Vinny Del Negro is putting Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson into the starting lineup primarily because he saw the Bulls were not getting off to good starts in games. He's trying to get some more focus and energy at the beginning of games. This is not a reflection on Brad Miller or John Salmons. No one expected Brad Miller to play starters' minutes - his role was to come off the bench and spell Joakim Noah or Tyrus Thomas.
It's no secret that John Salmons was struggling with his shot. Bringing John off the bench is a way to get him going and he does provide a scoring threat as part of the 2nd unit.
The next 9 games for the Bulls presents another "critical" stretch for the team. We all thought December would be "critical"...coming off of the West Coast road trip. But with 9 games against a lot of sub-.500 teams, the Bulls have a chance to gain some ground and get back to .500. The Bulls need to beat the teams they are supposed to beat and get some wins at home and this next part of the schedule gives them that opportunity.