Scouting Reports on the new Bulls

Four new Bulls, only two of them useful.

Some Hollinger scouting on them all after the jump.

Hakim Warrick:

Scouting report: Warrick is a quick power forward with long arms but a thin frame. He's a below-average defensive player because he lacks the strength to battle against big power forwards on the blocks. Despite good leaping ability, he's also a mediocre rebounder and shot blocker. He needs to improve his pick-and-roll defense and should be doing better given his quickness and length. If he did, it would help offset his lack of physicality in the paint.

Offensively, he loves to set up at the elbows, especially on the right, and either shoot a jumper or make a quick drive and draw a foul. He'll also post up against smaller players when he gets a switch and can be effective shooting short-range hooks despite a lack of muscle. He can finish under the basket but tends to pick up traveling violations while winding up before he rises for the shot.

2009-10 outlook: Warrick signed a one-year, $3 million deal with Milwaukee after the Grizzlies withdrew his qualifying offer. Ironically, the man he replaces (Charlie Villanueva) had the same thing happen to him in Milwaukee. It's a great situation for Warrick who will likely start at power forward, play 25 to 30 minutes a game, and benefit from a lot of touches on a denuded Bucks team.

He's averaged nearly a point every two minutes each of the past three seasons and is only 27, so he's a great value acquisition for Milwaukee. Expect Warrick to average in the low- to mid-teens, depending on how much he plays, while solidifying a position that threatened to be an open sore for Milwaukee.

Flip Murray:

Scouting report: A 6-3 guard with a nose for the basket, Murray sees nothing but the goal when he puts the ball on the floor and sometimes dribbles himself into trouble as a result. However, he usually makes a quick move for a shot, so it's not as if he's pounding away the shot clock the way some shoot-first guards do.

His quickness, strength and leaping ability all are above average, though none are exceptional, making him very difficult to handle on the drive -- he shot 56.9 percent in the immediate basket area and supplemented it with a high free throw rate. While Murray shot fairly well on 3s last season, he's a mediocre shooter (30.2 percent on 3s for his career, 72.4 percent from the line) and that was almost certainly a fluke.

Defensively, Murray did a good job against most 2s despite giving up inches, and has the size and quickness to keep a good chunk of the league's 1s at bay as well. He's a poor rebounder and fouls a lot but is active in passing lanes and ranked 10th among shooting guards in steals per minute.

2009-10 outlook: Murray signed a one-year deal with Charlotte for $1.9 million after the market for his services proved surprisingly slim. That's probably because teams suspected he might have had a fluke year, and they might be right. Murray was 29 last year and hadn't shot nearly as well in his other NBA stops; although his season technically didn't qualify as a Fluke Rule season, a lot of the same principles apply.
Even if he doesn't maintain last year's shooting percentage, however, he'll be of some use to the Bobcats. Charlotte had arguably the league's most anemic second unit before signing Murray so if he can create a bunch of shots, he'll be useful even if he makes only a smattering of them.

Joe Alexander:

Scouting report: Alexander's leaping ability certainly is something to behold and could eventually be a major factor on defense. He successfully challenged several shots from out of nowhere to force bricks from opponents, and he threw down some spectacular slams in transition. The hops will do wonders for him if he's ever invited to the league's dunk contest, but one wonders whether he'll figure out how to use that talent better in the flow of the game.

Alexander reacted slowly to everything around him and then tried to go 100 miles an hour when he got the ball, resulting in drives into traffic or forced jumpers. He doesn't appear to be a great ball handler or a great shooter, and while he has crazy hops, I'm not sure about the quickness of his first step. The same applies on defense, where he often reached and grabbed after taking a bad angle or misreading a play.

2009-10 outlook: The Bucks' lack of quality wings virtually assures that Alexander will get some playing time, but it's not going to be more than 10 minutes a night unless he can eliminate some of the myriad mistakes that plagued him last season. The one piece of good news is that rookies with high turnover rates tend to develop much faster in subsequent seasons. Of course, based on the outcome of his rookie season, one wonders whether Alexander will ever figure things out at this level.

Acie Law:

Scouting report: Law has been more competent on D than on offense. He has good size and moves his feet fairly well. He doesn't gamble much, he competes and he helps out on the boards, so this part of his game isn't the problem.

Offensively, he has the size and quickness to get the job done and has been an effective finisher when he can get the step on a defender. Unfortunately, his inability to shoot is submarining his career. Opponents don't respect his J and lay off him waiting for the drive, and Law often responds by making a hesitant shot fake and then dribbling into traffic hoping for a better outcome.

He'll keep his career afloat only by pulling the trigger on those kickouts and hoping more of them go down than they did in his first two seasons; better to go down swinging than to wash out of the league without ever letting it rip. Fortunately, he's come to the perfect place for that.

2009-10 outlook: The Hawks traded Law after the season to Golden State, where he'll tussle with a crowded field for backcourt minutes. However, the Warriors historically have juggled rotations liberally and made heavy use of small lineups, so Law could earn 15 minutes or so of court time per game if he plays well.

The Warriors' openness to bombing away on 3s might encourage Law to fire with more confidence, something that certainly seemed an issue in his first two seasons in Atlanta. He handles the ball and defends well enough to be an NBA backup point guard, so if he can knock down more shots, he'll stick around for a while.

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