Among the many things we don't know about the Bulls, who open their season tonight against Milwaukee at the United Center, is exactly what lineup Vinny Del Negro is planning on using. The entire preseason has been a constantly shifting amoeba of guards and injuries and Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose. People have started, and then sat, and vice versa. It's been more than a little confusing.
Last night, the one thing we knew about Del Negro's lineup was that it would feature Rose from the outset. Today, we know two things: Thabo Sefalosha will be joining Rose in the starting backcourt. You read that right: Thabo Sefalosha.
Without making a mountain out of a molehill, this means a couple of things:
1. As my dear colleague Tom Fornelli wrote last night, it means that Stacey King will get to scream "Sef-o-low-sha!" a bunch more. That's always awesome.
2. At this point, Del Negro is just winging it.
I mean, really. Sefalosha looks like an OK player, but he's had a decent run for two years and has yet to make any meaningful impact on a wide-open Bulls team. Hinirch and Gordon are both better players (though Gordon is currently a little banged-up).
Fortunately, Vinny has the luxury of being a new coach with a young team. He can mess with lineups a bit, play around, and figure out what works and what doesn't. The season's long, and there's time. But he doesn't have forever. Basketball is, as Michael Lewis might say, a tightly strung economy, and maximizing resources within that five-person economy is paramount. Is Thabo Sefalosha the best the Bulls can do? Probably not. Which is why Del Negro needs to get it figured out, and fast.
In Milwaukee, eyes are on Richard Jefferson as the Bucks' agent of change.