Zach LaVine is taking contact in practice, with his debut expected in December or early January at the latest. David Nwaba tested in practice Monday the right ankle he severely sprained Nov. 4.

But even when the Bulls get to full strength, Denzel Valentine is carving out a rotational role with his recent play.

The second-year guard scored 14 points and had career highs of 13 rebounds and seven assists in Sunday’s loss to the Heat. Valentine also is up to 43.1 percent from 3-point range.

“You see how much offense we do run through Denzel,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s better when he doesn’t have to bring the ball down the floor, when he can get the ball with a live bounce. He’s doing a good job with his hesitation. He’s hitting the little floater in the paint. And he’s making the right play, whether it’s a drop-off or kick-out. His decision-making is getting better. He’s taking fewer bad shots.”

Valentine is averaging 28.2 minutes, 11.1 more than last season. He credits his improved decision-making with the uptick in playing time.