Bulls' PG overhaul complete, but are they better?


Bulls' PG overhaul complete, but are they better?

With the addition of Nate Robinson formally announced this afternoon, the Bulls point guard mixing and matching of an off-season seems to have come to a close.
The additions of Robinson and Kirk Hinrich through free agency came after C.J. Watson and John Lucas III left for Brooklyn and Toronto, respectively. The writing may have been on the wall for both after the team drafted Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague in June.
And while the position will act as more of a stop gap until the main attraction, Derrick Rose, is ready to return, replacing Watson and Lucas with Hinrich and Robinson were still important moves.
Watson and Lucas combined for 4.8 win shares a year ago, seeing increased roles in place of Rose, who missed 27 regular season games. Hinrich and Robinson, who started a combined 40 games, totaled 4.6 win shares. So while each pair's win shares were almost identical, Hinrich's and Robinson's defensive numbers from last year were much worse. The pair averaged 107.0 points per 100 possessions allowed, while Watson and Lucas averaged just 101.5 points. Hinrich has always been a solid defender, but Robinson leaves plenty to be desired as an offensive-minded shooter. That may have to change under Thibodeau.
Offensively, Robinson and Hinrich averaged 105 points per 100 possessions, while Watson and Lucas averaged 104 points of their own. Each pair combined for similar offensive numbers, with the incoming point guards averaging slightly better numbers in about 12 more minutes per game. Robinson is the streakiest shooter of the four, and Hinrich is likely the most efficient, so with scoring at the position being an issue early in the year the Bulls appear to have improved some.
Money apparently was not too big an issue at the position, as Watson (2 years, 6 million) and Lucas (two years, 3 million) will make only slightly more than Hinrich (2 years, 8 million) and Robinson (one year, likely veteran's minimum).
While it may not seem like it at first glance, the Bulls' defense at the point guard position takes a hit with this year's moves. A key could very well be how well the athletic Teague can acclimate to the NBA game, and potentially see time on the court early.
The Bulls are in good hands with two seasoned veterans in Hinrich and Robinson, and any contributions Teague makes can be viewed as an added bonus. But whether or not the back court is better off with those two instead of Watson and Lucas is something that will be watched closely until Rose comes back.

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.

Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.

And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.

The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.

Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.

But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."

Bulls' Denzel Valentine throws out first pitch at White Sox game

Bulls' Denzel Valentine throws out first pitch at White Sox game

Count Denzel Valentine as 1-for-1 in a Bulls uniform.

The first-round pick threw out the first pitch prior to tonight's White Sox-Twins game and fired a strike to another young Chicago star, pitcher Carlos Rodon.

Check out Valentine's first pitch in the video above.