It's time for another SB Nation theme day, and this one takes a look back at 2012 free agency. The SB Nation NBA blogs will be looking at which signings have panned out, which have been a disappointment, or perhaps both. For the Bulls, I'll be going through and giving an overview of how each free agent acquisition has performed so far.
We here at Blog a Bull obviously made a pretty big deal of how this offseason of "basketball decisions" went down, so it only seems natural to do it this way. I will also provide a grade for each player, which is based on both performance and contract.
So without further adieu, we might as well start with the man who has drawn the most ire on this here site, and that would be...
He was the offseason priority. He was the dude who hard-capped the roster. He was Derrick Rose's first "recruit" (sobs). Matt and I have given Kurt a really hard time ever since the signing, and much of it has been for good reason. He's shooting just over 36 percent from the field. His defense, which is supposed to be a "strength," is somewhat overrated (although he's Kyrie's Kryptonite!). And the guy just can't seem to go a week without getting hurt. Hinrich sat out practice yesterday with a "cut elbow," which is his sixth different injury of the season. Or is it seven? I can't keep track. He's just playing too damn hard.
I could probably go on and on about Hinrich's failures, but I will actually give him a little credit. He has done a pretty respectable job "running" the offense, as his 7.2 assists per 36 minutes shows. He has a solid net rating of 3.6. And after starting really slowly, he's got that three-point percentage up over 37 percent, which is around his career average.
All in all, Hinrich would have been a nice signing at the minimum. Hell, it wouldn't even be that bad if the Bulls got him at the mini-MLE (although I preferred they just kept C.J. Watson at essentially that price). But the fact that the Bulls made him such a priority, and the fact that they ended up using a good portion of the full MLE on him because of some bidding war with the Bucks, will always paint this signing in a bad light to me. And don't get me started on the 2013-14 shooting guard stuff.
Once Kyle Korver was traded for a trade exception that won't get used, the Bulls needed to add a shooter. They found one in the form of Belinelli, who was signed for one year at the bi-annual exception (which also technically would have hard-capped the team, but Kurt was already on board).
I didn't know much about Belinelli coming in, but he seemed like a solid shooter who was a bit more versatile offensively then Korver. None of that was on display in the early going, as Belinelli was mostly useless the first month of the season, almost falling out of the rotation at one point.
But when Richard Hamilton went down (shocking!), Belinelli stepped into the starting lineup and upped his game big time. Marco scored in double figures nine straight games, and while he has slowed down a bit with Hamilton back, he has still played pretty well off the bench.
While Belinelli's overall numbers don't look that great, he's shooting nearly 42 percent from three-point range, which would be a career-high if it holds. And according to Synergy, he's 61st in the league in PPP, and an impressive 13th as the pick-and-roll ball handler. When Hamilton inevitably gets traded, I feel pretty comfortable with Marco taking over the starting duties.
Oh, Nate. I wrote about my love/hate relationship with Nate earlier in the season, and how I have come to grips with his bi-polar tendencies on the court. It's been quite the thrill ride with the little guy, and he certainly knows how to put on a show in garbage time.
In all seriousness, at a minimum contract that wasn't even fully guaranteed to begin with, I don't think the Bulls could have asked for much more from Nate. He's single-handedly won some games with his sorely-needed shot-making ability, and his 17.08 PER is good for third on the team. Yes, he has also single-handedly lost some games, his defense is mostly atrocious and he's extremely streaky. But when he's on, he may be the most fun player to watch on the team. Just waiting for that first dunk.
Mohammed had big shoes to fill with the departure of Omer Asik, and let's just say he hasn't filled them adequately. Mohammed got Stacey King all excited with some flashes of competence in preseason, but it turned out to be smoke and mirrors.
Mohammed's play has been nothing short of horrible, which is why he barely plays at all. He's shooting 16.7 percent from the field and has a PER of 2.7. Yes, 2.7. He can't move defensively, so effectively defending the rim is out of the question. He's still a decent rebounder, but that's about it. The Bulls really could use another big.
Really not much to say here. For a team that lacks three-point shooting, one would think that Vlad Rad could see the court a little bit, but that simply hasn't been the case. He hasn't even played 30 minutes this season, and I can't recall one meaningful minute out of those handful. He's pretty much Brian Scalabrine, but nowhere near as fun. At least he's only making the minimum.