noah.

Instead, the Bulls will have to settle for Nazr Mohammed, who was re-signed during the offseason. Although he's not a fantastic offensive player, Mohammed can make an impact on the defensive end.

Former Miami Heat center Dexter Pittman will join Chicago's training camp. If he makes the roster, he can team with Mohammed and Taj Gibson to give the Bulls enough big bodies for Noah to rest.

The Bulls will enter the 2013-14 season as one of the league's top teams. They have a realistic chance at capturing their first title since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were around during the '90s. However, they won't win championship No. 7 if Noah isn't able to participate.

So hopefully Thibodeau doesn't overplay his All-Star center and keeps him fresh for the postseason.    

 

Kirk Hinrich

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kirk Hinrch was signed by the Bulls last summer to replace the injured Derrick Rose. Rose, as everybody knows, missed the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from ACL surgery.

Hinrich would do a solid job as Chicago's starting floor general, averaging 7.7 points and 5.2 assists in nearly 30 minutes per game. However, his playing time will certainly shrink with Rose's return to action this coming season. He'll head to the bench and back up Rose as well as starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler.

This summer, the Bulls lost guard Nate Robinson via free agency to the Denver Nuggets. While Hinrich can't replace Nate Rob's scoring, he knows how to play hard-nosed defense, which is what the Bulls are all about.

Check out this video of Hinrich's chase-down block on the Cleveland Cavaliers' C.J. Miles:

Does that make you ask yourself, "Was that Hinrich or LeBron James?" Speaking of James, watch Captain Kirk tackle him (sort of) during a matchup with the Miami Heat last season:

Hinrich's tough; that's why he's a fan favorite in the Windy City. Still, look for his minutes to decrease to about 24 per game.

  

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