This is part 2 of a look at the Bulls roster through the lens of what we may expect from new VP Arturas Karnisovas. That is described by him as valuing intelligence, versatility, and general court awareness. So part 1 was seeing how that applied to the young core of key players.
Despite Karnisovas making it clear that he would reach out and be in contact with every player on the roster, for the sake of everyone’s mental energy, let’s immediately rule out players of little consequence from consideration. That means you: Cristiano Felicio, Luke Kornet, Adam Mokoka and Max Strus.
As we go down the roster to guys with a more tenuous foothold on the team, there are some potential keepers.
Tomas Satoransky, in his first season here, was featured in multiple roles and positions. While his shooting metrics uncharacteristically dipped with the Bulls when compared to his career numbers, Satoransky’s basketball acumen and preference to play in a European-style read-and-react offense will see the 6-foot-7 guard feature prominently in the Bulls’ plans moving forward.
Then there are those role players who have obvious flaws, yet offer several elements that will make Karnisovas pause and consider their role moving forward. Where Denzel Valentine was exiled for his lack of defense under Boylen, Karnisovas may see value in the forward’s ability to see the floor, make crisp passers to shooters, all while being a fantastic catch-and-shoot threat. Conversely, Chandler Hutchison is a total enigma on offense, but is a defensive rebounding beast who does his best work in transition, at both forward positions — assuming he can stay healthy. Similarly for Daniel Gafford, another quality athlete with limited skills away from the basket, can he be anything more than a high-energy, rim-rolling five-man that is easily replaceable? What about Thad Young, a highly-praised free agent signing who was billed as the perfect, two-way complement to Markkanen and Carter, but did little more than yearn for more minutes?
In the right scenario, these role players may remain with the Bulls. They also could be sold off to the highest bidder.
Then as who is likely no longer fitting in: While we can appreciate the effort, grit, and hustle produced by Kris Dunn, Shaquille Harrison, and Ryan Arcidiacono, none of these players offer enough offensive value and versatility to justify whatever positives they may generate.
Dunn is due a new contract, and should not be retained for any amount greater than his qualifying offer given his history as a turnover prone ball-handler who has regressed as a shooter. Similarly for Harrison, he too is due a new deal, and has the same weaknesses as Dunn. This redundancy isn’t necessary.
Fortunately for Arcidiacono, he was able to net himself a 3-year, $9 million from the previous regime. Contractually speaking, he will get his money. And while he has the catch-and-shoot ability Dunn and Harrison do not, his physical limitations prevent him from being anything more than a third-string option, despite Boylen’s insistence in using Arcidiacono as an unlikely antidote to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Perhaps if Dunn, Harrison, and Arcidiacono were defense-first wing players instead of ball-handling guards, maybe there would be a suitable place for them on the roster moving forward — think something similar to Torrey Craig as the Nugget’s defensive perimeter option. But seeing as Karnisovas wants high basketball IQ players who move and play with pace, traits which typically originate in the backcourt, these players are expendable.