The Chicago Bulls exited the playoffs in the second round in 4-1 series against the Heat. Throughout the playoffs it seemed like every time had one thing in common, except the Bulls. That one thing was the presence and threat of a three-point shooter on the outside. We saw throughout the entire playoffs as their was at least 1-2 threats on each team that could guaranteed knock down the three-ball at any given moment in any game. It seems like the final games of the NBA Finals came down to three-point shooting, as Ray Allen hit a clutch 3 in the final moments of game 6 which led his team on to victory. Lebron James also had a few 3 point shots in game 7 and a clutch one in game 6. The Bulls front office sees this and see that they were 21st in the NBA in 3PT%. They had a goal in mind going into the off-season.
FITTING KEY PIECES INTO A DYNASTY
The Chicago Bulls best three point shooters in the 2012-2013 season had to be Marco Bellinelli, Nate Robinson and Luol Deng who can also hit the three. They went into the 2013 NBA Draft knowing that they may lose 2 of those players. We all expected them to draft a big man early like, Gorgui Dieng or Jeff Withey but just like the Bulls, their drafting and free agency pick ups are unpredictable. Instead they drafted a player that we all haven’t even thought of.
Tony Snell, SG, 6″6 out from the New Mexico Lobos, was drafted at the 20th pick in the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. Now although many fans were upset they did not get the pick they hoped in Dieng, seeing Tony Snell’s highlights threw that out the picture a bit. Many analyst believe he may be the steal of the draft, just like the Bulls draft pick from 2 years ago in Jimmy Butler at the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Just like Jimmy, Snell is a solid defender with a long wing span. Tony Snell has good ball handling and Bulls GM Gar Forman suggested at 6″6 that Snell can actually run the point sometime. Forman said:
“In Tony’s case, we saw a guy that could be a secondary handler,” Forman said. “That would push it out in transition. That could play off pick-and-roll some. That would even play some point guard and initiate offense out front.”
Tony Snell is also a good free throw shooter and can knock down the the perimeter shot. He’s not that great at creating his own shot but he can put the ball on the floor. GM Gar Forman and the Bulls got the pick that they wanted and they also got what they need, a solid shooter and ball handler. Also a person who they don’t have to sacrifice on the defensive end just to create offense for their team. Many comparing him to his high school teammate Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard is one of the keys of the Spurs making it to the finals with his energetic play. Hopefully Snell can get out there and adjust to the NBA style of play in time for him to develop and see the floor more. Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague (2012 NBA Draft Pick 30th to the Chicago Bulls) did not see many minutes their rookie seasons. Knowing Thibs, Teague may see more minutes this upcoming season and he is a great defender and can get to the basket. Depending on if he step up his game more and if Kirk Hinrich is as we predict “injury prone” then we may see even more of Jeff Teague. That’s if the Bulls don’t bring in another Point Guard like rumors has it that their in pursuit of Point guards: Will Bynum and Mo Williams. Many believe the Bulls should get a big man that can shoot the ball. Well they drafted one, and knowing he’s a Florida Gator just like all-star center Joakim Noah. He may be here to stay.
Erik Murphy, 6″9, University of Florida, likes to compare himself to a mixture of the San Antonio Spurs center Matt “The Red Rocket” Bonner and Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Like those two players, Murphy has a perimeter shot out of this world. At 6″9 1/2 he can shoot lights out from beyond the arc. The Bulls drafted Murphy at the 49th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and knowing that he’s a Florida Gator and that the Bulls all-star center in Joakim Noah is as well and also Noah’s energy. You can already bet Noah was excited to hear this and called up Murphy. Erik Murphy talked with K.C Johnson of the Chicago Tribune and spoke about Joakim Noah’s excitement stating “Finally, he called me and we were both pretty fired up, He was more fired up, but we were both pretty happy.” Joakim Noah spends time in the Bulls off-season and visits Gainesville Florida. There is where Murphy and the other Gators meet the guy that led the Gators to back-to-back NCAA Titles 5 years earlier. K.C Johnson reports on what Murphy had to say: “He says nothing but good things about the Bulls,” Murphy said. “They obviously have great players, a great coach and great history. It’s an honor to be selected by them.” The Bulls filled in another need in Murphy by getting a stretch-forward who can step back behind the arc and knock down the three-ball. Hopefully Murphy can stick around in Chicago, being as he can fill a need in the Bulls roster and also adds another cheap contract to the cap, the Bulls can use him for the time being. Seeing as they really didn’t have a stretch forward at all in the past seasons. Erik Murphy later took to twitter to express that he was excited to be a Bull, also that he had to choose the jersey number 31, because a all-time great of the Bulls in Scottie Pippen wore 33.
Bulls seem like they were not done there. Needing to bring in a veteran player that can give them offense and also knock down the 3. They always had that offensive threat in Kyle Korver for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 season, but lost him in Free Agency in the 2012 offseason. So they signed Shooting guard Marco Bellinelli for the 2012-2013 season. Now Marco can create his own shot and put the ball on the floor if need to and attack the rim. The odds of them bringing back Marco are possibly a no as well. So off to the free agency list the Bulls go and they got a player who was about excited about all the attention from the Bulls as he was about playing with Former MVP and superstar guard Derrick Rose. Mike Dunleavy Jr. the 32 year old 6″10 forward who averaged 43% from behind the arc. Dunleavy shot a better percentage than Bellinelli and his Stats were all around better. The good thing about Dunleavy is that at 6″10, he can dribble and also run the pick and roll. Most importantly is that he can be a ball-handler on the floor and play the shooting guard position as well as the small forward and power forward as a stretch forward. Mike Dunleavy Jr. is a A+ pick up for the Bulls right now because he fill in so many needs. He not soft on the defensive end either although he can be harder on the glass.
The Bulls decided to bring back a well-respected player in the NBA. They previously signed Nazr Mohammed in the 2012-2013 season and liked his effort and play. Nazr Mohammed was born and raised in Chicago and also liked playing for his hometown team. He tweeted that he will be returning to the Bulls for the 2013-2014 season! Now Nazr Mohammed may return to the Bulls playing a reserve role being if the Bulls sign another big man to back up Joakim Noah off the bench. Seeing as Noah as battled plantar fasciitis in the past couple of seasons. The Bulls may need a better back up center than Nazr Mohammed. The good news is, we can hear Bulls Commentator Stacey King use his line “Don’t do him like that Big Naz!” another year.
Not willing to pay another $5Million dollars for a player who has played the two worst years of his career as a Chicago Bull. The Bulls decide not to resign veteran shooting guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton. This move is a good one for the Bulls because Rip Hamilton seems to be injury prone and sacrifices a lot on the other end with his weak defense. Although he’s one of the greatest moving shooters in the NBA, Hamilton time in Chicago is up. On July 10th the Bulls will get a total of $1Million dollars back in salary.
The Bulls may trade Dunleavy before the 2014-2015 season seeing as his contract may interfere with signing a great player in the 2014 Free-agency. Cutting ties with Rip Hamilton is a good move towards the future instead of paying a man to have another worst season of great career.
Hopefully the Bulls can see the need of a post threat. The Miami Heat is weak against a post scorer and the Bulls should look in on PF. Elton Brand. Elton Brand’s career with the Chicago Bulls was cut short by Jerry Krause’s greed, but the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft will go down as one of the Bulls’ best picks in history. Brand rookie season he averaged 20.1 points per game and averaged 10 rebounds and captured the rookie of the year award. Making a move to resign guard Marco Bellinelli will also be a good move for the Bulls, he can bring scoring off the bench and is developing into a good perimeter defender under coach Tom Thibodeau’s system. The question the Bulls organization need to ask themselves are, “How to handle the Boozer problem?” and more importantly “How long does Taj Gibson settle for being star of the bench mob?” With Taj Gibson’s contract, it look like he should be starting power forward.
The Chicago Bulls is an unpredictable franchise and could make any move and do anything they feel is best for their team. So far in the Thibodeau era, everything seems to be working.