If you’ve been living under a rock, then you may have missed it. The Chicago Bulls traded Justin Holiday to the Memphis Grizzlies last night, opening up serious minutes at small forward.
No doubt the Chicago Bulls front office made a wise decision to move Justin Holiday when they had the chance (he was struggling with his shot of late). This was long rumored to happen and the day finally came and went. John Paxson and Gar Forman, a.k.a. GarPax actually acquired two second-round picks instead of jettisoning them(!!!).
The Bulls’ front office actually executed a good trade.
In fact, it’s pretty solid given what they gave up. Odds are they weren’t going to bag a first-rounder, so this is a pretty nice consolation. MarShon Brooks does look like he’s on his way out, and anything the coaching staff can get out of Wayne Selden is a plus. But it’s those draft picks that really matter at the end of the day.
But this story isn’t about what the Bulls got back: it’s about what they already have.
Or should I say “who”?
A massive opportunity awaits ‘Hutch’
Holiday was averaging 34.9 minutes per game in what has been a career season prior to the trade. The bigger question now is who gets those minutes? Jabari Parker is banished forever to the bench (yes, even in blowouts) so he’s not really an option. In case it wasn’t already obvious at this point, there’s really only one answer.
Chandler Hutchison is the primary beneficiary of the Holiday deal. He is the only true option at small forward that is on this roster. Thus far in his rookie campaign, he’s only averaged 17.3 minutes per game. Jim Boylen and GarPax probably have no idea what they have in him, probably because he hasn’t gotten nearly enough minutes.
Even recently, in a narrow loss to the Toronto Raptors, Hutch had the best game of his young career, yet he barely saw the floor:
Yes, ‘development’ indeed.
At least now, Boylen has virtually no choice but to give him a significant share of Holiday’s now vacated minutes. He should easily be able to improve his season averages (4.2 points, 3.5 boards, and 46 percent from the floor).
Offensively, it’s clear that he’s a work in progress, something that should improve with minutes. From a defensive standpoint, Hutchison has shown the willingness to do the dirty work. So there is some definite appeal there.
With their season going nowhere, the Bulls need to see what they have in Hutchison, given that they promised him before last summer’s draft that they would take him at 22nd overall if he was available.
Oh, also the ‘Tank Commander’ was relieved of his duties:
In addition, this trade puts the finishing touches on the Eddy Curry trade. Remember that? Felt like eons ago, but that chapter is finally closed. A truly happy day for Bulls fans alike.