The guard battle has heated up for the Bulls, but in a ‘respectful’ way

The Bulls are no strangers to camp position battles turning ugly, but so far the battle for point guard minutes has been competitive and good for the team.

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Four days into Bulls training camp, there hasn’t been one tense moment between players, let alone a punch thrown.

Yes, it’s still early, but while there’s a lot on the line for guys competing for starting spots and playing time, it’s being done in a respectful way.

“There’s a lot of banging going on,” coach Jim Boylen said. “[Tomas] Satoransky, and you forget about [Ryan Arcidiacono] and Shaq [Harrison], too. Those dudes are tough. The guard play has been fun to watch and competitive. Respectful, but very competitive. I think it has really added to the spirit of our team, of making each other better, or growing as a group, building a team. It’s been great for us.”

The headline competition coming into camp was Kris Dunn and Satoransky vying for the starting point guard job. And rookie Coby White, Harrison and Arcidiacono will all fight for minutes.

“I think going against each other is just going to make us better,” Dunn said. “Everybody on the team is talented. The point guard position is talented. I think it’s just overall going to make us better.”

This is a much different Bulls camp from two years ago, when forward Bobby Portis made national news when he punched Nikola Mirotic. The two came into camp fighting for one starting spot, and neither ended up getting it. Mirotic was out for months because of the damage he suffered in the altercation, while Portis had to serve an eight-game suspension. That opened up the door for Lauri Markkanen to start as a rookie.

PRESEASON REQUIRES A PLAN

Because of the FIBA World Cup delaying the start of training camps around the NBA, the Bulls are already kicking off preseason play Monday when they host the Eastern Conference-favorite Bucks.

Boylen and his players have four games in seven days, then get three days off before hosting the Hawks in the preseason finale. Coaches will want to see as many different looks as they can in the five games.

“We’ll move people around. We’ll change lineups,” Boylen said. “Again, as it progresses, you might see us narrow even the preseason rotation. Some of this has to do with injury and how guys are feeling.

“It’s something we’re going to meet on [Saturday]. I’m also going to meet with [vice president of basketball operations] John [Paxson] and [head trainer] Chip [Schaefer] and lay out kind of a map of the next 10 days, what it’s going to look like.”

LESS THAN WHOLE

In addition to Wendell Carter Jr. (tailbone contusion) missing Friday’s practice, Denzel Valentine had a scheduled rest day, while Harrison (hamstring), Luke Kornet (toe) and Chandler Hutchison (hamstring) were all sidelined.

Hutchison remains the biggest concern. He still has to get back on the court, pass the fitness test and then show he can compete at a high level in practices. Boylen has previously said Hutchison is in doubt for the start of the regular season.

“A hamstring is a difficult injury,” Boylen said. “It’s a trust thing. You’ve got to trust that you can get back into your stance. You’ve got to trust you can extend. And I don’t think he’s there yet. It’s going to be a while.”

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