McDermott vs Snell vs Dunleavy vs Hinrich in the battle for the non Butler minutes

McDermott vs Snell vs Dunleavy vs Hinrich in the battle for the non Butler minutes

The Chicago Bulls have "depth" on the wing. What remains to be seen is whether they have enough talent in that depth.

The Bulls have a perimeter rotation without a whole lot of certainty. There are two guys that I think can be plugged in immediately for as long as they are healthy:

PG: Derrick Rose (36 minutes)
Wing: Jimmy Butler (36 minutes)

Rose and Butler could each play a little more or a little less depending how things go, but 36 minutes seems like a good starting point. That leaves the following minute allocation available:

PG: 12
SG/SF: 60

Since Butler can swing between either position defensively, and the Bulls offense doesn't really differentiate between the two we can mix and match for the rest of the minutes however we want for the rest of the wing minutes.

For the 12 PG minutes, the Bulls have two options. Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich, this initially doesn't seem too important, because the assumption is Hinrich takes all the minutes and Aaron Brooks is merely your break glass player. However, I think that could easily prove inaccurate.

The Bulls experimented with two ball handlers last year with pretty good success, and so I think it's quite possible that we'll see Hinrich playing SG along side Rose with Brooks playing backup PG minutes if Aaron can prove himself in practice/preseason/games. I don't think it's the likely scenario, but it's definitely a possible scenario.

The Bulls could also simply play Hinrich 26 minutes a night to get him over a full quarter of time with Rose as well, so they don't need to play Brooks to make some use of the better ball handling lineup. I'd say that's probably the more likely of the two scenarios if they want to see Hinrich/Rose together, especially since I expect the Bulls offense to play better this season than it has recently, so Thibs won't have the same drive to put in an offensive oriented guy like Brooks that he might have had with Augustin and Robinson.

Either way, I think it's safe to assume that Hinrich grabs between 10-20 of those 60 remaining minutes on the wing. I doubt the Bulls limit him to just 12 minutes a game after giving him the MMLE. If so, it was a big mistake to pay him so much, especially since he'll be declining and be worth even less next season.

Doug McDermott should, but won't, play 30 minutes a game

I'm willing to bet large amounts of money that two things happen this year.

First, Doug McDermott won't play more than 24 minutes a game. Second, Bulls fans will be universally pissed off by this by January and have routine discussions of "Why the hell is Thibodeau locked in to Dunleavy as the starter when McDermott is so much better?".

Let's hope I'm wrong on both counts. It just seems like it will fit his pattern so well. Thibs will pick his starters early. He'll refuse to change them later, and Dunleavy will then end up taking, at least a Bogans share of minutes [for those without a Bulls dictionary handy, taking a Bogans would refer to a guy who sucks ass, but starts, and because he starts he plays a minimum of 16 minutes a game regardless of how wretched he is].

It's not so much that I'm against starting Dunleavy or feel he's a horrible player, but I'm against starting him in October and then not revisiting whether that's the best idea or not until he's no longer on the team in July, and Thibodeau hasn't been one to ever change his starting lineups no matter how ridiculous the decision is to keep them the same.

Seriously, it can be argued that the Bulls lost playoff games over this idiocy, and if losing playoff games isn't a big enough motivating factor to switch stuff up then who knows what is?

It's so bad that I (and others before me) have created the term Bogans to describe the behavior, and you can find a Bogans on the team each year Thibs has been coach.

However Doug McDermott looks like the Bulls best option for shooting, floor spacing, and secondary scoring on the perimeter by a huge margin. Chicago annihilated opponents while Kyle Korver was on the floor a few years back, but the Bulls frustratingly enough didn't play him nearly enough minutes. Let's not repeat this mistake with McDermott who has the same game only with far more skills and no experience.

Let's get him that experience right away. The team will benefit tremendously for it by May.

Tony Snell seems to be gathering a following

After a strong summer league performance, there seem to be plenty of Bulls fans out there that want to give Tony Snell a chance. They think he's going to be a great player and showed lots of flashes of talent last year.

Check out this awesome list of bad asses.

That's the list of guys who had a PER under 8.1 and played over 1000 minutes in their rookie season. It's also a list of guys who completely sucked balls and made no impact in the NBA. Norris Cole might be the best player on that list, but he'd just be another dude about to exit the NBA if it weren't for playing with LeBron.

Now, in fairness to Snell, if you lower the minute requirement there are other players who stunk as bad as him and got better. Snell probably wouldn't have played so many minutes last year except the Bulls had no depth after the Deng trade. Still, it's rare to be so bad and become not bad. He's also had three years of college, so it's not like he was an inexperienced rookie.

Objectively his college metrics basically said "this guy doesn't belong in the league" and his first season metrics say "this guy doesn't belong in the league".

Subjectively, Snell appears to have the length, athleticism, size, and shooting touch to be a very good 3D player (three point shooter and defender). That's the type of specialist position that every team wants, but has really only looked for in the past five to six years. Given that, it's quite possible that the previous list of metrics won't do him justice because teams weren't looking to fill this niche over a long history of time.

So the skinny on Snell is this:

If he can shoot threes at 38%+ and prove that he can use his length/athleticism to defend well then he's going to play plenty. He struggled mightily in both areas last season, but he definitely has potential in both. I'm not optimistic, but it's easy to chart out a path where he succeeds. He needs to get NBA good at two skills that should be in his wheelhouse.

If he can manage that, then he could also be a guy worth playing 20+ minutes a night, if not, he could be a guy worth playing zero minutes a night.

Mike Dunleavy probably takes too many minutes

My theory is that before very long every minute Dunleavy plays is a minute you'll wish McDermott (or possibly Snell) had played instead. I don't think we'll see much of McDermott and Dunleavy together, but it might be awfully fun if they did play some mega shooting lineups with Derrick Rose out there to see how big they could make the driving lanes.

That said, Thibs will always lean towards guys who can defend, and while Mike Dunleavy isn't a plus defender, he'll likely have enough in his veteran bag of tricks, long years of experience, and size to defend better than Doug McDermott initially. If nothing else, he'll at least have had another year in the scheme and will be in the right place through more time building up good habits.

This alone should land Dunleavy the starting spot at the beginning of the season which I'm fine with if we can re-evaluate it on Jan 1 and see if it still makes sense. Can we get a bonus put into Thib's contract for starting line up re-evaluation? Maybe we can us that long all-star layoff as a new mini training camp to re-earn your starting position?

Given that Dunleavy seems like a likely bet to start, you have to allocate at least 15 minutes to him minimum, but since he doesn't stink like Keith Bogans and might easily be better than Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich, it's quite possible that he'll earn quite a few more minutes.

So what have we got?

Out of our 60 remaining minutes, we can guess that Kirk Hinrich chews up 12. It could easily be more if Aaron Brooks proves he should play the backup PG minutes, but I'm going to guess Thibs would rather have Hinrich run the offense, so we'll keep it at 12 for now.

That leaves 48 minutes for McDermott, Snell, and Dunleavy. I'm initially betting on Dunleavy to play close to 28 minutes a game and one of Snell/McDermott to get pushed out of the rotation and just play scrub or matchup related minutes. That leaves about 20 minutes for whomever wins that competition.

I'd say McDermott should have the inside track given how much the Bulls like him. He's also gotten a head start on plenty of rookies by participating with the US select team which gave him some additional time working with Thibs this summer.

He won't claim all of the minutes though, because Thibs will want to go defense by default which means Snell will still get chances to make an impact.

Overall prediction:
PG: Rose 36, Hinrich 12
SG: Butler 36, Hinrich 12
SF: Dunleavy 28, McDermott 20

Snell will play 12-15 minutes a night but only appear in half the games, mostly covering for injuries, foul trouble, or situational matchups. If he proves himself he'll have the shot to unseat someone. Derrick Rose may also get some rest days in which case Hinrich/Brooks will take all PG minutes opening up some more SG minutes for Snell to grab.

The Bulls have plenty of depth which means the minute allocation could reasonably go in plenty of different directions. The question will now be whether that depth yields enough talent.

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  • Doug, I'm with you on: 1) McDermott should start, but 2) He won't.

    McDermott vs Snell: One is a high draft pick from a very talented draft class and comes into the league with high expectations. The other is a late pick in a crap draft and came into the league as a project.

    McDermott vs. Dunleavy: If McDermott isn't better than Dunleavy by playoff time, then why did the Bulls draft him so high? Why did they trade two picks to move up to get him? Put another way: McDermott BETTER be better than Dunleavy by playoff time or he was a bad pick. If we're going to ease rookies into the lineup, I'd rather have two guys from the draft class instead of one. McDermott is supposedly here in part because he can contribute immediately.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Great way to look at it in both cases.

  • I just came here to say that Thibodeau's management of Keith Bogans obviously injured you deeply, Doug. I'd like to apologize on his behalf. We need closure, man :)

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    The wounds with Bogans are deep simply because it was so inexplicable. You had three guys who were more capable on the roster who were all signed for more money.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Bogans is another of those guys that must have a very deep video library of coaches and league executives. Last year, when he should have been out of the league he got a full MLE deal from NJ just so that he could be included as salary cap ballast in the Garnett/Peirce/Terry deal. It isn't guaranteed but he is still on Boston's books right now for this season. It's hard to think of a guy who has stolen more money for more years than Bogans, this side of Bernie Madoff.

  • You're basically accepting mediocrity with Dunleavy getting so many minutes (still good for #2 in the East but no way you beat Cleveland). I have more faith in Thibs than this, and McDermott plays with much more poise than other rookies he's had (Teague, Snell, Butler).

  • Klank and Butler as our Wings. Agh... That isn't going to be a high scoring lineup. Also not so sure there isn't a double standard being made that McDermott is worthy of big minutes based on his summer league play but Snell is a buster despite his summer league play. I am with you though I highly doubt Snell develops into anything more than a fringe NBA player.

    But I will buy the McDermott hype when he shows he can bring it against NBA level competition until then I am not sold. Just reminds me way too much of all the Jimmy Butler is the SG of the future because he had a nice run in the summer league against busters playing zero defense. Jimmy is a nice player but he is what he is and that is not a scorer. Just seems like a bit too much homerism going on in regards to McDermott for my taste.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I don't think McDermott is deserving of minutes based on summer league play, but a combination of summer league play, college pedigree, draft position, and anticipated skill level.

  • In reply to Chad:

    McDermotts shooting stats in college are historically awesome, if not unprecedented, comparing him to Jimmy Butler is ludicrous. McD has the ability to put the shot in shooting guard, something that we haven't had since you know who, and I'm not talking about the baby bozohole.

    In fact if you liked/loved been Gordon, then how can you not be screaming from the highest hilltop that McBucketts should be our starting SG.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    ooops, for those of you who live to correct typo's that should have been "Ben", although it could just as easily have been, "has been". I guess that I should have "scene" that before I hit send, especially since I wasn't writing a movie review.

  • According to Synergy, Mike Dunleavy was the highest rated defender on the Bulls at 91st percentile, also held his man to lowest eFG%. So this may put the Dunleavy/McDermott starting line up to rest at least for now. I would agree that McDermott is by far a better offensive player than Dunleavy, but he will need to gain Thibs trust on defense. Also, remember Butler's rookie year and everyone saying he was not an NBA calibrar player, and here we are Butler is an indispensable wing player. And the reason why I am bringing this up to to consider the possibility of Snell to follow the same pattern as Butler. One think for sure we all agree, both Butler and Snell are hard working players and want to improve. So, I would not discard the possibility of Snell to have a breakout season either.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Dunleavy always played whomever the worst offensive wing player on the opposing team was, that guy typically is not going to score, so his individual defensive rating will be adjusted upwards for that reason.

  • fb_avatar

    Mike Dunleavy will be traded. Book it! The demand on Doug McDermott is so high that if he's able to equal or better Dunleavy in player efficiency, Dunleavy's days in a Bulls uni will be numbered. Management will not allow McDermott to play spot mins. They have to sell tickets, and next to Rose, the basketball universe is in love with Dougie Fresh.
    Personally, I can't wait to see who's better McDermott or Mirotic. Either way if they both produce at a high level, it'll make moving Dunleavy an easy choice.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I don't think playing McDermott more or less will impact finances. Winning will impact finances some, but tickets are all sold out already anyway.

    Rose is 80% of the meter on the ratings/money, everyone else combines to make up the final 20%

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Didn't we sell out every game the past 2 seasons, despite the fact that Rose only played 10 games. Some(maybe a good chunk of the season ticket base) of the Bulls attendance is still attributable to the Jordan era.

  • For all the exuberance about the Bulls depth, nobody can really figure out how the Bulls are going to get guys minutes. I think with the Bulls "going for it" and with Thibs max-defense lineups (heavy Butler/Butler, the development of the Bulls young players (McDermott, Snell, Mirotic) will be sacrificed.

    I dont mind rolling into the season with depth as injuries can always happen but I still think a trade is fundamental. Packaging up Snell with Dunleavy and how many ever 1st round picks it will take and getting a starting 2 guard like Gerald Green of Suns or C.J. McCollum is what this team needs. I think a Rose-Green-Butler-Gasol-Noah lineup with Brooks-Hinrich-McDermott-Mirotic-Gibson bench provides a strong 10. More importantly Green would provide the outside shooting, length, and defense needed to be the perfect complement to Rose. He's not the secondary ball-handler that McCollum would be but Green would be a great fit.

    The current Bulls puzzle still doesn't fit well and there's still a lot of hoping that some players will grow (Butler, Snell) and the rookies (McDermott, Mirotic) will contribute. That is a lot of IF's for a supposed championship contender. And Thibs doesn't seem like a parallel work plan type of coach - coaching a championship unit while also developing the next wave of young players.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Correction: heavy Butler/Gibson*

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    That's why I like the Dunleavy + Snell for Martin trade. Consolidates two guys into one much better guy who's available due to a somewhat dicey deal and a change in direction of the team he's on which makes him a poor fit.

    Martin's deal is still only three years though and averages under eight per year, so isn't too scary for a guy who's a high volume, high efficiency scorer.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I get your point, and you may be right.

    However, I think it makes more sense to see what the first two months of the season bring. Supposedly, Snell has been working his tail off during the off season, with Rose, etc, and this is the main reason he did so much better in summer league this year. If Snell continues to develops like some think he will, the Bulls will have their SG - on the cheap! Better a SG for $1 million per over the next three years than one for $8 million per. This is called Money Ball - getting the biggest bang for your buck.

    It is also possible that McDermott will turn into a very adequate defender at G while scoring 20+ points per game.

    Neither of these may hit, but why not see? If not, go for the SG in a trade in December. The Bulls have 2 1st round picks next year. Where are they going to play anyway? Trade for a shot at a ring.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I just can't see any scenario where "the Bulls will have their SG" in Snell. I'd be happy if he can develop into a rotation player.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Any and all of these moves just make it harder for McBucketts to get minutes, and to a lesser extent, Mirotic. The Bulls likely want to see what they have in the M&M boys before they make another move, at the trade deadline perhaps.

  • I've said it before and I'll say it again. The idea that Thibs refuses to play rookies in significant minutes early on is built on a foundation of sand. It's true, he has not played rookies early on(but you just said..), however, drawing a conclusion on this years rookies(Mirotic and McDermott) based on the past three to four years is borderline stupid. You absolutely cannot take how much a coach played a handful of late round draft picks and project how much he'll be willing to play what essentially amounts to two lottery picks from as previously mentioned, a deep draft. Butler, Snell, Teague; none of them came in even close to NBA ready; none of them were highly touted draft picks, none of them had played pro ball overseas like Mirotic, none of them competed and excelled playing NBA stars in the Summer before their rookie year. Thibs might very well be an idiot, and wont get McDermott or Mirotic out there as much as he should. But his approach with the Teagues and Tony Snell's of the world have zero bearing on whether or not that will be the case. It's apples and oranges, its McDermott and Teague for gods sake. How little I drove my backup Corolla has zero bearing on how much I'll drive my new CTS, in fact the only sound prediction you can make, is that I'll definitely drive it more.

    Doug, why you gotta do Dunleavy like that? Unlike Bogans, Dunleavy doesn't look like a bleeding sore in your starting lineup. I agree his veteranship and bag of tricks could easily lead to too many minutes for him, but Bogans? Come on man.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    People also forget that Taj started 70 games as a rookie, albeit because of injury and the fact that he could play D. Thibs is stubborn as a mule, and could well do exactly what Doug postulates, but he just might surprise us if the M&M boys are as good as advertised and can learn to play his defensive system quickly.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agreed, I worry about him playing Mirotic more as I think McDermott has the athleticism and try-hard to be a plus in Thibs defense.

  • I will stick by my prediction. Dunleavy starts, McDermott minutes increase thru the first 2 months. Either by a Dunleavy injury or the All-Star Break, McDermott will start.

    Dunleavy will get more overall minutes per game TO START THE SEASON. But, minutes will equal out between the two of them by weeks 6-8.

  • A lot of fans are placing too much stock on Snell to be that second scorer. Let's not forget that he was the 20th pick. Anyway on the positive side of things he cannot play much worse than he did last season. It's reasonable to expect improvement but don't be suprised if he's a non-factor. The Kawhi Leonard comparisons floating around the internet should probably stop as well.

  • On a separate note, I think Derrick's new nickname on Team USA should be ICE because that's how he's been spending a lot of his time with two bags of ice on his knees. Any concern?

  • Mcdermott will outside all of them.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I meant "outshine".

  • Rose out of practice again with knee soreness:

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