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CHICAGO — The tanking is on in the Windy City.
Chicago Bulls executive vice president John Paxson spoke with reporters after practice Tuesday and revealed that the team will be suiting up players who haven’t been playing much this year in an effort to evaluate some of the younger guys on the club.
In other words, the Bulls are fully embracing their youth movement, aka “tanking.”
“I had mentioned before the break that we were going to be evaluating direction,” Paxson told reporters at the Advocate Center. “The hard part from our standpoint is you can’t play 12 guys in our game. 9 or 10 is the most. We’re going to start looking at blocks of games where we’ll be having a few guys who haven’t been playing much or at all have a significant role.”
Veterans Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, who have started each game this season for the Bulls, will be replaced in the starting lineup by Cristiano Felicio and David Nwaba, per Paxson. The two will start alongside Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen on Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“The whole goal in our position is to evaluate what we have on this roster,” Paxon added. “Seeing some of our young guys play consistently, we’ve learned a lot about them. The hard thing when you do things like this is you’re asking certain people to sacrifice roles and minutes. And oftentimes, it’s veteran guys. That’s what we’re asking some of our vets to do right now — sacrifice some time on the floor and roles they’ve been very good in. That’s never an easy thing. As I just told them, I, along with Gar (Forman), we’re entrusted with the future of the organization. So these last 25 games, we’re going to evaluate what we have on this roster by playing more the guys we haven’t seen much this year.”
The Bulls are currently 20-37 on the season, sitting at the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference standings.