The front office of the Chicago Bulls supports Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy of doling out big minutes to star players.
Luol Deng leads the NBA with an average of 38.7 minutes a game while Joakim Noah (36.8) is also over 35 minutes a game. Derrick Rose, likely out for the season while recovering from a torn ACL, also has been near the top of the leaderboard in minutes played.
Gar Forman said the Bulls have an analytics department and that minutes played in correlation with injuries is studied.
‘‘It’s hard to generalize,’’ Forman said. ‘‘Different players’ minutes will affect [things in] different ways, so it’s hard to generalize that assumption in whole. We have studied that. I mean, different body types, different years, how many years you’ve played, the age, all those things are factored in.’’
Forman is fully behind how Thibodeau hands out playing time.
‘‘In our scenario, Tom paces the team throughout the year, and we think he does a good job at that,’’ Forman said.
Thibodeau has heard the complaints that he relies on his stars too much.
‘‘What people have to understand is it all depends on where you are with your team, whether you’re a young team or an old team,” Thibodeau said. “How you pace your team is important. . . . I mean, if you look at Tim Duncan, everybody talks about him now, but when he was younger, he was playing 41 minutes a game. You look at [Michael] Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen, they were big-minutes guys. That was always intended in Phil [Jackson’s] coaching — to always keep two of his three best players on the court at all times. Each team is different.’’