Free Agent Targets: Point Guards - Part 2

From yesterday: Intro, and a breakdown of Cory Joseph.

Moving along to part two, focusing on a couple of point guards with a Houston Rockets flavor...

Patrick Beverley

As a Chicago native, and just 26, Beverley fits the age profile of the team for both the now and then. A sensational defender, his ability on defense will complement the second unit (and Rose) perfectly. Unlike Aaron Brooks, who is as hot and cold as they come, if things are not working out offensively for Beverley, he is still a playable option for Coach Hoiberg within a rotation on a consistent basis. The tenacity and effort he brings to his on-ball defense is something only few guards in the league can rival, and with less required from him offensively, he can focus his energy on defense, which is the end of the court where he can truly be a game changer.

Though a point guard - and weirdly enough – the 2015 Taco Bell Skills Challenge winner, we shouldn’t be expecting much playmaking or dribble penetration that forces defences to collapse, leading to passing lanes for his teammates. Averaging only 3.4 assists per game in 2014-15, he will not floor anyone with his vision. To be fair, playing next to James Harden, who acted as a pseudo point guard within the Houston offense, the volume was not there for him to showcase this side of his game. Nevertheless, he is not someone who should be expected to come in and run set pieces or create good offense off pick and rolls.

What we can expect offensively is an above average three-point shooter. In his three seasons in the league, he has made 243 total buckets from deep, and in the process, sporting a very respectable 36.1% on the long ball. This makes Beverley a legitimate ‘3 & D’ option at point guard, something which is rare in this league giving the amount of guards that are more than comfortable giving minimal or inconsistent play on that end of the floor.

Outside of the three point shot, his offensive game is quite limited. To date, he has attempted 1,202 field goals in his short career. Over half of that number (56.1%) has come from behind the arc. Now, the Houston Rockets are known for their willingness to chuck away from deep, so perhaps this number is slightly inflated and doesn’t truly highlight what other skills he may have, though his field goal percentage from 3-16 feet (38.1%) suggests he is not comfortable working closer to the basket outside of clear line drives.

Another random and underrated skill Beverley possesses is his ability to rebound as a guard. Often the smallest man on the floor, height did not offer any constraints. With 4.2 rebounds per night, Beverley would rank twelfth amongst all point guards. This is certainly a notable achievement, and further proof that he can offer a team an unorthodox option that will bother opposing squads.

Currently a starter with the Rockets, one would have to imagine he would like to remain as one. It will be interesting to see what contract the Rockets are prepared to offer Beverley. Daryl Morey is prone to chasing the big names, so cap space will be imperative for the Rockets if they want to land a big name, therefore trading pieces and letting guys walk may happen. It already has begun with rumors doing the rounds on draft night about Terrence Jones being made available. Another thing that could hurt the Rockets is timing. In pursuit of the bigger names, will other teams swoop in and prioritize Beverley before Morey does?

One would have to imagine he remains a Rocket given the aging back-ups on the roster in Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni. I also have reservations about the Rockets landing a name like Love or Aldridge, so they may bring the band back. Should the unlikely occur, and the Rockets do get a big name, another potential suitor would likely be a Texas rival. The Dallas Mavericks will have cap space, and with the Rajon Rondo experiment failing miserably, they’re in the market for a point guard. There clearly is an obvious connection between Beverley and Parsons, with the free agent already on record stating his former Rocket teammate had been in contact with him about a potential reunion.

Of course, there is also our friends in New York. The groupies of the NBA, they will take anything with a name. Good luck to them.

Is Beverley a realistic option for the Bulls? Probably not. We would need to find a way to convince him to accept a lesser role, and likely far less in both annual and total contract value.

The fit would be great, though I wouldn’t bank on it. That said, we're interested...

Jeremy Lin

The name Jeremy Lin carries a lot of stigma with NBA fans.

People are not over Linsanity. It reached annoyingly epic levels, none of which Lin himself could control, which unfortunately, he bears the brunt of.

The Houston experiment didn’t work. He couldn’t co-exist with James Harden. As someone who likes to dominate and own the ball at point guard, he was never going to win that battle internally and often found himself spotting up at the three point line, which clearly wasn’t his game.

On an inflated deal given to him by Daryl Morey, Lin would find himself traded to the Lakers in order for the Rockets to create cap space. He would go on to team up with a former Bull who shall not be named, play in a system where defense was optional, and where gaining a relationship with Byron Scott would be difficult.

Now a free agent, it is clear that Lin’s role in this league is as a reserve guard, meaning he is going to need to accept a pay cut. That’s the type of statement that makes Bulls management very happy.

Despite public perception, Lin is actually a good NBA player. In a crappy situation in L.A, he put up some very solid numbers. 11.2 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and he made 36.9% of his threes.

As mentioned, Lin likes the ball in his hands. Linsanity became an actual thing because of that very fact. Anthony missed games. Stoudemire missed games. Once they returned, opportunity was diminished, so was the hype.

With this very basic thought in mind, if Lin is going to be your key ball handler, you’re not going to be a good team. He isn’t good enough to be that guy. As your back-up point guard, a role he needs to accept, he is more than suitable to run a second unit.

Though turnover prone, they come from his willingness to get into the paint and create passing lanes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something that needs improvement. Perhaps at times he forces the issue and bites off a little too much, so that part of his game needs to be managed closely. All you have to do is stop him from watching Steve Nash YouTube highlights pregame and it should be all right.

As a willing passer and someone who likes challenging the big men of the game at the rim, Lin can run an offense within a pick and roll, a skill that shouldn’t be undervalued. With more of this basketball expected in Chicago under Hoiberg, that could certainly be a weapon if harnessed correctly.

Lin has a very basic offensive game. That is meant as a compliment. He is either going to try and get to the hoop, or he is taking a jump shot from 20 feet or further out. That’s his game. Perhaps he takes too many mid-range shots at the rate he hits them at (31.9%), but at the age of 26, with an improving three-point shot, you would hope that would be something he could be influenced to improve under Hoiberg and his system requirements.

The pitfalls with Lin will be two things; his willingness, or more accurately, his ability to play defense, as well as his ability to keep improving off ball and to be an option to put next to Derrick Rose.

Do not expect good defense. Based on his physical characteristics, he likely will never be good on this end. His new team needs to accept that, and with the Bulls going backwards on defense last season, fit will be a point of consideration. The positive? Surely he couldn't be any worse than Aaron Brooks?

Working and playing off the ball will also be a hurdle. The best we’ve seen from Jeremy Lin has always been when he owns the ball. It’s often been on bad teams when this has occurred. That is not overly encouraging. It didn’t go well with Harden, so will it work with Rose & Butler?

Lin will come cheap, or at least cheaper than his previous $8.4 million price tag. Does that mean he will be in our price range?

I would expect the point guard to find a new home well after the main moves have been signed, sealed and delivered. The mini mid-level still may be too low, but with the Knicks and Kings being the main suitors for his services to date, perhaps he would take a flyer on a team that isn't completely clueless?

He may be an option for the Bulls. Time will tell. From a pure contract perspective, $3.4 million is a reasonable deal. This may be the case, but why do I still sit here, with several questions around fit and role, and worry that it may become a problem?

Stay tuned for part three, where I look at the remaining point guard options for the Bulls. Spoiler alert - it's not pretty.

Comments

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  • Mark,

    I'm enjoying your analysis on the point guards as well as the prior entry about Snell stepping forward. in a post yesterday, I mentioned potential point guards: Brooks, Lin, Terry, Larkin, Mo Williams, etc. I did not list restricted free agents like Joseph or Beverly because I don't see the Bulls getting involved in bidding wars.

    Instead, I saw them signing someone as an unrestricted free agent similarly to what they have done the last couple of years with Nate Robinson, DJ Augustyn, and this year Aaron Brooks. I see Larkin as very similar to DJ Augustyn. He was drafted high and was a tough guard in college. He has not received a lot of opportunity and he is young and athletic. I'm hoping for another surprise.

    Also, I saw that Belinelli is a free agent but there are a lot of people after him as well, but I would not mind bringing him back as he can play off DRose and Butler for a few minutes as needed and work at bringing the ball up as a big point guard. But all of this is unlikely except going after Larkin or stealing Mo Williams from Cleveland or maybe Lin as you have analyzed.

    But my real question to you. We are all on point about forgetting about Hinrich. But what about E'tuan Moore. Can you include him in your analysis? He played point at Orlando. He has size, guts, and talent. Why not use the resource sitting right there? I'd love to hear your analysis of him versus the realistic options out there.

  • The guys on my list are who I would want in a perfect world. I've acknowledged that its very unlikely we land Joseph, Bev etc, but a man has to have a dream.

    When part III comes out, there will be more realistic and plausible options on it.

    I'm a big Moore fan. He has game that is waiting to be utilised. Just a steady, steady player.

    I'd be more than comfortable in having E back as the 5th guard on the roster.

    Rose, Butler, Snell, MMLE guy & Moore isn't the worst guard rotation going around. Moore should have been in front of Hinrich last season.

    Thibs!!!

    If he remains a Bull, a write up on him could be fun.

    Thanks for the response.

  • In reply to Mark Karantzoulis:

    Thanks. I hope Moore can get a chance with Hoiberg.

  • Mark,

    Nice job on the FA PG write-ups. Some Bulls fans may remember that Pat (aka Pat the Pest) Beverly was waived by the Bulls in favor of...wait for it....JL3. Too bad; a local Chitown kid could have been the team's backup PG for the past few seasons. I agree with you that he's probably out of the Bulls' price range if he were made available.

    Lin is an intriguing option. The interwebs would have you believe he's "trash", etc. but I think he can flourish as a backup here especially in Hoiberg's offense. I wouldn't mind seeing him in black and red at all.

  • The Bulls might as well just waive Hinrich. Sometimes in this league you have guys who are one trick pony's that can always find a role because they're good at that one thing. Take Dunleavy for instance, he's a 3 point specialist that can space the floor and also carry his own weight in team defense. That's his role without question. Then you have guys like Hinrich that are no trick pony's that really isn't good at anything other than being in the way or taking up space. Last season it seemed like every time he touched the ball something bad happened. The point I'm getting at is the fact that we still have a need for a backup guard when we already have one signed means the one we have isn't doing his job. Therefore he should be cut loose because he's only in the way.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The scariest thing about the Hinrich situation is that the Bulls tend to see him as a solid shooting guard.......talk about terrifying. He can't shoot, score or defend 2s. He's at best a third string point guard that should be on the vet min. I have no idea what Garpax see in this situation because they are taking minutes away from Snell and McDermott at the wing rotation because the coaches for some reasons believe he deserves the minutes and I'm afraid Hoiberg will make the same mistake.

  • The Lakers basically talking Aldridge out of joining them is pretty comical.

    "And all of Twitter laughed, and laughed, as the Lakers sat holding their salary-cap space for the second season in a row, and third straight offseason with a failure to land a star."

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/the-lakers-lost-out-on-lamarcus-aldridge-by-being-the-lakers-222248637.html

    I thought the failure to attract free agents only happened to the worst FOs like the Bulls? I thought the Lakers were the type of team the Bulls should emulate? I've read it here over and over again.

    At least the Lakers' star tries to recruit, unlike ours, but he doesn't appear to be any good at it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I think you have FOs confused with Organizations, because GarPax is probably on par with Mitch/Jim Buss. The Lakers may have overplayed their "brand" in pitching to LMA, but they'll still be a better draw than the Bulls for free agents. Oh, and active "recruiting" is overrated and $$ trumps all. Case in point chasing Melo.

  • Knicks just got Afflalo at 2 years for $16MM. I might be alone but I'd rather have AA on that deal than Dunleavy on his.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I don't know, at least we know what we are getting from Dunleavy. Afflalo didn't work at all in Portland. A year ago I would have agreed. Now I just don't know. Is he over rated?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I might agree with you, if it weren't for the second year, again taking $8 million out of our max cap space for next summer. I would rather have signed Dunleavy to a one year deal and payed him twice as much than given him the 3 year(2+1) that he got.

  • Both of these guy are players I would like to root for. Beverly because he plays so hard and Lin because he is such a good guy that came from nowhere to succeed. I feel like the Bulls will be looking for another one year stint, though, and I doubt eather guy wants that.

  • IMO Beverly is a cheap shot player, and as for his intelligence, professionalism, and over all attitude I can't see a S.A. for example picking this guy up. I'd have to pass. I like Green, Belinelli, possibly Stuckey if he's a decent team guy. I'd have to look at Lin's numbers, but my instincts would be no thanks.

  • I've always liked Beverly and Patty Mills, especially at any point over the past several years instead of continuing to resign the freaking Hangdog.

    Mills is already locked up on a really good(cheap) contract in S.A. and given the exploding contracts being tossed around already this summer Beverly has to be out of our range, especially now that we only have the MMLE left.

    With guys like Aminu(who could have filled a need for the Bulls at starting SF) signing for 4yrs/$30 million it looks like even the full MLE won't get you much more than a scrub. Beverly has to be looking at the full MLE as his worst case scenario. I could see him easily getting Aminu money.

    Another guy I wanted the Bulls to look into when I thought they might be able to finagle a full MLE into their cap was Jay Crowder, apparently the Celts resigned him for 5yrs/$35 million, again more than the MLE.

    I guess that the MLE is nearly worthless until next year when it should go up dramatically with the increasing cap to something in the $7-8 million dollar range and maybe even $9 million the following summer.

    I wouldn't mind Jeremy Lin at all as our backup PG, can even he be had for the MMLE. Can't we just trade the Hangdog for him, please!

    Personally, I doubt that the Bulls even use the MMLE since as a tax payer it will cost them nearly $8 million in cash and further reduce their remaining cap space below max level next summer. I expect them to wait until the smoke has cleared like they did last year and pick up a vet minimum player off the scrap heap.

  • Exactly none of these guys are options for the bulls' cap situation.

  • For those of you who cannot get enough doom and gloom, here's what Rosenbloom, the master of doom and gloom has to say.

    Unfortunately, unless you are a cockeyed optimist, he's not really wrong.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblog/ct-bulls-jimmy-butler-contract-rosenbloom-20150702-column.html

  • Well, there go 2 more guys at more than the MLE that I would have liked for the Bulls, at least before we drafted Portis.

    Ed Davis to Portland 3yrs/$20 million
    Brandon Wright to Memphis 3yrs/$18 million

    Even Wright's deal sounds like a bit more than the full MLE, but maybe that's the new amount based on the cap coming in higher than previously thought, perhaps $69 million.

    That only leaves Jordan Hill among the fringe bigs, unless you count R Lopez and K Koufos as fringe bigs.

  • I guess that Monta Ellis is worth $11 million per no matter what salary cap era we are in, as Indy signs him 4yrs/$44 million. I believe his first big money deal from GS was 6yrs/66 million. I'm actually a bit surprised that he beat the deal that he opted out of and that Indy wanted him given his somewhat prickly personality. Supposedly turned down $48 million from Sacto, where he would have fit in perfectly. Would not have minded if Ellis and Rondo ended up in Sacto so that they could get out of the bottom 10 next year, but not make the playoffs.

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