If one thing has become clear since NBA free agency kicked off on Friday, it’s that the Chicago Bulls seem intent on running this thing back one more time. Barring some team reaching deep into their pockets to overpay for Zach LaVine akin to what Minnesota did for Rudy Gobert a summer ago, all signs point to the Bulls giving this core another go at it.
Time will tell if compelling offers will force the Bulls in another direction later this summer. However, none of that is going to happen till a few other dominoes fall such as where James Harden, Damian Lillard, and potentially even Paul George land.
Fortunately, for those of us who invest our time into this team no matter what the situation, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have brought in a couple of players that should significantly alter their offensive output – hopefully leading to a few more wins.
Now, I know that Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter aren’t exactly championship-contending cornerstones, but they’re valuable depth that any team needs if they want any chance to make a run. If we look at some of the best teams in the Eastern Conference whether it’s Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, or Milwaukee, we’ll find an arsenal of elite depth that support their star players.
This isn’t to say the Bulls lacked depth. On paper, the Chicago Bulls looked like they should be a pretty deep team. With Coby White, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, and Goran Dragic, there’s no denying the Bulls had talent off the bench. However, what separates the teams above from the Bulls is the shooting that their depth players provided.
Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter provide some much-needed shooting depth for the Chicago Bulls.
On a broad scale what the Chicago Bulls have effectively done this offseason is swap out Derrick Jones Jr and Patrick Beverley for Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter, two players that fill a glaring position of need on this roster. If there was ever a chance that AKME’s big 3 could work as envisioned without Lonzo Ball, adding players like Craig and Carter is the best way to find out.
Looking at NBA player shot charts paints a solid picture of how Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter immediately help the Chicago Bulls.
The Chicago Bulls’ big 3 of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic combine to take 73 percent of their shots from inside the 3-point line, with 47 percent coming in the mid-range and 26 percent at the rim. That is as much as Milwaukee’s big 3, yet where Milwaukee differs is that they are also 4th in 3P frequency and 3P attempts per game while still being top 10 in 3-point percentage.
Patrick Beverley and Derrick Jones Jr didn’t take as many threes as evidenced by their combined 161 attempts on the Bulls this past season and only hit their threes at 32 percent. However, Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter attempted 590 combined on 40 percent shooting.
It’s clear that for the former duo, shooting threes was neither their preference nor their strong suit whereas for the latter it was something they sought to do.
For another basis of comparison, Coby White and Patrick Williams combined for 621 attempted threes last season, on 40% shooting, but if either one had an off night that pretty much meant the Bulls would be without any three-point shooting. This won’t be the case anymore with the addition of Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter.
Overall, it seems like the Chicago Bulls may have finally compiled an actual arsenal with which they can keep pace with the top teams in the East as they light it up from three. Even though this group has a limited ceiling, it should make for a much more entertaining year as their most glaring issue from a year ago appears to be resolved.