Wendell Carter Jr.'s uptick in 3-point attempts is good for Bulls offense

Wendell Carter Jr.'s uptick in 3-point attempts is good for Bulls offense

At long last, it's happening. What fans and pundits (and perhaps Bulls players) alike have clamored for.

"Wendell Carter, the 3-point shooter!" Zach LaVine bellowed through the Bulls locker room after their 116-81 waxing of the Atlanta Hawks.

That might be an exaggeration. But Carter did sink two longballs on the night, just his fourth and fifth of the season. Carter, famously, shot 41.3% from 3-point range in his one season at Duke, and much has been made of the doors adding that shot to his offensive arsenal could open.

"Yeah, of course I do," Carter said with a smile when asked if he liked taking 3s. On what's caused his recent uptick in attempts (averaging 1.2 per game over his last five): "Just my coaches being confident and my teammates telling me to shoot 'em."

There's no hesitation or awkwardness in that take, especially directly off the catch and with an ocean of space in front of him. Carter's second attempt (and make) was similar. It was Carter's second game of the year with multiple 3-point attempts.

"It opens up driving lanes for my teammates, it just spaces the floor a lot better," Carter said of the dimension his shooting adds to the Bulls' offense. "So I feel like it'll definitely help us in the future as I get more confident."

In the right circumstance, he's absolutely right. Carter is already a proven high-energy rebounder, efficient finisher and crafty distributor from the perimeter (without mentioning his defensive prowess). If he can start to make teams pay for leaving him open beyond the arc, both he — individually — and the Bulls' offense — collectively — will benefit.

"When he's faced up, he has his feet down on a catch-and-shoot, I'd like him to take those open shots," Boylen said. "I did not like the one where he dribbled out to the line, he knew it and I knew it, but that's the learning moment."

That attempt — his third, after making his first two — came when Carter dribbled an offensive rebound out to the corner and chucked one off the dribble with the Bulls ahead by 21 midway through the third.

"Yeah, I told him that was a heat check," Carter said with a chuckle. "Just had to take it and see what was going on."

We might be a couple evolutions away from that type of shot going in routinely. But Carter is now up to 22.7% 3-point shooting on the season, and it doesn't seem anyone would be upset to see his 0.7 attempts per game continue to climb, as well.

"I'm really proud of him, he's worked really hard at it," Boylen said. "And with time and space, let it fly."

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Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Miami Marlins center fielder Monte Harrison made a bit of history on Aug. 4, when he laced up for his first ever MLB game.

With his debut, he and older brother Shaq officially became just the sixth MLB-NBA brother duo in league history. The most recent? Klay and Trayce Thompson, the latter of which appeared in his last MLB game on June 20, 2018 for the White Sox. Chicago ties all around.

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Shaq used his trademark brand of heart and hustle to work his way up from two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns to a multi-year pact with the Bulls. Monte's path to the majors began in 2014 after the Milwaukee Brewers plucked him in the second round of the Amateur Draft from Lee's Summit West High School in Lee's Summit, Mo. He was jettisoned to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade in 2018. 

In 2019, Monte played 58 games between Miami's High-A and Triple-A affiliates, slashing .270/.351/.441 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He's been known to flash some leather, too, and entered this season the club's tenth-ranked prospect.

Since his call-up, he's appeared in four contests (three starts) with the Marlins, and is just 1-for-10 at the plate with five strikeouts. But we'll forgive some early-career stumbles. His first big-league base-knock, which came on Thursday, was perfectly emblematic of what Bulls fans have come to expect from the Harrison household.

Yup. A cue-shot infield single. Exit velocity: 44.3 mph. Expected batting average: .190. But he beat it out. And followed it up with a stolen base. You can't script this stuff.

"I don’t know what my mother did, a lot of prayers, a lot of believing, and trust in us," Monte said after his debut on Tuesday, via Bob Nightengale. "We just worked our ass off.''

That much is evident.

RELATED: How Bulls’ Shaq Harrison impacts games, even with limited playing time


Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

With the NBA restarting with 22 of its 30 teams, there was buzz in early July of a second bubble coming to Chicago for the eight teams excluded to get in organized team activities and possibly scrimmages.

Now, it appears those talks have significantly slowed, if not stalled entirely.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that there is "significant doubt" the second bubble concept will come to fruition, but Friday, that bringing the "Delete Eight" teams into the Disney campus has been discussed. Any agreement — whether it be a full-on bubble or respective, in-market OTAs — would require stringent safety protocols and need to be agreed upon by the league and NBPA.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut:

Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association.

How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.

The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL.

And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams. 

In the episode, the crew also breaks down the week in NBA bubble action, talks Jim Boylen and more. Listen here or via the embedded player below: