While they didn’t make a big splash in free agency, the Chicago Bulls improved their roster with a few signings. They signed Thaddeus Young for three years and $41 million, Tomas Satoransky for three years and $30 million, Luke Kornet for two years and $4.5 million they re-signed Ryan Arcidiacono for three years and $9 million, and they re-signed Shaquille Harrison on a one-year non-guaranteed deal worth 898,000 dollars. The Bulls also saw Robin Lopez leave for the Milwaukee Bucks and also might be without Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Wayne Selden, and Walt Lemon for the upcoming season. The Bulls came into free agency looking for depth in the frontcourt and more ball handlers. In free agency, the Bulls did exactly that, adding two big men, one ball-handler, and retaining two more ball-handlers.
Recapping the Bulls Free Agency
With the drafting of Coby White and the re-signing of Arcidiacono and Harrison, the Bulls are all but set at the point guard position with White, Kris Dunn, Arcidiacono, and Harrison. Arcidiacono, Dunn, and Harrison will also spend some time at the backup shooting guard position as well. However, where does Satoransky fit in all of this? Satoransky will spend the most time out of all four at backup shooting guard, but he’ll also likely spend time at backup small forward. While Satoransky is a guard, he is capable of playing small forward as well. He is 6’7” and 210 pounds and has played a little small forward in the past. While this may be a little complicated and confusing, it’s always good to have extra depth players as injuries are bound to happen. Zach LaVine missed 19 games last year, Dunn missed 36, and Porter, the Bulls likely starting small forward, missed 26. As unfortunate as injuries are, they occur a lot and teams need to be prepared for them. By re-signing Arcidiacono and signing Satoransky, the Bulls are well prepared for an injury at either guard position or even small forward.
What They Can Do
Arcidiacono is a low usage guard who can shoot well. Amongst players with 1,000 minutes, Arcidiacono ranked third in the entire league in assist to turnover ratio at 4.27. Arcidiacono makes plays for others without needing the ball in his hands that much. On a team with LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Otto Porter, it’s good to have a point guard that doesn’t demand the ball. Arcidiacono is also a high-level shooter as he shot 37 percent from three last season on 2.7 attempts per game.
Harrison isn’t much of an offensive player. His stats aren’t very attractive – he averages just 6.5 points per game and 1.9 assists per game with poor efficiency. However, he makes his mark on defense. While he isn’t a lockdown defender, he is a solid one. Amongst players who played at least 1,000 minutes, Harrison ranks 30th amongst point guard in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus and 105th amongst all players with at least 1,000 minutes in Bball-index’s defensive player impact plus-minus. Harrison also ranked fourth last season in steals per 36 minutes amongst players who played at least 1,000 minutes.
Satoransky is a pretty versatile player that can shoot well, pass well, and is a decent defender. Over his three year career, he has shot 40 percent on 1.4 three-point attempts per game thus far. Just last year, he shot 40 percent on two threes per game. He also averages 5 assists per game and 6.6 per 36 minutes. Amongst players with at least 1,000 minutes, Satoransky ranked 16th last year in assist to turnover ratio with a ratio of 3.33. Satoransky finished last year with a defensive real plus-minus of -0.09 and a defensive player impact plus-minus of -0.2. While he doesn’t grade particularly well in these defensive impact stats, he isn’t bad either. He is also a versatile defender by being 6’7” and 210 pounds and athletic enough to guard point guards.
Last year, the Bulls had a committee at the backup power forward position, with Jabari Parker playing 1010 minutes before he was traded, Bobby Portis playing 398 minutes before he was traded, Chandler Hutchison playing 394 minutes, Luwawu-Cabarrot playing 366 minutes, and Porter playing 177 minutes after he was traded. But now, with Young, the Bulls will have a consistent option at backup power forward. With Lopez gone, the center position may be a small issue, but it should be okay. Assuming Wendell Carter can stay healthy, there should be nothing to worry about. Cristiano Felicio and Kornet can certainly play 15 or so minutes per game between the two of them.
What They Can Do
Young is a defensive specialist, ranking 61st in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus amongst players with at least 1,000 minutes. He also ranks 107th in Bball-index’s defensive player impact plus-minus. He ranked 26th in steal percentage this past season amongst players with at 1,000 minutes. When looking at just big men, Young ranked fourth. The year prior he ranked 19th in total and second amongst big men. Young is also extremely durable, missing just 34 games in the last seven years, an average of about five games missed every year. He has also been doing this with at least 30 minutes per game in these years. Young has been top 50 in minutes played each of the last seven years except the 2016-17 season. He is also an improved playmaker. This past season, amongst big men with at least 1,000 minutes, he ranked 25th in assist percentage. He ranked 19th in assists per game under the same parameters.
Kornet is a very good shooter for a big man. He shot 36.3 percent from three last season on 4.2 attempts per game. Over his two seasons in the league, he is at 36 percent and 4.1 attempts per game. Kornet was eighth last year in three-point percentage amongst big men who played 750 minutes and shot at least 3.5 threes per game. While the Bulls aren’t a terrible shooting team, they could use the help. Last year they ranked 28th in three-point attempt rate (the percentage of field goal attempts that were from three) and 20th in three-point percentage. Kornet will surely help that.
The Bulls Had a Good Free Agency
The Bulls made smart moves in free agency. They didn’t give that much money to one person, the most they gave was $41 million over three years. Young’s contract can also be packaged with others if they want to trade for a star like Bradley Beal. They achieved what they set out to do – acquire more ball handlers and more depth in the frontcourt. Young’s experience should also bode well with the young players. The Bulls should be a team on the rise this season and in the near future.
Embed from Getty Images