The Chicago Bulls are making sure everyone’s getting playing time … just not in the big leagues.
The two players will practice with the G-League affiliate today in preparation for the team’s first regular-season game tomorrow night in Wisconsin. However, while the Bulls announced that Valentine would remain with the team for their second game on Saturday, there was no such announcement for Gafford.
Daniel Gafford has also been assigned to the @WindyCityBulls. Gafford is expected to practice with Windy City today and remain with the team for its first regular season game at Wisconsin tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/FWT3EaKOli
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 7, 2019
Chances are, the Bulls will plan for Gafford to be back on the bench for Saturday’s contest against the Houston Rockets at the United Center.
… Wait, could this be the Bulls’ way of getting him ready for an appearance in Saturday night’s matchup!? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t mind it.
Head coach Jim Boylen tweaked his rotation last night with Luke Kornet barely seeing the floor. And it’s possible (likely, even) that the only reason Kornet did record a couple of minutes was because of foul trouble for Wendell Carter Jr. The new rotation from Boylen saw a staggered Markkanen and Carter Jr., with Markkanen (obviously) playing a lot more center, pushing the need for Kornet out.
If the Bulls were willing to test out this adjustment, it’s not crazy to think that they might be willing to give Gafford a shot at some real playing time. He did check in late during the game last night, but it was during garbage time and he played only four minutes (similar to his one other appearance against the Raptors).
Either way, whether the Bulls are thinking about throwing Gafford in there or not, it’s important to finally get him some game action. And, hey, maybe he’ll dominate and the Bulls will have even more of a reason to give him a chance.
As for Denzel Valentine, his one appearance this season came during garbage time against the Raptors. With a loaded Bulls backcourt, the opportunity just hasn’t been there for Valentine. He also didn’t help himself during the preseason, shooting only 22 percent from the field and 27 percent from behind the arc.
Anyway, after missing an entire season due to an ankle injury, the Bulls are still trying to figure out exactly what they have with Valentine. Fortunately, that’s what the G-League’s for!