After forward Lauri Markkanen missed Wednesday's practice to rest quad tendinitis in his right leg, coach Fred Hoiberg said the Bulls staff is focused on trying to keep the rookie from Finland fresh.
"We do have to be careful and use common sense with his minutes, make sure we don't overwork or overload him," Hoiberg said before Thursday's practice. "He did play almost 40 against New Orleans (last Saturday) due to the overtime, where we felt we had to have him out there. But we want to be careful in the early stages of his career."
So far, Markkanen has averaged 32.6 minutes, with the high of 40. Discarding Bobby Portis' one-game average, Markkanen is the Bulls' top scorer (15.8 points) and rebounder (8.2).
"Obviously it is an adjustment for everybody coming to this level. He has handled it beautifully to this point, especially after the summer he had," Hoiberg said. "He went right from the summer league to EuroBasket and played a ton of minutes in a stressful environment. Then he was basically thrown right into training camp."
Butler keeps talking:
Jimmy Butler expanded on his comments about the Bulls basically having to choose between him and coach Fred Hoiberg.
"Everybody knows me and Fred had some riffraff," Butler told USA Today. "We didn't agree on many things. And I think eventually everybody was like, 'Yo, they're either going to build the team around Jimmy, or they're going to go the route with Fred, the up-and-down, shoot a lot of 3s.
"That's what I was saying (in an interview with ESPN), that it was either, 'We're going to build the team around me for a little bit and allow me to distribute the basketball, ISO in pick and roll. Or you go with Fred -- go up and down, shoot a lot of 3s, that type of stuff. That spread type -- kind of Golden State-esque, you know what I mean? They went that route, and that's all I'm saying, and that's fine."
Butler would probably acknowledge the reasons for the Bulls rebuild are more complicated than that, but there was a clash in styles when the Bulls had Butler and Dwyane Wade last year, compared to the up-tempo ball movement game plan Hoiberg touted when he was hired.
If all goes well, both Robin Lopez (sore knee) and forward Lauri Markkanen (right quad tendinitis) could be available to play Friday against Indiana. … With several players missing practice this week, the Bulls brought in guard Ryan Arcidiacono to add another player to Thursday's session.