Hoiberg, Bulls excited about addition of 'versatile' Carter-Williams

Hoiberg, Bulls excited about addition of 'versatile' Carter-Williams

The Bulls officially consummated their trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, acquiring point guard Michael Carter-Williams for Tony Snell Monday morning, in a deal that was agreed upon late Saturday night.

Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year in Philadelphia before being traded to Milwaukee in the 2014-15 season, is expected to be the primary backup point guard to starter Rajon Rondo once he takes his physical later Monday afternoon.

He won't be available for Monday's preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets, but could play later in the week as the Bulls head to Omaha, Nebraska.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is excited about the possibilities of having another playmaker in the backcourt, and not so much concerned about his lack of shooting (Carter-Williams shot 27.3 percent from deep last year).

“I think he’s a versatile basketball player,” Hoiberg said. “He’s shown he can get into the ball and defend full court. His numbers speak for itself on what he can do on the floor as a scorer, averaging over 14 and a half points for his career. Also a very good rebounder and passer with good vision, averaging six rebounds and six assists for his career. Just excited to get him, a long and athletic guard that can play multiple positions.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Playing Carter-Williams as a facilitator for the second unit with players like Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine as shooters could be his greatest offensive value, as the Bulls can put him on the block to create double-teams to create open shots.

Ideally, Snell was supposed to fill that role for the Bulls as a secondary perimeter defender but couldn’t find his footing or a fit with his spotty play. He struggled all last season and didn’t seem to be a fit with the new pieces the Bulls acquired over the summer.

“It’s tough because they become family,” said Taj Gibson, who talked to Snell Sunday night and said Snell was happy someone wanted him. “There have been a lot of ups and downs, been in a lot of hostile situations with them. So it’s always tough but it’s the business part of it. It never gets easy but you have to just wish them well knowing they’re going to a better situation to help their game and just keep pushing forward.”

Gibson remembers Carter-Williams from the Bulls-Bucks playoff series in 2015 and said Carter-Williams defended Derrick Rose “extremely well” in the six-game tilt, so he can see how Carter-Williams can fit in defensively.

“He’s a talented young player,” said Gibson, while agreeing with the assertion Carter-Williams can get under opponents’ skin with his style. “He’s a point that can really handle the ball and get guys open looks. He can guard.

“Because he’s long, he’s really taller than most point guards plus he’s aggressive as far as rebounding the ball on the offensive end and he’s going to being a lot of toughness to the team.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?

It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.

"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.

"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."

Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it. 

“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’

LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.