In advance of the team’s first preseason game Sunday, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters that rookie big man Wendell Carter Jr. will only play at the center position. Hoiberg says the club won’t entertain the thought of using Carter Jr. at the power forward spot.
Wendell Carter Jr. is exclusively a center for the #Bulls right now. They aren’t entertaining the thought of using him at power forward, Fred Hoiberg says.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) September 30, 2018
Chicago drafted Carter Jr. with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The talented big man, who played his college ball at Duke, finished summer league with averages of 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, shooting 55.1 percent from the field and earning NBA Summer League first team honors.
Carter Jr. showed great patience and footwork while operating in the post during summer league and will add rim protection to the Bulls’ defense. He doesn’t really have a 3-point game, something power forwards in today’s NBA need, so using him as a center makes sense.
Veteran Robin Lopez will likely open the season as the Bulls’ starting center, with Carter Jr. as the next man on the depth chart. Chicago will likely be without second-year forward Lauri Markkanen until Thanksgiving, so the Bulls will need Carter Jr. to step up his game and provide a boost off the bench. Carter Jr. does have a lot of poise for a 19-year-old, so it’s doubtful anything will faze him during his rookie season.