Since the season ended for the Bulls, this is the questions that's been lingering in my mind the most, ignoring the whole Thibodeau debacle. Just how far can the likes of Tony Snell, Nikola Mirotic, and Doug McDermott go if given the minutes and the chance to develop? Mirotic and Snell obviously both have a serious leg up on McDermott in the minutes department (2,643 minutes for Snell, 1,654 for Mirotic, and 321 for McDermott), but neither has the shooting touch nor craftiness, which should serve McBuckets well in his second season. To be fair, this was probably a dropped ball for Thibs during this season. We all understand the concept of winning, and getting a high seed, but 321 minutes? That's 2nd round draft pick volume.
So I guess on some level, we're sort of forced to turn the debate slightly back to Thibs and the possible hire of Fred Hoiberg. My colleague over at BBallBreakdown, Kelly Scaletta, wrote this piece for Today's Fast Break which details Hoiberg's potential impact on the Bulls. What's interesting to note about that breakdown, is how one could see McDermott, Snell, Mirotic, Jimmy Butler, and even Derrick Rose thrive in such a free-flowing offense. Lots of screens, lots of movement, pin-downs, early shot clock scoring, weakside spacing, it really has everything.
But more so than the perfect system, these guys will have to be mentally ready to play. McDermott is a huge question mark. No one really knows if his confidence took a hit due to all the benching this season. Mirotic struggled in the playoffs, and had some pretty remarkable bricks when left wide open. Snell couldn't carry his offensive efficiency over from the regular season, and looked lost when he shot was off. All worrying signs,
Summer League in Las Vegas is always nice to look forward to, but even if someone dominates, it doesn't necessarily mean it will carry over. Case in point:
But even so, it'd make sense giving Snell a third try in that setting, especially alongside McDermott and possibly even Mirotic, who is unlikely to participate given his professional resumé. Having those three play alongside each other, even in a Summer League setting, could prove somewhat beneficial in the long-term, as they probably will share the floor together next season at various times. Plus, it'd be especially good for McDermott in getting some actual game time under him. The last time he played more than 10 minutes in a game was March 13th, which will be almost four full months separated from Summer League action. He needs this.
Going back to expectations however, obviously coaching plays a factor. Projecting any sort of statistical output is damn-near impossible, but there are some goals I'd be expecting to see if I'm the Bulls:
- McDermott being able to play six to eight minute stretches without hurting the defense, and presenting himself as a scoring option, especially from deep.
- Mirotic settling down and taking more calculated shots, instead of either rushing them or turning them down. Simple basketball is the name of the game for him.
- Snell playing more on the ball. His handles aren't elite, but he's capable of creating offense off the bounce every now and then. If this could become a permanent attribute to his game, the second unit would be better off.
Which areas are you guys hoping to see improved from these three?