Bulls

Rip to make Bulls debut as a spectator, will it end that way?

614438.png

Rip to make Bulls debut as a spectator, will it end that way?

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's just a preseason game, but Friday's matchup between the Bulls and the Pacers will feel like a full-course meal for basketball-starved NBA junkies. Obviously Bulls fans, with a mostly-intact squad returning from last season, are anxious to see whether head coach Tom Thibodeau plays new addition Rip Hamilton.

"We'll see after the shootaround. We're going to sit down. He had a good practice yesterday. We'll see how he feels and then we'll make a decision prior to the game," he said prior to Friday morning's shootaround at Conseco Fieldhouse. "Obviously Ronnie Brewer is going to start tonight. Ronnie's starting at 2. I also want to see Ronnie with the second unit. That group played extremely well together, so we're going to look at some different combinations."

Echoed Hamilton to CSNChicago.com: "Well, we're going to see. I've still got a lot to learn and things like that, so we're going to go out there to shootaround and see how we feel after."

As for Brewer, the selfless swingman told CSNChicago.com that he's willing to do whatever's best for the team.

"I've been working with the first group during training camp. I feel like I've been playing pretty well, but we're just trying to find chemistry," he said. "We had a long break from last year, with the addition of Rip, we're trying to work him in and allow him to learn the plays, and get used to everybody's strengths and weaknesses. It's been a minute since I've started a game, but I'm excited about it. I'll do my best to help any possible way, on offense or defense, or both."

Thibodeau plans to use his team's depth Friday, trying out different combinations, but although Brewer will be in the starting lineup, expect to see him rejoin his "Bench Mob" second-unit group at some point in the contest.

"I've said this before: I thought our bench was a great strength for our team last year. They had great chemistry together, they can execute, they can score in transition, they play great defense. I think they complement each other well, so I think it is a plus," said Thibodeau. "We're not going to play a normal rotation, per se, but they're going to play a good amount of minutes. We have to be ready on the 25th. You don't really know until you see what unfolds in the game either, so if we need to sub earlier, we'll sub earlier."

Additionally, the team's lone rookie, Marquette product Jimmy Butler, should see his first NBA action.

"I want to play Jimmy some, too. I want to see him in action," Thibodeau said about the 6-foot-7 wing. "I think he's learning how to be a pro. He's got a great demeanor. He's got an excellent attitude and approach to the game. He's got a lot to learn and he's moving in the right direction."

All of our 2018 NBA Draft content in one convenient place

dayton.png
USA TODAY

All of our 2018 NBA Draft content in one convenient place

The NBA Draft is upon us. And we've got all of our NBA Draft content in one place for you. How convenient.

Twitter Handles to Follow

@NBCSBulls | @vgoodwill | @MarkSchanowski | @KendallG13 | @Will_Perdue32 | @markstrot

Insider Vincent Goodwill reports

Bulls' interest in Michael Porter Jr. promises to make draft night an eventful one—again

With Trae Young's team workout looming, his trainer clears air on any Bulls rift: 'That's totally false'

Substance, best fit, development, best pick? Observations from the workouts of Wendell Carter Jr. and Mikal Bridges 

Bulls high on Trae Young, Collin Sexton, unafraid to take point guard in draft

Best player or need? Texas' Mohamed Bamba could represent best fit next to Lauri Markkanen 

Trae Young confident in his elite abilities, aware of his detractors: 'My job is to change the narrative' (by Mark Strotman)

Making The Case For Series/Top 10 Scouting Reports

Making The Case For Deandre Ayton

Making The Case For Luka Doncic

Making The Case For Marvin Bagley

Making The Case For Mo Bamba

Making The Case For Michael Porter Jr.

Making The Case For Jaren Jackson Jr.

Making The Case For Trae Young

Making The Case For Wendell Carter Jr.

Making The Case For Mikal Bridges

Making The Case For Collin Sexton

Content from the NBA Draft Combine

Michael Porter Jr: 'I'm the best player in this draft'

Versatility is Wendell Carter Jr's calling card

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

Adaptability, athleticism make Grayson Allen intriguing NBA Draft prospect

After historical season at Oklahoma, Trae Young ready to make immediate impact in NBA

Wichita State's Landry Shamet could give Bulls backcourt versatility they desperately need

Draft news

Need or best player available? John Paxson says Bulls will lean toward latter

Trae Young says he'll only be working out for four teams...and one is the Bulls

John Paxson says Bulls happy with PG depth, hints at looking elsewhere in NBA Draft

NBA Draft-related Podcasts

2018 NBA Draft primer

Mark Schanowski's NBA Buzz

NBA Buzz: Draft night is almost here 

NBA Buzz: Draft intrigue heating up 

NBA Buzz: Pre-draft misinformation season

NBA 'promises' to potential draft picks not unusual

NBA Mock Draft: Who will Bulls select at No. 7?

NBA Draft Tracker: Center Mitchell Robinson

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson only played one season together with the Bulls. But oh, what a memorable campaign it was.

And it produced a friendship that still lasts to this day. Cupcakes and snacks will do just that.

Boozer retold a story to NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday of Robinson and his daughter, Navyi, baking cupcakes for Bulls players on road trips.

"We had so much fun. Me and Nate hit it off right away," Boozer said. "We're both very animated, we're both very loud, we talk a lot, we're great teammates. We love playing passionately, we compete.

"Nate is one of the best teammates I ever had. I played my whole life, I've been playing a long time and he's the only teammate that would bring snacks to every flight. And we'd travel on the road, he would bake us cupcakes for every road game. I never had that before.

"Him and his daughter, Navyi, would bake the cupcakes before every road game. So every road game we'd get to the plane and Nate would hook us up with cupcakes.

"Just a great teammate. He'd go through a brick wall for you, never complained, practice every day, play every day, ready to come and give it his best."

Boozer and Robinson will face off against each other during the Big3 Tournament, which begins this weekend in Houston. The league will travel to Chicago and the United Center on June 29.

"I'm looking forward to being in Chicago," Boozer said. "We've got a lot of great fans out there. I miss the (United Center), miss that Chicagotime summer weather and looking forward to getting back out there in a couple weeks."

Boozer's Ghost Ballers and Robinson's Tri-State team won't square off against one another until Week 5 in Miami. But it's sure to be a fun matchup for the two friends and snack buddies.

"He's one of my brothers, one of my closest friends," Boozer said. "Nate has been training like an animal and he's gonna use this platform to show everybody how much skills he has, also to get back into the NBA. Nate's a great talent and I'm looking forward to seeing him get down."

Boozer's team includes co-captains Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis, which gives them a pretty solid trio heading into the event. But no teammate, NBA or Big3, can match Nate Rob and his cupcakes.

Check out more on the Big3 right here.