What have we learned from Tony Snell?

What have we learned from Tony Snell?

As I wrote yesterday, Tony Snell has gone from "guy I think is a complete bust" to "guy who looks like he can stick in the league". The transformation isn't so surprising given that he was a rookie, but he improved in several areas that I felt were fairly unlikely.

When I look at Doug McDermott, I don't see complete bust. I see a guy who has a real obvious NBA strength and some legitimate NBA skills that need to be ironed out. So when we look at Tony Snell and ask ourselves how he got from A to B it might be worth applying those lessons to McDermott (and to a lesser extent Mirotic).

Tony Snell got better because he played

Not 10 minute a game, but by playing big minutes in a game. Games where he got a chance to find his rhythm without fear of being taken out. Coincidentally, we saw the same thing from Nikola Mirotic whom struggled mightily playing 5-8 minutes a night but improved tremendously playing 20-30 when their were injuries.

He also played much better once inserted into a lineup with other players who don't suck so his role could decrease. All three of our young players started off set up to fail by being clumped together. It was almost as if Tom Thibodeau thought, let's see how I can create the worst situation imaginable for these guys for a month, prove they stink and then not have to people question me when I bench them.

With Snell playing along side starters at moments recently his role is reduced. He's not expected to do as much, his shot difficulty is down. He's able to make an impact and do the things he's better at with less responsibility.

How can we apply this to our rookies?

First, they need to play.

I recognize this is a season when we're striving to win a championship, so playing time shouldn't be gifted out to develop players. However, when Mike Dunleavy is out, Doug McDermott is his best replacement in terms of skills.

That's a time you can play him without hurting your team. It's a chance to play him when he could get some extended run with other good players. It was a period where the Bulls were getting their asses handed to them every night anyway, so it certainly wasn't going to cost you in the win loss column.

Stop playing Nikola Mirotic at the three.

Yes, it was a good thing to try, but it's not working, and the reasons why are pretty darn obvious. First, Mirotic doesn't do much to space the floor as a three relative to other threes. On to of that the guys guarding him can close out fast and defend the perimeter as their primary focus anyway.

You're taking his biggest strength and neutralizing it. He's not giving the Bulls any extra spacing as a SF nor is he creating any special problems for the opposing team. On the defensive end it's a wreck as well. Either Taj Gibson ends up guarding the three which pulls him away from his strengths, or Mirotic gets crushed by guys he has no hope of defending.

The Bulls are frequently running Gasol into the ground as it is, it shouldn't be a big problem to rest him for an extra five minutes a game to get Mirotic some consistent run in a position where he can succeed.

Showdown vs Cavs

This game doesn't look pretty on the onset. The Bulls will likely be missing Jimmy Butler who's listed as day to day with a shoulder strain. Kirk Hinrich is out, but that's probably not a hindrance of any kind.

If Butler can't go, the Bulls best answer for LeBron defensively is likely Tony Snell or Taj Gibson. Neither of those options sound particularly enticing to me.

Bulls interested in Arron Afflalo?

In news that will make many Bulls fans happy, Chicago is reportedly among the teams interested in trading for Arron Afflalo (thanks to CN71 for the link in the comments yesterday).

The Nuggets were quite excited to get two first rounders for Timofey Mozgov and are now looking for a big pay day on Afflalo, Chandler, or any other vets that aren't in their long term plans.

Either Chandler or Afflalo would be a nice upgrade for the Bulls, but matching salary is a problem, and I don't think Chicago can move Dunleavy in a trade and go the rest of the season without a great shooter. I simply don't trust Afflalo as a shooter given two of his last three seasons have been really bad.

That said, Dunleavy gets a much better percentage of good looks than Afflalo, and maybe Arron's percentages would improve considerably with better looks at the basket. He'd certainly upgrade the defense. It's hard to match salary without Dunleavy though McDermott can be thrown in his place and then maybe removes the need to include a pick.

That said, I'd like to see what the Bulls have in McDermott. I don't think a trade goes down primarily because the Bulls don't have five million in filler to send for Arron. If they did, then I think Chicago would likely be willing to give up the Kings pick and maybe their own to get him given that they just added two rookies last season and neither pick projects out to be a great player.

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  • Yes, by all means, let's bench the proven veteran and the the recently emerging youngster who's probably twice the defensive player for an unproven rookie whose main strength is offense. Because the bulls biggest weakness is offense right now....

  • Thanks for good comments on how rookies have not been used and how they can. T-Snell seems to have a high ceiling. Is he a guard or a small forward? If Affalo comes to Chi where does he play? We must also keep Mac and Mirotic --can coach recognize their prep is more important than regular season wins? I'd like to see Hinrich on the coaching staff training a player like Stauskas who is more affordable than Affalo and could back up Rose and Brooks. A developed bench can put the Bulls to where they belong as a potential championship team. Coach has to mature by thinking big graduating from micro managing to meet the changes that would make him a great coach. He has not learned from watching the leagues great coaches on court demeanor while still being a winner and not a winer.

  • Minutes are important but Tony wouldn't have put up this kind of run last year. He showed in Summer League he was much improved from the year before. I don't think he was ready for big minutes prior to this year and just saying he needed minutes to prove his skills I would have to disagree with.

    Here is a thought though does the sudden ascension of Tony Snell raise the question of how much of Jimmy Butlers increased stats are a product of the system? Perhaps the 40 minute wing player role is this years version of the Nate Robinson/JL3 stat machine role?

  • I still believe Tony Snell will become a solid rotation player for the Bulls. He has the physical abilities but only needs to get his mental abilities in order.

    On the Cavs/ Bulls showdown - At this stage, I don't think the Bulls can get any better with any trades. They need a healthy team and D. Rose to play near his MVP level coming playoff time to have a chance against the Cavs. Even with that, I don't think they have enough talent to beat the Cavs with L. James. This guy is just heads and shoulders better than any of the Bulls players and we can see how he toys with other teams. This makes me very mad, but it is the reality.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I agree that it's hard to foresee any trades helping the Bulls.

    Hard to disagree with your point about LBJ dominating the Bulls and the league. I still think that we can take him, but not sure how rational that thinking is.

  • Just some thoughts on the comments:

    - I don't think Tony Snell has a high ceiling, or at least, I don't see him becoming more than a rotation 3-and-D guy, and I'd be pretty happy with that. I don't see him ever developing the inside game and rebounding ability he'd need to be a legit starter.

    - I don't get the Stauskas fascination. If he's bad for the Kings, he's probably a bad NBA player. Why would he be good for the Bulls? They can try to develop him I guess, but it seems like he'd be nothing more than a shooter off the bench, might as well stick with McDoug for that role.

    - I don't think LeBron is all that great anymore, and Cleveland is definitely beatable, far more than the Heat were.

    - Have always liked Afflalo and he'd be an upgrade if they get him without having to give up much of anyone, but Bulls don't really have guys to dump. Trading Dunleavy for Afflalo won't make the team better. I wouldn't want to give up either McDermott or Snell for a rental.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    A few thoughts on your post, Roman.
    1) Snell. We stil do not know his ceiling, just like we did not know Butler's - for that matter, we still don't know Butler's ceiling. But we saw his potential last summer, and the scouts felt they saw it in college.
    2) Stauskas. The fascination is the potential. Simple. He's cheap. If the Bulls can develop him, he would be a steal. Moneyball - great value for the cost.
    3) I agree about LeBron. However, getting Mosgov has upped the team chemistry big time. They will be a tough out in a 7-game series.
    4) The Bulls do not have to match salaries, so I believe Kirk, Nazr, and Bairstow would do it. If not, insert Moore for Bairstow. Then include the Bulls' 1st round pick this season. Keep the Kings' pick. This is overpaying with the pick, but Denver is taking on Kirk's salary for next season, which is $2.8 million.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I would happily give the Kings two picks to take Hinrich off the team. Afflalo would be a nice bonus too.

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    In reply to Roman F:

    Lol! Well, maybe not two picks, but I would accept a bag of Jack's magic beans for Kirk.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm with you on Snell, obviously I was in the bust camp, so 3&D player off the bench would seem to be his ceiling, although he does have some ability to slash to the rim when there isn't too much traffic in the lane.

    I don't get the Stuaskis facination either, while McDNP wasn't on my radar at draft time, I was happy that the Kings took Stuaskis instead of McD, otherwise we might have ended up with him.

    Lebron isn't as physically dominant anymore, but he's in that veteran Kobe/Jordan phase, where he just knows what he needs to do to win, especially with talent around him. With the trades that they made they now have a near ideal team around him for this stage of his career. As I've said all along until we beat a Lebron team in the playoffs I have no confidence that we are actually able to do so. Nevermind the Wiz who have never come close to winning anything other than a series against us without Rose.

    If you are willing to give up a first, Afflalo is attainable for the corpsedog, Nazr and Moore, assuming that Denver will take back that crap as the price of picking up an additional first to take the next Nurkic.

  • With Butler dinged up and Hinrich out maybe, just maybe, Snell develops enough consistency to give us the added 3D off the bench we need at the wing. I hope Thibs will play Niko more at PF again down the stretch to get him going so that he's ready to contribute come playoff time AND rest Gasol/Noah/Taj. I dont see McDoug contributing til next year at this point. This seems like our best shot this year.

    I'll put my head down and wait for RW to destroy my hopes and dreams in a later comments :-))))

  • In reply to CN71:

    If anything Thibs seems to be going strictly with a 3 big man rotation, actually increasing their minutes.

  • I agree with you on Snell and Niko.

    You are probably right on McD as well.

    It's hard to see them having a shot this year without adding the SG. The FO has a week to get it done.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    It's hard to see them having a shot this year without adding the SG, and without Rose playing like an all-star, and without Noah playing like his old self. Adding a SG would be nice but won't matter if the other two things don't happen.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I completely agree on your points about Rose and Noah. But either way they still need to try and upgrade the team (wing). Do you try more or try less depending on whether you think Rose and Noah will be playing well enough at the end of the year. I think you have to assume they are going to be playing well enough to have a chance and go for it. Cuz if you guess wrong then you wasted a good shot at a title no matter how small the odds

  • The most interesting part of this years trade deadline is going to be if the Bulls trade Taj or not. I don't see any big moves coming, but that would be the biggest move and biggest gamble.

  • If Tony Snell shoots 37% or even 36% for the year on volume 3's of three attempts per game and up and can at least rebound 4.5 per 30 minutes... I'm all in baby!!!!!!!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    OK somewhat kidding, but that would be a legit rotation guy IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Snell also went 5 for 5 on 2s the other night, besides 4 for 6 on 3s - so he can shoot, at least when he's in the zone.

    So 45% and 37% plus some RBs and D is not unreasonable to hope for.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Guess what? Same stats tonight for Snell! Another 5 for 5 on 2s. Maybe the Bulls do not need the SG after all. If it's Snell, it took long enough!

    BTW, Butler's loss for the night hurt the Bulls more than Love's loss hurt Cleveland. Verey solid win, won every quarter.

  • Dough wrote: "Kirk Hinrich is out, but that's probably not a hindrance of any kind." I can't stop laughing about that one!

    This George Karl hiring is pretty curious... It's extremely unlikely that they sneak into the playoffs out west given their current record. Also, Karl's coaching could pull the Kings together and right the ship... thereby giving the Bulls a first round pick this year at 11. They are in the 6 spot right now, but 2 losses away from the 10 spot and another loss from the 11 spot, so it's pretty tight. Karl could easily make this difference over the remaining 30 games.

    If I'm the Kings, I'm tanking this season, attaining a top 5 pick, and hiring Karl next season.

  • Afflalo slots in at the 2, Jimmy slides to the 3.

    You can move Hinrich and McDermott to match salaries (Which I hate because we gave the Nugs 2 picks for McD and then turn around and give him right back, but oh well). Throw in our 1st round pick (NOT Sacramento's) and some cash to cover Hinrich's salary for the remainder of this season and next (we may be just shy of that total but still gets you close enough to where they essentially get Hinrich for free).

    AA has a player option for next year so Denver will have to take our 1st for what may end up being a rental.

    This trade allows us to keep Dunleavy for the rest of this year and makes our rotation:

    1: Rose, Brooks
    2: Afflalo, Snell, Butler
    3: Butler, Dunleavy, Snell
    4: Pau, Gibson, Niko
    5: Noah, Pau, Gibson, Nazr

  • In reply to The Butler did it!:

    Sounds great if possible and Denver is interested in such a package.

  • In reply to CN71:

    Not really,

    As CN71 sort of mentioned himself, including McDNP and our #1 would be like trading 3 #1 picks for a rental of Afflalo.

    Afflalo himself isn't worth 3 #1 picks even if he was locked into a good contract for several years.

    That seems like a high price to pay even to get rid of the corpsedog, who already cost us the #17 pick(Kevin Seraphin) once before.

  • In reply to The Butler did it!:

    I don't think that you have to give up McDNP and a first, thats 2 firsts including a lottery pick. Cleveland gave up 2 future firsts(very likely late round firsts) for a center(not a less valuable wing) they desperately needed and one who can't opt out. It's either a first or McDNP.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If the Bulls can add Afflalo or Henderson without giving up anyone in the rotation that "The Butler Did It!" posted above and I think they should roll the dice and go for it for sure.

  • As for the Afflalo trade, I believe Doug posted that we would need to send out about $4.6 million in salary to get him, I calculate $4.933 million based on the 150% plus $100K rule, if that applies here.

    Unfortunately, that is a big difference in this case, because Hangdog, Nazr and Bairstow add up to $4.685 million(thats if Nazr actually counts for his full salary vs the league subsidized amount). To get to $4.933 you would have to include Brooks, Moore or Snell instead of Bairstow. I guess giving up Moore isn't a big deal. Clearly, you have to give up at least one first round pick to get them to take back all that crap, since they probably cut the corpsedog and Nazr before they even show up.

    I doubt that Denver would have any interest in Dunleavy, but they might go for McDNP, but I doubt that we want to do that, so you have to give up the 1rst round pick. Even if Afflalo stays are the Bulls willing to pay him $8 million per or perhaps more going forward? I'm not sure that they are.

    A pick in the high teens or low 20's for a rental on Afflalo, what do you think Bulls fans. We clearly need another starting caliber wing, what's it worth to you.

    P.S. As I keep mentioning, if Afflalo doesn't work out, there's always Gerald Henderson, $6 million per but also has a player option for 2015.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    So both Afflalo and Henderson can bail and likely will at the end of the season.

    I believe Kirk has a player option for $2.8 million next season, so I don't think Denver could cut him - which might be a deal breaker.

    But the Bulls might be the only team offering a 1st rounder - if indeed they are. So Denver just might bite on Kirk, Nazr, and Bairstow, plus the pick. If necessary, Moore could go instead of Bairstow.

    But that's it. I would not include Snell and for sure not McDermott!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Agreed, you cant give up Snell or McD for a rental. If they can do it for the scrubs and picks I think they should make that much of a gamble tho.....if not now when? When Jo, Pau and Taj are even older and slower? :-)

  • How about a 3 way trade sending Gibson to a contender, and bringing us back Afflalo, then signing Andray Blatche for depth?

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    I disagree with Niko not being able to play the SF pos. Although, he looks better playing the 4, his skillset is more suited as a 3.
    From what I see, If Pau, Noah, or Taj did a better job protecting the paint Niko wouldn't have to fight through so many screens to stay with an athletic SF.
    If there's any one player who's due to have a breakout 2nd half of the season it's Mirotic. He's gained experience in two totally different positions this yr. His confidence is only going to go higher. I expect Niko to be one of the glue guys on the team going forward.
    Aaron Afflalo would be a good pickup for the Bulls because he's a pretty good defender, and a pretty good on offense. I wouldn't mind if the Bulls traded Taj for AA and a future draft pick. Throw in Kirk Hinrich too just to free up time for E'Twaun, McBuckets, and Snell to play more mins.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    If AA wasn't a rental for 30 games I could see making that trade too. You'd be getting a solid 2 way player at SG and freeing up time for Niko to play more. But giving up Taj for a rental is just way too much.

  • By the by, the Rockets shot 9-45 from 3 in their loss to the Clips last night, and DeAndre Jordan had his 3rd double (double double) 20&20 game in the last 6.

  • It's amazing how much better the team looks running an actual offense rather than the iso crap. Have to wonder how much that plays into Snell doing better on offense.

    Would have given you a million to one a month ago on Snell would outplay LeBron.

    Definitely need to get more Niko/Doug out there and see if they grow with the responsibility too. There's really no excuse for Hinrich to play any minutes at all at this point unless Rose or Brooks is injured.

    I definitely don't support an Afflalo trade, even though I was the biggest cheerleader for such a trade in 2011. In 2015 you've got to develop what you have.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Snell has been huge lately. Funny after the Monday game some said Snell was going to come back to earth! Well, he duplicated his shooting again tonight! If he had shot 40% and 33% tonight, he would have scored only 10 points, so he has been huge.

    He has a nice shooting stroke, so now his potential is beginning to show. He does not need to be an All-star, just a solid starter, for a big upgrade to the Bulls title chances - and not just this year.

    I wonder what would happen to McDermott if he started getting 20 mpg. I agree with you, Shakes, need to develop M & M also.

  • Break up Tony Snell!

  • Great game by Snell. I think having Dunleavy does space the offense better. And Dunleavy is a big guy. So his help defense is important as well. I suggested a couple of days ago that the players needed to play better. And DRose needed to get more assists than missed shots along with less turnovers. So look at what has happened over the last 4 game win streak.

    I still like keeping Butler at 2 guard and a really big small forward who plays good help defense and is an offensive threat. With Affalo, the Bulls actually get smaller. A couple of years ago Affalo would have been a great pick-up. but not now If anything the Bulls need to improve their defense and getting a really big small forward who is big enough to help on power forwards etc. is the main thing the Bulls need.

    They don't need to worry about pushing MCd right now unless his defense especially help defense gets better. Give him time like Butler needed. And like Snell obviously needed. The real issue is finding Mirotic's confidence and getting a tall defensive-minded small forward who can help out on defense like Dunleavy and be a three point threat.

    I like moving Hinrich out of the rotation and making Snell and Brooks the back-up guards to Butler and Rose. Taj and Mirotic are the back-ups for Noah and Gasol. So the only position is Dunleavy's and we have seen what an important role he plays in spacing on offense and help defense. Eventually, McD is expected to fill that role. But I'm not worried about rushing McD right now as Butler and Snell can balance the minutes backing up Dunleavy. I just want everybody to get healthy and focusing on defense. Tonight the Defense won this game (Lebron's turnovers) and good spacing on offense.

  • The one thing I learned, is it now takes two injuries instead of one to see the floor under Thibs. The coach who doesn't know the definition of big picture.

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