CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg had no idea how the experiment would work or how long it would last.
With the team losing yet another player to injury when Bobby Portis went on the shelf with a sprained right medial collateral ligament, Hoiberg put rookie Chandler Hutchison in the starting role.
Hoiberg admitted that he considered moving Jabari Parker into a starting role.
“I like Jabari’s role right now, scoring off the bench, playmaking off the bench,’’ Hoiberg said. “I feel like he and Archie [backup point guard Ryan Arcidiacono] have a good chemistry going out there on the floor right now. So I thought that was a big reason just to keep Jabari in his current role.
“We’ll have to evaluate it game-by-game, but again I just like the rhythm that Jabari is in right now. I thought he was really good in the last game [against the Hornets] as a playmaker. I thought he did a really good job of getting into the paint and making the right play. [He] gives us a chance to get two really young guys out there in the lineup. It’s a good opportunity for their growth. Again, it doesn’t matter who is on the floor. We’ve got to go out there and play with great effort. That has to be the constant for our team.’’
That meant not only were the Bulls starting a rookie in Hutchinson, but they also had 19-year-old Wendell Carter Jr. begin the game at power forward.
It’s not exactly a lineup that will keep the Warriors up late at night, especially with them coming to town Monday.
“Well, the first thing that Fred talked about really was no one was going to feel sorry for us,’’ Hutchison said of the locker-room mentality in the wake of all the injuries. “Things like this happen, and it doesn’t change our mindset that we still have to compete and play really hard to get a win, no matter who is playing, who’s not playing, because you never know. Anyone can still beat anyone if you play hard.
“It doesn’t change from our aspect other than the next guy is up, ready to fill that role.’’
But even Hutchison is surprised with the number of injuries. Besides Portis, Lauri Markkanen (right elbow), Kris Dunn (left MCL) and Denzel Valentine (left ankle) are sidelined.
“It’s kind of crazy the way everything has gone down this early in the season for us, but [we’re] just staying ready,’’ Hutchinson said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are staying ready, and the coaches decided I was the next guy up in that rotation, so gotta take advantage of it.’’
Markkanen could be the first to return. Valentine’s status remains uncertain, and Portis and Dunn are out four-to-six weeks.