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Why Bulls could address point guard position this offseason

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Let’s get to the point.

The Bulls haven’t discovered a long-term answer at point guard since the days of Derrick Rose’s dominance.

Sure, there have been star turns and solid role play — the Nate Robinson flourish or the Kirk Hinrich homecoming. But think of all the names that have come and gone.

D.J. Augustin. Rajon Rondo. Michael Carter-Williams. Jerian Grant. Cameron Payne. Tomáš Satoranský, Ryan Arcidiacono and Coby White — is he a point guard? — are still here. Kris Dunn could be.

Expect the new management regime to try to fix this. In fact, while much of Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley’s future plans remain unknown, getting this position right would open a window into how they view some pieces on the roster.

It would suggest they view White more as a scoring guard than a facilitator. It would suggest the next two years could become a choice between White and Zach LaVine. It would suggest Dunn’s long-term future isn’t in Chicago.

White was billed as a point guard when the previous managerial regime drafted him with the seventh pick in June 2019. And his decision-making and distribution skills improved as his rookie season progressed. He can certainly play some minutes at the position next season if needed.

However, given the amount of leaguewide talk that the Bulls are focused on solving point guard, it’s sounding like the new regime ultimately views him as more of a scoring guard.

If the Bulls address the position with the No. 4 pick, LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton represent lottery possibilities — though that seems high for Haliburton. If the Bulls trade down, Kira Lewis Jr. is a name to watch. His skill set projects to complement the Bulls’ roster.

 

If the Bulls address the position via free agency, management must thread the needle of adding a competent player while preserving the ample salary cap space projected for the 2021 offseason. There’s also the trade route.

RELATED: 6 free agents Bulls should target with mid-level exception this offseason

LaVine is the Bulls’ leading scorer and best player. That means, on a 22-win team, he also represents the biggest trade asset should Karnišovas, Eversley and Co. get aggressive.

Currently, there are no indications they are pursuing this avenue. However, LaVine is extension eligible this offseason and has two seasons remaining on a deal he largely has outperformed. Whether or not he’s the core piece to build around surely must be an internal conversation that’s been held.

LaVine loves living in Chicago and representing the Bulls. However, before Jim Boylen’s firing, indications pointed to his camp not pursuing extension talks. It’s unclear how the coaching change to Billy Donovan has impacted that stance. What’s clear is LaVine is tired of losing and having not appeared in a playoff game.

Satoranský’s versatility makes him a rotation player for any team in the league. However, he’s not a classic, break-down-the-defense guard. That’s what the roster needs.

In fact, it’s what the roster has needed for a long time. Given what Karnišovas and Eversley have said publicly about style of play, it certainly sounds like they’re intent on addressing it at some point.

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