During Monday’s Media Day, Jim Boylen spoke often and proudly about his team’s versatile skill set (literally calling everyone “ballers”), and he’s already putting that verbiage to the test.
Check out the latest from NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson:
Nevertheless, Boylen tried to put a positive spin on the situation after Tomas Satoransky revealed he spent time in a lineup with Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Otto Porter Jr. and Markkanen. That means Markkanen played center.
“I do have probable lineups on my board and we’ve talked about it and (Tuesday) it just kind of happened in real time, which was good. We get to see that. Now we’ll watch that film and we’ll coach to that. We do different things when Lauri’s at 5 than when Wendell’s at 5. But it’s within the same system.”
When you think about it, this seems like a pretty solid group defensively, right? With Satoransky, LaVine, and Dunn on the court at once, you’ll have the benefit of three fast guards, without jeopardizing a mismatch (with the six-foot-seven frame of Satoransky guarding whoever’s at the three).
In this situation, Zach LaVine has the benefit of playing alongside two quicker players that could make up for his lackluster defense. Considering the injury to Chandler Hutchison (and the general lack of depth at small forward to begin with), seeing this trio together so early on in training camp isn’t at all surprising.
The front-court duo of Porter and Markkanen, on the other hand, is making me think. Originally, I pegged Thaddeus Young as the fit to play power forward while Markkanen took control under the basket. Young would make this a better defensive/rebounding lineup, but Porter actually allows for a nice balance across the court. Not only does Porter have his fair share of experience playing the position, but he certainly opens up the floor more offensively.
In this lineup, Porter, Markkanen, Satoransky, and even LaVine are all solid spot-up shooters. In fact, this lineup included four of the top-five players in three-point shooting percentage on this current roster (based on 2018-19 numbers). It’s never worth getting hung up on one lineup, but it’s nice to see the Bulls already demonstrating the versatile and positionless basketball approach that Boylen has been preaching the entire offseason.
Maybe we’ll now see Lauri playing point guard! I kid, I kid … (maybe).