Let's ignore the fact that the big men depth available at this pick was pretty awesome. Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, and Rudy Gobert were on the board when we took Snell. However, the Bulls were looking for wing depth and when looking at wings available Snell just might be the man.
His biggest competition is the man taken at pick 24, Tim Hardaway Jr. He was the guy many Bulls fans wanted instead of Snell and definitely had the stronger rookie season. However, with a little development and time, Tony Snell might just be the stronger prospect now.
Tim Hardaway has a much higher usage rate. He scores more per minute than Snell by a significant part. A good chunk of this is the role both players play. Hardaway is on a Knicks team missing Carmelo Anthony. A team that needs scorers.
Snell isn't a natural volume scorer, and he's playing on a team that isn't asking that of him.
However, when it comes to volume scoring, Hardaway doesn't seem like a particularly good player. At 17.2 points per 36 minutes his scoring rate is good but hardly special, and his TS% of 50.9% is in the god awful range which limits the value of that volume scoring.
Hardaway's performance may improve in terms of efficiency on a better team, but his volume likely dips in this scenario as well. His three point percentage has fallen to 34% this season, down from 36.3% last season which falls inline with a player missing a quality scoring option next to him who takes more difficult shots.
That said, would you trade Snell for Hardaway right now?
Snell's three point percentage is up to 40.5% this season. His TS% is up to 56.6%. Snell definitely benefits from having quality options around him at times, but he's frequently done the most damage when he's had to take on a larger role and has more touches.
Snell has also improved leaps and bounds on the defensive end. It's hard to judge Hardaway as a defender on a broken defensive team, but I'm still going to give the edge to Snell given that he's statistically playing better defense and has the physical attributes that I'd expect him to be the better defender as well.
Tony Snell was a player that I felt the Bulls totally whiffed on. They reached (relative to mock draft rankings) to grab him at 20. He was projected as a mid second rounder on most of the mocks. However, much like Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, Chicago may have found a diamond in the rough with Snell.
Looking through the rest of the guard crop taken after Snell, I don't see any other players experiencing more success either. While a draft typically can't be judged well until three to four years after the draft, as we near the end of year two, Snell looks like the best wing player available to me.
Snell is still a bit up and down, but it looks like he'll stick in the future and fill the role of three point shooter / defender that the Bulls were aiming to fill with some upside to become even better.
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