The Chicago Bulls dipped below .500 for the season on Monday after giving up a 27-point lead to the Milwaukee Bucks before losing the game, 93-92.
The Bucks fueled their comeback with big contributions from the bench, using 10 players to eventually wear out the Bulls. Chicago leaned heavily on its starters, only using three players off the bench to account for 10 points.
Gone is the "Bench Mob" of the past two seasons for the Bulls with players like C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver teaming up with Taj Gibson to add toughness at both ends of the floor while also giving the starters a rest to bring home wins in the fourth quarter.
One of those starters, forward Luol Deng has noticed the big offseason changes to the bench that appear even more drastic with Derrick Rose sidelined. Following the loss to the Bucks, Deng addressed the frustration but also offered his support for the bench. Deng understands that adding new faces in new roles will take time to develop the types of results fans are used to from the Bulls bench, according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
"We got to find our identity, but it's a totally different year. It's not fair to the guys that are here, the new guys, to be compared to the guys (from) last year. They're still getting used to it," Deng said.
"Even the Bench Mob, the first year we had them, it took a while to get going and when we got going it clicked. And the year after that, last year, what helped us a lot was we had a lot of guys returning so we knew how we play and we knew how to play with each other. We're still learning how to play with each other."