Back-Up Shooting Guards Who Could Start For the Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are having a tough go of it in the playoffs and one of the areas they’re getting exposed is at the shooting guard position. The Bulls traded away combo guard (their defacto shooting guard) Kirk Hinrich, theoretically to clear up room to sign a max contract star like Dwayne Wade… except it came out in Wade’s divorce hearing that the Bulls never made a formal offer, leaving the casual observer to wonder if the Bulls were really just dumping a contract to save money. (If this is true, saving some money may have cost the Bulls a finals appearance. Taking three in a row from the Heat isn’t going to be easy.)
Instead of a serviceable shooting guard who can defend and score a little in Hinrich, the Bulls ended up with a three-headed monster of specialists at the two: Keith Bogans (perhaps a little better than advertised, basically a solid defender who’s shot the _open_ 3 better than expected, but is of limited offensive value when he isn’t wide open and hasn’t been making his free throws), Ronnie Brewer (very athletic swingman who has questionable range; might have a little bit of John Salley in him as his ability to hit wide open shots and free throws has significantly increased in the playoffs; much better around the rim than outside; probably a better small forward, offensively) and Kyle Korver (great outside shooter, HORRIBLE defender; the Heat have exposed him as needing a little too long to set up and release his shot and his offensive production has shrunk like George Costanza in cold water; and again, Korver is someone you kick it to, not someone who can score on his own).
I’m not going to blame the Bulls for not matching the ridiculous, potentially strike-inducing contract the Hawks offered Joe Johnson. I am going to blame them for fiddling while the selection of better two guards burned away, especially ones that fit their needs. How bad is the shooting guard rotation for the Bulls? In no particular order, here’s my list of BACKUP shooting guards that could start for the Bulls:
Ben Gordon, Detroit – Yes, they probably don’t have Boozer if they signed him. Yes, he’s been a disappointment in Detroit. But look at his numbers this season vs. career average. The only things off are minutes played and points. He’s healthy, he’s just not starting. A shooter you can’t leave alone.
J.J. Reddick – OK, the Bulls did try to get him and Orlando paid up to keep him.
Jason Terry, Dallas – Really only a back-up by choice, this is similar adding Ben Gordon. The floor will be stretched.
Wesley Matthews, Portland – Matthews might be on the bench or might be starting next year, depending on how Brandon Roy does or doesn’t heal. Portland jumped on him fast last off-season and was much better for it.
Courtney Lee, Houston – Long armed, athletic defender with a two seasons shooting over .400 from beyond the arc and has been to the finals. A little hot and cold offensively, but a solid improvement.
Rudy Fernandez, Portland – Frequently the subject of Bulls trade rumors, he’s supposed to be unhappy in Portland and his shooting percentages keep dropping, but a live body with plenty of upside.
Gary Neal, San Antonio – Theoretically a point guard, his 41.9% 3-point stroke moved him over. Ever seen a Spurs player who wasn’t a better defender than Korver?
Delonte West, Boston – Basically a younger, meaner Bogans. A little more well-rounded offensively.
Sasha Vujacic, New Jersey – Good 3-point shooter; Been through the play-off wars with Phil and the Lakers; fiancé Maria Sharpova gives Chicago a celebrity fan
Reggie Williams, Golden State – Where do the Warriors find all these guards? Superior 3-point shooter, puts up a lot of points when given the minutes
Mickael Peitrus, Phoenix – Another better version of Bogans.
Josh Childress, Phoenix – Childress was a disaster in Phoenix, but unless his game has completely regressed, you have a huge, athletic shooting guard who could also shoot the long ball, although his 3-point touch deserted him in the desert.
Nick Young, Washington – Good size at 6’7” and has shown the ability to score. Looks like Jordan Crawford’s pushing him to the bench in D.C.
Mike Miller, Miami – Always under-rated and frequently banged up, Miller’s always been a good scorer when healthy and hasn’t demanded to shoot it when the team had a different agenda.
Jamal Crawford, Atlanta – A scorer who likes the fast break? Good fit.
Brandon Rush, Indiana – Better overall scorer, superior 3-point shooter.
These guys _might_ start:
Dahntay Jones, Pacers – Swap him out with Bogans and you might not realize anything changed.
Von Wafer, Boston – His shooting seems to improve as he gets minutes; scorer’s mentality; bad defender, but better than Korver; can be selfish, but somebody besides Rose being willing to go create a shot isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this instance
Evan Turner, 76ers – Starting to show signs of figuring it out
Sam Young, Grizzlies – Didn’t have a great play-offs, but showed some serious scoring potential during the second half of the season.
J.R. Smith, Denver – Smith is a good enough scorer, but has already been rejected once by the Bulls on personality.