After a Thursday evening trade shipped Justin Holiday to Memphis, the Chicago Bulls have a new young player to potentially add to the rotation, 24-year-old shooting guard Wayne Selden. Selden, who went undrafted in 2016, has had stints with the New Orleans Pelicans and Grizzlies in his three-year NBA career.
Selden is an explosive athlete with defensive chops and an improved 3-point shot. Though he’s played in 32 of the Grizzlies 37 games this season, he’s accrued injuries during most of his prior NBA career.
But while healthy last season, he played an important role for the Grizzlies both at the end of the regular season and during their postseason.
Despite the disappointment, Selden would return for the second half of the year. Overall, Selden played 35 games last year. While the injury made Selden’s season a bit of a disappointment, there were certainly some positives. For one, Selden flashed his significant scoring talent. As many had long knew, his elite athleticism allowed for him to display an effective dribble drive game.
Beyond that, and to the surprise of many, Selden also displayed a reliable 3 point stroke. In fact, Selden made over 40% of his threes, at a clip of nearly 2 a game. In the final 10 games he appeared in, Selden averaged 23 minutes per game. In that span, Selden averaged 14.8 points, 2.2 threes, made 49% of his threes, 52% of his field goals, and 80% of his free three throws. While it was a small sample size, Selden displayed his ability to provide instant offense.
Selden has also flashed the ability to be a volume scorer off the bench. He drained more than 15 points in nine of his 35 games last season with a high of 31 in just 26 minutes in January against the New Orleans Pelicans.
This season the returns haven’t been quite as stellar, partly because he was buried further down in the rotation.
Selden is used to being a role player. Until his junior year at Kansas, he was never the star of the show simply because he played with the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, plus Perry Ellis, Frank Mason, and Kelly Oubre Jr. His junior season he averaged 13.8 points per game while shooting over 39 percent from beyond the arc. His collegiate story also included his very cool-fan uncle.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
Logistically, there should be some playing opportunities for Selden . Zach LaVine obviously dominates the shooting guard position, but behind him there’s question marks.
Shaquille Harrison has averaged 21.7 minutes per game over the last five contests because he’s competent defensively and head coach Jim Boylen seems to like that type of thing....However, Harrison is limited offensively and at one year older, it’s difficult to argue that he’s a better developmental option than Selden. Then there’s Antonio Blakeney, and at the least Selden likely won’t hijack the offense by shooting every time he touches the ball: this season per 36 minutes, Selden averages five field goal attempts fewer than Blakeney while shooting a similar percentage.
At 6-foot-5-inches and as a competent defender, maybe you can even get Selden some run at small forward, truly a gaping void in the Chicago Bulls roster at the moment.
With Boylen stubbornly keeping Jabari Parker in exile, the Bulls have thrown some truly miserable second unit lineups into the game that are offensively challenged to the extreme, forcing a lot of Robin Lopez post plays and Ryan Arcidiacono or Harrison playing hero ball late in the shot clock. A microwave scorer like Selden could help when the offense stagnates. Assuming Chandler Hutchison is now the team’s starter at the 3, Selden will have some other competition at bench combo-guard/wing as The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry reported that the Bulls will call up two-way player Rawle Alkins.
There’s an opportunity for Selden to have a role on this team, and it’ll be disappointing if Boylen just lets him waste away on the bench.