The Bulls ended the season on Wednesday night with a 125-109 loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia. Walt Lemon Jr. led the way with 20 points, and now the attention turns to a big 2019 offseason.
Wayne Selden heads into the offseason with some momentum
Wayne Selden Jr. came to the Bulls in early January as a little-used wing player fighting for a bigger spot in an NBA rotation. He played 14 games in January--13 with the Bulls--and in turn had one of his best months of the season.
Selden only scored 6.5 points per game in January, but it came on 47.9 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from the 3-point line. He is a very physical wing player who gets into the chest of his defender, but doesn’t overpower players with as much success as he did at the NCAA level. He showcased his ability to heat up in Wednesday’s season finale.
Wayne Selden goes bank with the floater, up to 10 PTS on 4/7 shooting pic.twitter.com/iL0meG3mJ1— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 11, 2019
He finished the game with an efficient 12 points on 5/10 shooting from the field. And while he didn’t shoot it great from 3-point range on the season, Selden was absolutely lights out from the midrange area of the floor.
Via advanced stats site Cleaning the Glass, Selden shot 44 percent on all midrange shots and an even more impressive 51 percent on long midrange shots specifically. Both marks rank in the 81st percentile or better for NBA forwards and point towards Selden being very capable of succeeding next year in Jim Boylen’s offense.
The question is: will the Bulls work to bring him back on a reasonable deal?
The end of the TLC era?
Speaking of wing players picked up by the Bulls midseason, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had a OK stint but didn’t do a ton to separate himself from the rest of the pack trying to stick in the league.
Luwawu-Cabarrot shot 30.8 percent from the 3-point line in February, 41.5 percent in March and then an absolutely abysmal 21.7 percent in April. Overall he shot 33 percent from the 3-point line as a Bull, barely improving on his career average of 32 percent.
I focused on the shooting because TLC’s path to a stable NBA rotation spot is excelling as a 3-and-D player. And regardless of how well he uses his 7-foot wingspan to be effective on the defensive end of the floor, it is tough to project him sticking in the league if he can’t provide at least a tiny bit of upside on offense.
TLC shot extremely poor at the rim, midrange and the 3-point line as a member of the Bulls, so yeah, things didn’t go great. But he scored 14 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and collected 2 assists in the season finale, hopefully catching the eyes of some NBA scouts in the process.
His length and age--he is still only 23 years old--gives him a chance to return to the league next season. But unless the Bulls completely ignore adding wing depth this offseason, it doesn’t look likely that he will return to Chicago, but a great offseason can change quite a bit (Just ask Victor Oladipo).
The Windy City Quartet finishes strong
Since the Bulls shut down the core group of players, the organizations group of G League standouts have done a decent job of showcasing their skillsets. Wednesday night represented the last chance for these four players--Walt Lemon, Brandon Sampson, Antonio Blakeney and Rawle Alkins--to get a taste of playing time at the NBA level.
The four players combined for 44 points, with Lemon going for 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
JaKarr Sampson was not on hand as his 10-day contract had ran out before Wednesday’s finale. But ultimately, it was nice for this young group to get a bit of NBA experience. Walt Lemon Jr. stood out specifically, and his play down the stretch could actually land him a spot in training camp next year with the (NBA) Bulls.
Over 6 games with the Bulls, Lemon averaged 14.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.0 APG while shooting 40.0 percent from the 3-point line. His 3-point attempt volume was very low but ultimately he looked like he belonged in the NBA. Lemon averaged only 1.7 turnovers per game, incredibly important for a Bulls team that was 19th in the league in turnovers.
On top of his solid production as an aggressive drive-and-kick PG, Lemon has the advantage of being a local product, who went to Julian for high school, Bradley for college and wears the No. 25 partly because of Derrick Rose.
Lemon endeared himself quite well to Bulls Nation over his short 6-game stretch, and with the tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the Bulls guard rotation, it’s a safe bet that we will see Lemon in a Bulls uniform at some point in the 2019-20 season.