The Bulls look like they're going to chase a buyout candidate after all, and Jimmer Fredette looks like their man.
According to Mark Stein, sources have the Bulls and Fredette in serious discussion which trumps other rumors of Bulls "being interested" which has been the phrase where Chicago was linked amongst a bunch of teams in the past.
Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that -- while stressing a deal is not yet complete -- serious mutual interest between the sides has made Fredette's landing with Chicago look increasingly likely.
After completing a contract buyout Thursday with the Kings, Fredette can't officially sign a contract with the Bulls or any other team before clearing waivers Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
But sources say the former BYU star, drafted No. 10 overall by the Kings in 2011, is highly intrigued by the prospect of playing for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who -- in spite of his defense-heavy reputation -- has put score-first guards such as Nate Robinson and more recently D.J. Augustin in position to flourish.
I'm not going to lie to you and pretend I've watched so many Kings games that I an offer a really great scouting report on Fredette. Looking at his stats, he looks like a Nate Robinson type. He can obviously create some based on his per 36 scoring numbers. His three point percentage and attempts show that he can shoot.
His overall PER on the season was over 16, which means he certainly stacks up pretty well for a guy getting bought out (guards typically don't have heavily inflated PERs). So what's the catch? I would wager a guess that he can't defend a rock (probably not scissors or paper either).
That said, the Bulls can always use extra scorers. They've got plenty of defenders out there, and Fredette has apparently noticed the Bulls have a long tradition in getting undersized, non defensive, volume chucking shooters better contracts upon their leaving the organization.
It's a Bulls tradition that dates back to Jannero Pargo, but in the Thibodeau era, we've seen John Lucas, Nate Robinson, and D.J. Augustin all go from basically out of the league to guys deserving multi-year, greater than minimum salary deals. [Obviously an assumption on Augustin's part, but seems highly likely].
Speaking of Augustin...
He's four for 30 over his past three games and one for 16 from beyond the arc. I can't help but wonder if the Bulls reaching out to Fredette is a hedge against Augustin continuing to spiral out of control with terrible shooting.
Fredette will take someone's minutes if he comes to Chicago, and my best guess is that the two guard Hinrich/Augustin lineup is replaced by the Hinrich Fredette lineup to add more size [even if just a bit] to the group. He'll also likely steal some time from Tony Snell.
If this were a month ago, I'd be hoping that he'd steal time from Kirk Hinrich, but Kirk's actually played very well recently, so not only does it seem unlikely, but it doesn't seem that practical if things continue.
Bulls to win 45?
I did some schedule analysis yesterday [awfully quick schedule analysis mind you], and if the Bulls won every game I picked them to be favorites, lost every game I picked them to be underdogs, and split the even games, they'd finish the season with 45 wins.
It won't turn out that way of course, but it shows the overall schedule is favorable despite a brutal patch where they play more or less every elite team in the league in one chunk of games which gives them something like seven of eight games where they are extreme underdogs. Outside of that stretch, they're favored in virtually every other game this season.
Since I have the Bulls favored more than not, the odds are that the simple analysis will over-estimate the total [ie, if you win 2/3rds of the time you're favored and 1/3rd when you're not, the Bulls will lose a couple more than the simple prediction.
What's interesting now is looking at the seedings and wondering where would you really want to finish? I'd rather play Brooklyn or Charlotte in the first round than Washington whom the Bulls are presently matched up with at four. Would you rather square off against Indiana or Miami in the second round?
I think I'll take Miami at this point, maybe not because the odds are better at winning, but I think the Bulls would give Miami a tougher series than the other opponents, and I'd like to see them beat up more when they play Indiana. That said, I like Chicago's odds of winning at Indiana better, so in that sense, the four seed isn't so bad either.
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