Scott Brooks explains why Isaac Bonga didn't play vs. Bulls

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Scott Brooks explains why Issac Bonga didn't play vs. Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In the four games Rui Hachimura missed due to a severe eye infection, Wizards forward Isaac Bonga started each one of them. 

On Thursday night, Bonga didn't play at all. Throughout his tenure in D.C., he has been one of the better perimeter defenders on the roster. Yet, on a night where the opposition thrived from behind the arc and dropped 133 points, he didn't see the floor once. 

"You got to pick somebody," head coach Scott Brooks said postgame of the decision to not play Bonga. "I thought Rui came in and did a good job. We're trying to find minutes for Troy (Brown Jr.) and Bonga, and tonight it was Troy, but who knows who it will be tomorrow night."

At first glance at the box score, it does seem like quite the fall from grace for Bonga in these early season days. But with a fascinating look inside Brooks' thinking of how he plans to stagger playing time between Bonga and Brown makes the depth chart a bit clearer. 

While it's evidently not decided who will start tomorrow night's contest against the Timberwolves in Minnesota, Brooks doesn't appear prepared to play both Bonga and Brown when Hachimura is healthy. But with Russell Westbrook likely resting out of the Wizards' second night of their back-to-back, there might be some opportunity for Brooks to experiment with some larger lineups. 

In his third NBA season, Bonga averaged 5.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in a shade under 18 minutes per game in his four starts. Having played 66 games during the 2019-20 season, and starting 47 of them, Bonga likely won't be out of the lineup every game. 

Whatever is the case, Brooks and company need to figure out the personnel that best gives Washington the chance to end this winless streak to start the season.