By K.C. Johnson, Tribune reporter
10:39 a.m. CST, December 16, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS -- Speaking before Friday morning's shootaround, coach Tom Thibodeau said Ronnie Brewer would start at shooting guard in the Chicago Bulls' preseason opener against the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Thibodeau added that a determination on whether or not Richard Hamilton makes his Bulls debut would be made later Friday. Thibodeau said he's "not leaning either way" regarding Hamilton.
"Ronnie is starting (Friday), but I also want to see Ronnie with the second unit some," Thibodeau said. "That group played extremely well. We want to look at some different combinations.
"I thought our bench was a great strength for our team last year. They had great chemistry. They can execute, score in transition. They play great defense. They complement each other well. So it is a plus."
Indeed, Thibodeau has hinted at keeping the so-called "Bench Mob" intact, meaning Hamilton eventually could start. Brewer, C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik and Taj Gibson often played together as the second unit last season.
Thibodeau also said rookie Jimmy Butler would play extensively, assuming he avoids foul trouble of course.
"He’s learning how to be a pro," Thibodeau said of Butler. "He has a great demeanor, excellent attitude and approach to the game. He has a lot to learn. But he’s moving in the right direction."
Butler said he's both excited and nervous for his NBA debut.
"It’s always go hard, though," Butler said. "Go hard in practice, go hard in games, go hard in everything you do. Take no possessions off and be a great teammate. Preseason game, practice, shootaround, all of that counts toward going hard."
Thibodeau said the starters would likely play the first 10 minutes straight---again, barring foul trouble---and that the Dec. 25 opener against the Lakers could lead to extended minutes for some.
Derrick Rose likes that, especially since Friday's preseason game is a rematch of last season's brutally physically first-round playoff series.
"Every game we played them was a battle," Rose said. "They hustle throughout the whole game. They have great shooters and chemistry on that team. This will be the same approach. I’m preparing like this is a playoff atmosphere.
"This is like a regular game to us. We’re not approaching it lackadaisical. It’s time to get better. We need chemistry. We got Rip and Jimmy. The starting five haven’t played against somebody new for a very long time. We can use this to our advantage."
Believe me it's to d@mn early in the season (well actually pre-season in this case) but this almost makes me want to do a war cry.
God if we could only get the sound effects of the Indy cars on the overhead again.