Bulls

Three takeaways: Walt Lemon Jr. scores game-high 20 points in Bulls finale

Three takeaways: Walt Lemon Jr. scores game-high 20 points in Bulls finale

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.

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.

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Farewell, Lonzo Ball-to-the-Bulls rumors.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday evening that the Los Angeles Lakers have finally acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, and the deal doesn't include a third team.

In exchange for Davis, a six-time All-Star about to enter his prime, the Pelicans recieved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and three first round picks, including the No. 4 pick in next week's NBA Draft.

There was some speculation - also reported by Woj - that a third team would need to get involved in order to satisfy what Pelicans GM David Griffin was looking for in a package for Davis.

Though the Bulls were never directly connected in reports as a potential third team, it made sense considering they own the No. 7 pick and have a need at point guard.

There was also some speculation - though, again, never concrete news or reports - that Zach LaVine could have been an option in a deal, with the Bulls acquiring the No. 4 pick.

Alas, the Bulls aren't part of the deal. But it still may have an effect on them.

The Pelicans now own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in next week's draft. They're obviously going to take Duke forward Zion Williamson with the first pick but now have options at No. 4. Whereas the Lakers had been linked to Vanderbilt poing guard Darius Garland, the Pelicans really don't have a need there with Ball and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt.

That, in theory, could bump Garland down to No. 6 and the Phoenix Suns, which would then free up the Bulls to take North Carolina's Coby White at No. 7.

Wojnarowski also reported that teams are still inquiring about the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans. It's unlikely the Bulls would depart with LaVine though maybe they could put together some sort of package to move up from No. 7.

What's more likely is the Bulls keep their assets intact in such a weak draft class and move forward with the best player available on the board at No. 7.

But it's officially Woj Bomb season, so buckle up. As is the case every NBA offseason, anything can and will happen.

NBC Sports Boston's Trade Bot comes up with Kris Dunn-Terry Rozier trade

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USA TODAY

NBC Sports Boston's Trade Bot comes up with Kris Dunn-Terry Rozier trade

The NBA landscape is getting ready to undergo a dramatic makeover this offseason, with the vast number of free agents and the volatility of the 2019 draft class. While the Bulls and Boston Celtics are two teams that could have much different views of success next season, they also could be ideal trade partners. Our partners at NBC Sports Boston laid out an intriguing trade offer that certainly got Celtics fans talking.

The NBC Sports Boston “Trade Bot 3000” came up with a scenario in which Danny Ainge targets Bulls guard Kris Dunn.

LINK:

This does not come as a huge shock, as GM Danny Ainge has had a liking for Dunn’s game dating back to the 2016 NBA Draft, when he reportedly almost traded then-Celtic Isaiah Thomas fior a lottery pick to select Dunn. Of course since then things have changed quite a bit, as Dunn has failed to develop into a real threat from the perimeter and his great defensive effort has been dragged down by foul troubles (4.3 fouls per 36 minutes).

NBC Sports Boston’s Trade Bot pointed out that Boston would be receiving the New London, Connecticut native with a full season before he is set to hit restricted free agency (2020-21). Dunn’s team-friendly contract would make sense for a Celtics team that is unlikely to have any functional cap space this offseason. And even in the event that the Celtics do create near max cap space, that would likely mean that guards Terry Rozier and Kyrie Irving are no longer on the roster.

Dunn would be a solid option as a starter or backup guard for a new-look Celtics squad that would be built around feeding Jayson Tatum plenty of looks, much more than the 13.1 field goal attempts per game that he averaged over the 2018-19 season. Dunn’s usage rate dropped a significant amount last season and his offensive rating improved as a result of him using less possessions. I would expect that trend to continue under Brad Stevens, who would find more creative ways to keep Dunn involved on offense.

It is simple to see how the trade would be appealing from the Bulls perspective. Though incredibly similar prospects, Rozier presents a greater threat from the 3-point line as compared to Dunn.

He is by no means a knockdown shooter, but the fact that “Scary Terry” has taken 6.3 attempts from 3-point range per 36 minutes (for his career per Basketball-Reference)  definitely matters.

Defenses will have to account for Rozier when he is on the floor, making him a nice partner for LaVine on the offensive end of the floor. But again, Rozier would not be a savior at the PG position. He has many of the same flaws as Dunn, such as generating a tremendously low amount of free throw attempts. As we all know, a fresh start can do wonders for a young player and a trade of this nature would allow the Bulls to add Rozier, while giving him the true maximum salary that only the Celtics would be able to offer.

To make matters even better for Chicago, the Bulls would be collecting a second round pick as well for swapping a player on a rookie deal for a player who is due for a significant raise. One last interesting nugget on a possible Dunn-for-Rozier trade is that the two guards are actually one day apart age-wise. They are at a similar stage in their careers/development, to the point where it would be tough to say which team won the trade.

Let us know how you would feel about NBC Sports Boston Trade Bot’s Dunn-for-Rozier swap at @BullsTalk!