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Bulls’ Jabari Parker returning to starting lineup vs. Nuggets

Jabari Parker, Bulls, Nuggets

Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker will make his first appearance in the team’s starting lineup Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Head coach Fred Hoiberg is reportedly fond of the physicality the Chicago native could bring against a tough big man like Paul Millsap, a trait he has been looking to instill in his team after a 25-point beatdown at the hand of the Golden State Warriors on Monday.

“From a matchup standpoint with (Paul) Millsap at the four, that’s one of the more physical players in this league,” said Hoiberg. “So just to get a little bit more size out there and hopefully get off to a better start.”

Jabari Parker entered training camp as the Bulls’ starting small forward, but an injury to Lauri Markkanen shifted the Chicago native to power forward. However, Hoiberg benched Parker for Bobby Portis in the preseason.

Portis began the regular season as the starter at power forward, but a knee injury has sidelined him for at least a month. Hoiberg initially went with rookie Chandler Hutchison in place of Portis, but Hutchison has struggled and would have had a lot of problems with the brawny Millsap.

Chicago is now a mere 2-5 after splitting the last four games, including a two-point win against the Charlotte Hornets and a 12-point victory over the Atlanta Hawks on the road.

Shooting guard Zach LaVine has led the team in scoring in each of the seven games of this season, hopeful to merit the four-year, $78 million extension he signed with the team earlier this summer after the Bulls matched an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings.

Jabari Parker was brought in at an even heftier yearly rate, as the Bulls paid $40 million for two years of his services, though the second year is a team option. His 15.9 points per game are second on the team to LaVine’s 28.1 scoring average, making this change in the lineup a hopeful boost in the scoring department and a sprinkle of toughness for a team that has been outscored by an average of 9.6 points through seven games this season.