If Tony Snell needed yet another reminder of how far he’s fallen in the Bulls pecking order, it came on Friday.
With Jimmy Butler (left knee) and Derrick Rose (groin) each sidelined with injuries, first-year coach Fred Hoiberg opted to start recently acquired Justin Holiday.
“I think the biggest thing is we’ve been pleased with Justin,’’ Hoiberg said of the decision. “He’s gone out there and competed defensively. He’s made good simple plays on offense. He got outside of himself on a couple possessions [Thursday], but he’s been a really pleasant surprise. He’s been smart on the defensive end of the floor.
“We didn’t have a lot of film on him with his time in Atlanta. He wasn’t getting many minutes. But we liked what we’ve seen so far. He competes, he gets after it, and hopefully he plays well the rest of the season.’’
Holiday, who was undrafted out of Washington, came over in the Kirk Hinrich deal with the Hawks, and has gone from throw-in to rotation player.
Meanwhile, Snell, who was the 20th overall pick in the 2013 draft, went three straight games without even seeing the floor, before being called on late in the first quarter against Miami.
Not that it’s a trend that hadn’t been building. Snell was averaging 22.7 minutes per game in December, and has dropped each month since, averaging 17 minutes a game since Mar. 1.
Coincidentally, former coach Tom Thibodeau played Snell 19.6 minutes per game last season, and was criticized for not giving Snell more time.
While no one in the organization would dare call Snell a bust yet, he’s definitely being treated like a player who was overvalued on draft day.
“Tony will get his opportunities,’’ Hoiberg said. “There’s no doubt about it. Tony has been out of the lineup, and gone back in and played his way back into the lineup. With the way we are right now as far as bodies, Tony will most likely get opportunities.’’
After a lengthy stint back in New York City for his season-ending shoulder rehabilitation, Joakim Noah rejoined the team on Friday, and plans on staying with the Bulls until the end of the basketball year.
The Bulls were glad to have him.
“Jo is one of those guys that lights up the room,’’ Hoiberg said. “Everyone that saw him, got a big hug from Jo. He’s just so much energy. It will be great to have him back. He’ll be here the rest of the season. He won’t travel with us with his rehab with what he’s going to continue to do with that.
“Same timeframe with Jo, and it’s great to have him back in town.’’