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Canaan Not a Sign(ing) of Optimism For the Bulls

The Bulls newest point guard doesn't move the needle.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night the Chicago Bulls announced the signing of free agent point guard, Isaiah Canaan. Canaan comes to the Bulls as a volume three point shooter providing little, if anything else. The signing is also one of reassurance should newly acquired point guard Jerian Grant prove he isn't ready for the primary backup role.

Here's the deal, Canaan isn't very good, which was made evident after I suggested he might be the default backup coming in, as I personally don't think Grant is ready.

First, from our own BaB-er, Jason Patt:

And from our former BaB-er, former member of the Dallas Mavericks analytics team, Kevin Ferrigan:

Finally, our official take from Drew Corrigan, former Sixers writer and current host of the Sixers podcast Trust The Podcast:

So, as you can see, not exactly a ringing endorsement for Canaan. Though as stated, the one thing that Canaan does bring to the table, that the Bulls desperately need at the point guard position is three point shooting. Last season, Canaan shot 36.3% from deep on a whopping 6.3 attempts per game, and shot 40.1% on catch-and-shoot opportunities on nearly four attempts per game as well. But that's where buck stops for Canaan.

Canaan shot better from three point range last season than he did from the field overall, 36%. Below his is shot chart from 2015-2016:

Once inside the arch, Canaan struggled immensely in finding any sort of success. In addition, his assist numbers don't paint a picture as a great distributor for a position that needs to be as such. Canaan only mustered an abysmal 1.8 assists per game. As the Bulls currently have an assortment of players who love to hold the ball in Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, it doesn't appear that much will change with Canaan, per Jake Pavorsky from SB Nation's Liberty Ballers:

"The ball constantly stayed glued to Canaan's mitts, resulting in poor movement and a ton of long, isolated three-point attempts by the 24 year-old. It came as little surprise that when Philadelphia went and acquired Ish Smith to take over the reins as starting point guard, the team's offensive production immediately surged."

On the opposite end of the floor, it doesn't get much better for Canaan. At 6'1, the Bulls have another undersized point guard, so their ability to switch defensively or hide him on certain players hinders. Per his advanced stats from last season, Canaan's offensive rating was only 95.2, while his defensive rating was 107.8, which resulted in a net rating of -12.6. Yeah, not great, Bob.

Here's more from Pavorsky on Canaan's defense:

"With Canaan standing at just 6'1" and the average shooting guard being somewhere around 6'5", that presents an immediate mismatch which has certainly highlighted by opponents. It would be fine if Canaan had actually shown an ability to defend well at all, but he really hasn't. He has a tendency to look lost, especially chasing his man off the ball, and he struggles to move laterally - ...they could consider having Canaan defend ball handlers, but his lack of speed and agility will hurt him. He's just one of those guys that's impossible to hide on that end of the floor."

So, as if the Bulls defensive woes in the backcourt couldn't get any worse this offseason, they have with Canaan. As Jake put towards the end of his piece, Canaan is simply a one-trick pony.

The signing has also drawn comparison to former Bull, Aaron Brooks. A backup point guard who was notorious for sabotaging offensive possessions by pounding the air out of the ball, only to look for his own shot.

Initial reaction was that Canaan was an upgrade over the recently departed Brooks. However, when comes down to it, there's not much of a difference aside from the minutes per game each played last season. The Bulls are getting yet another undersized point guard who abandons possessions, cannot distribute and is a defensive liability. Canaan is essentially a younger version of Brooks.


(full table here)

Actually, Brooks had a lot more assists. This is great, isn't it?

For Canaan, heading into next season he'll be battling Grant for the primary point guard position and possibly Spencer Dinwiddie if he receives a training camp invite. Regardless of what happens, that group in addition to Rondo, doesn't present a very apt rotation. It's plausible that the Bulls could very well have the worst point guard rotation in the league next season. Buckle up!