Bulls forward Javonte Green brings instant energy off the bench

The reserve player is becoming a fan favorite early in the season, but Zach LaVine said he took notice of Green’s “dog mentality” last March, when he was acquired.

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The “MVP … MVP” chants started early in the Bulls’ home opener Friday, showering Zach LaVine when he stood at the free-throw line. But they also went in Alex Caruso’s direction.

When Lonzo Ball was asked if it was a bit too early for the chant to start, especially for Caruso, he smirked and said, “Hey, man, he’s got my support.’’

While LaVine has been a fan favorite for years, and Caruso is on the rise, don’t discount how Javonte Green has been embraced by the Bulls’ faithful since the versatile wing got the starting nod over a then-injured Patrick Williams in the preseason.

LaVine said Green has been a favorite of his since he came over in a trade-deadline deal last March.

“That’s my dog right there,’’ LaVine said. “He brings that dog mentality to the game, do whatever for the team, sacrifice his body, run the floor, do all the dirty work. Great guy on and off the floor. His energy is infectious.’’

And some of his dunks have been ridiculous. LaVine said what the team has seen from Green in games is what he does all the time in practice.

“He damn near does dunk everything in practice,’’ LaVine said.

What really matters to the starters is that Green — like most of the second unit — pushes them in practice and brings energy in games.

“[Green is] one of the biggest energy guys we have,’’ Ball said. “Not only running the lane but playing defense. He can guard a lot of different positions, and he uses his hands very well, as well. We definitely feed off of that when he comes into the game.’’

That’s why Green could be a key reserve moving forward. He’s a great defender and can guard multiple positions, but he also has shown that he works well with the starters if there’s an injury or a lineup change.

“The one thing with Javonte, when he is in the game, you just feel him with the way he flies around, challenges shots, he runs the floor, slashes, gets on the glass,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. “You can just feel him out there.

“I trust his energy, and I trust his motor. The thing with him is he plays to who he is. He doesn’t try to do things he can’t do or he’s not good at, but what he is good at is playing with great urgency.’’

Getting picky

Donovan said he’s looking for ways to get Williams involved in the offense, and the second-year forward offered a suggestion, pointing out all the pick-and-rolls he worked on over the summer.

“That was one of the things that me and the player-development and coaching staff worked on this summer,’’ Williams said. “I felt super confident in summer league. It’s a matter of getting in those positions.’’

Rotation roulette

Donovan said he feels good about the way he has used his rotations throughout the preseason and the first three regular-season games. But he cautioned that there shouldn’t be too much made of them.

Undersized Alize Johnson has been used more than Tony Bradley as the backup center. Donovan also has gone back and forth with Ayo Dosunmu and Troy Brown Jr. Expect it to continue to be a work in progress.

“We’re going to need all these guys,’’ Donovan said. “During the course of a season, different things happen. You’re always trying to tinker to make the group better. Sometimes the personnel you’re playing against can also have a lot to do with dictating rotations.’’

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