Hoiberg praises Grant for accepting limited role

 
 
Updated 3/4/2018 6:45 PM
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  • The Bulls wanted to get a better look at their younger guys after the all-star break, but guard Jerian Grant, 25, is one of the players who went to the bench. Coach Fred Hoiberg talked about that scenario on Sunday.

    The Bulls wanted to get a better look at their younger guys after the all-star break, but guard Jerian Grant, 25, is one of the players who went to the bench. Coach Fred Hoiberg talked about that scenario on Sunday. Associated Press file photo

Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday were the obvious odd men out when the Bulls decided to emphasize playing the younger guys after the all-star break.

Guard Jerian Grant, who is 25, was also sent to the bench, though. Since the break, he's played in two games for a total of nine minutes.

"Yeah, it's tough," coach Fred Hoiberg said Sunday. "I've admired how Jerian has handled this, because it's not easy. He's played roles for us this year. With Kris Dunn out for that month, he was our starting point guard and I thought he did a solid job for us and he played really well as the backup.

"I think a big part of this right now is we're giving Cam Payne a look, we're trying to see what he can do with extended minutes in consecutive games. So Jerian's the guy right now that suffers from that. He's handled it great, he's been positive, he's coming in and getting extra work and he's keeping himself ready for opportunities like he had the other night."

Grant played six minutes against Dallas because David Nwaba picked up two early fouls. Grant scored 4 points while on the floor.

Payne gets the point:

Since getting back on the court after recovering from foot surgery, Cameron Payne has hit just 2 of 14 shots from 3-point range. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg thinks Payne can do better, but is more concerned about other skills.

"He's got to look to get in the paint and make plays," Hoiberg said. "I'll say this, I thought Cam did a nice job of playing solid basketball (against Dallas on Friday). He didn't score a lot of points, but he had a couple of good deflections defensively that got us out in transition.

"We need Cam getting downhill into the paint. He's one of our better guards as far as throwing ahead. I've been really pleased with Cam in doing that, but again, he does need to have some aggressiveness on the offensive end."

Hoiberg said he wants Payne to be ready to shoot the 3 when defenders go under screens and not settle for contested 2-point shots once the defender has caught up.

Nwaba stays put:

David Nwaba will remain in the starting lineup at small forward. Since becoming the starter after the All-Star break, he's averaged 12.4 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds.

"He's one of our better straight-line drivers and also can get that thing off the glass and push it in transition," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He's playing within himself, David always does that. His 3-point shot, he's actually leading us in 3-point percentage (5 for 8 in the last five games)."

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