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Bulls to start Jabari Parker against Nuggets

Jabari Parker will make his first start Wednesday night when the Bulls host the Denver Nuggets.

Parker is averaging 15.9 points off the bench in the Bulls’ first seven games. After Wednesday’s shootaround, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg explained why Parker is getting his first start at power forward, likely in place of rookie Chandler Hutchison.

“The big thing is, from a matchups standpoint with (Paul) Millsap out there at the 4, it’s one of the more physical players in this league, so this is to get a little bit more size out there and hopefully get off to a better start tonight,” Hoiberg said.

Parker’s first seven games with his hometown Bulls have been a mixed bag. He’s been productive offensively but his defense has been called into question, as he has a 119.6 defensive rating and was beaten by Detroit’s Ish Smith for a game-winning layup. Initially, Parker didn’t appear to welcome coming off the bench, and then Friday in Charlotte he seemed to criticize associate coach Jim Boylen, who is in charge of the Bulls’ defense.

Markkanen update
At the end of the shootaround, Hoiberg was seen chatting with the injured Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen suffered a right elbow injury during a Sept. 27 practice, hasn’t played yet this season and is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.

As for what the two were talking about… it didn’t involve basketball.

“We were talking about fishing,” Hoiberg deadpanned.

Hoiberg did go on to say Markkanen is doing some straight-ahead running on a track instead of a treadmill or riding a bike.

“He feels good. He doesn’t have any pain with that,” Hoiberg said. “He’s still a couple weeks away from really doing anything as far as contact is concerned, but it is good to see him upping his activity.”

There is no target date for Markkanen’s season debut.

Hoiberg had no update on Denzel Valentine (left ankle).