NBC Sports Chicago is breaking down the 15 full-time players on the Bulls' roster. Next up is Chandler Hutchison.
7.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG | 45.7% FG, 31.6% 3P, 59% FT | 18.3% USG (28 G)
July 2018: Signed 2-year $4.3 million contract (plus two team option years for $6,462,899 total)
2020-21: $2,443,440* | 2021-22: $4,019,459 (team option) | 2022-23: RFA (QO: $5,820,176)
*Team option exercised
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Hutchison has the tools of a prototypical 3-and-D wing. A graceful athlete that stands at 6-foot-7 with a 7-1 wingspan, he profiles as one who can toggle between both forward spots, provide defensive versatility across the positional spectrum and pressure opponents as a rim runner.
On the offensive end, Hutch is at his best cutting, attacking closeouts and sprinting out on the break, a true north-south type player. Given an opening to build a head of steam, his explosive athleticism produced some thunderous dunks in a truncated season that saw him notch some of the better performances of his young career (he entered the All-Star break on the heels of a six-game stretch that featured his three highest career scoring outings, but didn’t see the floor again after the break after a past shoulder injury flared up).
In the time he’s been on the floor, he’s also flashed solid instincts as a team defender and plus rebounding ability for a three (he holds his own on the glass at the four, too). His length and quickness help there. Extremely limited sample size alert, but Hutchison’s 2.1% steal rate (91st percentile for his position) and 16.6% defensive rebounding rate (80th percentile) in non-garbage time minutes this season rate out well in Cleaning the Glass’ calculations. He plays with observable energy when available and engaged.
Areas to Improve
But the problem with Hutchison is that any analysis of his game remains mostly rooted in projection, even two seasons deep into an NBA career that started at the seasoned age of 22. A mountainous pile of injuries have left Hutch available for just 72 of a possible 147 contests (28 of 65 in 2019-20) since the Bulls selected him with the No. 22 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The longest consecutive game streak of his career is just 20 games. His grappling with injuries was especially unfortunate this season — for both Hutch and the team — given the Bulls’ dearth of small-forward-sized players on the roster. The role was there for him.
It’s simply hard to accrue reps and lineally progress without being on the floor. And thus, the questions surrounding Hutchison’s game remain much the same as when he came out of Boise State. Exiting Year 2, he sits at a career 29.5% from 3-point range (88 attempts) as mostly a stationary shooter, and 59.5% from the charity stripe (116 attempts). His offensive skill set hasn’t evolved much further than running and dunking — 106 of his 175 (60.6%) field goal attempts in 2019-20 came inside five feet, and he made almost as many dunks (20) this season as 3s in his career (26). He’s slung just 60 total assists across 72 games.
Now, entering his third season, he’ll be 24 and still mostly shrouded in mystery.
Moving downhill, Hutchison really is a force, especially leaking out in transition. His active hands, length and strength are solid building blocks for a multi-positional defender, too.
Durability is the key to him realizing whatever his full potential is, and strides as a shooter and handler would unlock a lot for his slashing style. Calling his ceiling a more athletic Al-Farouq Aminu/Moe Harkless type feels about right. Given his age and all of the above considerations, it will be interesting to see what the new front office regime decides to do with his fourth-year option. That, and his role in 2020-21, could also hinge on who the Bulls select in the draft.