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Open Thread: Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls, Preseason Game 9

The Essentials:

Wizards (19-63 last season) vs. Bulls (41-41)
8:00 p.m.
United Center
TV: None
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Bulls numbers last season

16th in expected winning percentage (.491)
10th in pace (93.1 possessions per game)
15th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (108.4)
18th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.7)

Pre-game links

Blog-A-Bull, SB Nation's Chicago Bulls blog
By The Horns, a Bulls blog
Chicago Bulls Confidential, a Bulls blog and podcast
Chicago Tribune's Full Court Press
Give Me The Rock's season preview
Ball Don't Lie's Bulls preview
Blog-A-Bull's Bulls season preview
ESPN's Experts Preview: Bulls
GameDay Chicago

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Bulls
Gilbert Arenas
PG Kirk Hinrich
Mike Miller SG John Salmons
Caron Butler SF Luol Deng
Fabricio Oberto
PF Tyrus Thomas
Brendan Haywood C Joakim Noah

UPDATE: Thomas is starting, Rose is sitting. Kind of puts a damper on what's below, unfortunately.

Anyone else tired of preseason? Half the games aren't on TV, and Flip Saunders is using this year's preseason like a scientist would use his lab. He's trying a zillion different combinations, and it continues tonight as Fabricio Oberto and Mike Miller get their shot at playing together with the starters (sans Antawn Jamison of course).

Luckily, the preseason ends tonight against Chicago. A couple interesting things are going on with this Bulls team right now that are worth noting. The first is that Derrick Rose hasn't really played much this preseason because he's recovering from an ankle injury. There was talk that he might even miss the season opener, but he practiced yesterday and might play tonight. The other odd thing going on is that Vinny Del Negro is starting Taj Gibson, the 26th pick in this year's draft, over Tyrus Thomas because ... well, I guess Gibson is having a good preseason? I mean, yes, the Wizards are changing their starting lineup every day, but they're all guys who can handle it. Tyrus Thomas, on the other hand, doesn't seem like the type of guy who will respond well to this. As much as that might be a character flaw on Thomas' part, why bring it to the forefront during the preseason just to start your late first-round draft pick that wasn't expected to do much this season?

Del Negro said not to read anything into Gibson starting in the last preseason game, so maybe this is nothing. The problem is, as anyone who knows Thomas' temperament could have guessed, Thomas himself read something into it. So, I ask again, what's the point? I'd be upset if I was Thomas too. It's one thing if Gibson was a veteran who had been in the league for several years, but he's a rookie. He's proven nothing. So why do this?

It honestly reminds me of how Eddie Jordan used to bench Brendan Haywood to try to motivate him. At a certain point, that intention became transparent, and Haywood hated EJ for it. I think Thomas has reached that point too.

Anyway, tip-off's at 8. Hopefully, we don't get hurt and we look good.