The Chicago Bulls have myriad issues this season. One of the most glaring is how poorly they’re using sophomore center Wendell Carter, Jr..
While there can probably be a debate for who is the Bulls most talented player right now, I feel confident in saying that Carter has the most potential. At 12.3 PPG, on nearly 60% shooting from the field, to go along with 9.5 RPG, there’s so much more that Carter is capable of that this coaching staff is failing to tap into.
Most specifically is his lack of shooting from outside the paint. For the most part Carter’s role within the offense is setting screens in the PnR, DHO’s and rolling hard to the rim, or just finding the next open man to pass too. Very rarely, if ever, will Carter actually square up in these actions and look to shoot when the opportunity presents itself.
It’s to the point where defenses don’t respect Carter that far from the basket knowing he won’t shoot, and in some cases sagging off into the paint clogging the Bulls spacing and cutters.
Another Carter afraid to shoot vid. The Bulls have basically turned him into Joakim Noah. He had a good jump shot before he joined the team. Shot 43% on 3's in his first summer league. pic.twitter.com/2QcSKKzGds— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) November 26, 2019
Some may chalk this up to it being Carter’s “choice,” and that he just needs to be more assertive offensively in looking for his shot. Or that the coaches could be working with him behind the scenes to improve his shot. You know, one of Jim Boylen’s walk before you run theories.
I’m not so sure that’s not the case. If it was, he would at least be squaring up to the basket and looking to attempt more. He’s not.
In theory the Bulls should be trying to develop Carter into their own version of Karl-Anthony Towns. I believe Carter has that potential.
Over his now five seasons in the NBA, KAT himself and the Wolves organization have done an amazing job of developing his skill-set and making him the focal point of their offense. But probably the biggest growth for him has been how drastically he’s improved his shooting.
For example, in his lone year at Kentucky, KAT attempted 0.2 three’s per game and shot 25%. His first season in the NBA, KAT had only 1.1 attempts from three per game. Over the next four seasons KAT has expanded his range from three to the point where he’s now averaging nine three point attempts per game, and converting on 44.4% of them. Those are damn near Steph Curry numbers.
Now, this isn’t meant to say Carter should eventually be shooting nine threes per game. But getting to the point where he’s shooting at least two to three per game, and converting at around a 35% clip is more than serviceable, and doable.
The issue is getting there, and with the help of this coaching staff. Because right now it’s a disservice to Carter (and the team) for them to be using him the way they are offensively (this isn’t even touching his abilities as a passer) and it’s stunting his development.
I’m not sure Wendell will ever get the coaching and development he needs with the Bulls, for my sake as a fan, I hope he does. If not, then some very lucky team out there with the right coaching is going to end up with their version of Karl-Anthony Towns.