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Maybe Alfonzo McKinnie can stick around

the 10-day contract for the local product may last longer

NBA: DEC 20 Rockets at Bulls Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pretty much the whole league is in roster upheaval due to the frequent absences caused by COVID health and safety protocols. The Bulls had been the first, worst case and after bringing up their 2 two-way players also signed two players to 10-day contracts.

One of the 10-days was to Stanley Johnson, who immediately was forced into protocols and hasn’t played a game yet. The other, though, went to Alfonzo McKinnie, a 6’7” wing who has played 3 games, with 2 of them at nearly 30 minutes.

Last night against in the team-wide romp over the Rockets, McKinnie contributed 16 points with four 3-point makes:

It’s that three-point percentage that may keep him around, after it’s failed him before. There was an actually-good (I kid...) comment from last night’s game detailing the improved shooting stroke from ‘mrdx01’:

between GLeague and NBA, he’d never posted a 3-ball % better than .356 (and usually much lower than that) in a season. Last year with the Lakers he shot .410, but in just 39 attempts, which could easily just be noise. This year on Mexico City’s GLeague squad he’s shot .433 (!) on 6.7 3pa/g, though still just 10 games.

Another data point of note on him is that his Mexico City FT% is .862, which blows everything he’s done there in the US professionally out of the water.

It’s important to note that McKinnie is 29 years old and has had a vagabond existence in basketball, playing everywhere from the 2016-17 Bulls G-League team to the Mexican league to a Mexican G-League team this season until the call-up to Chicago.

But is that actually important? I was dismissive of Javonte Green’s performance last season as he was “too old to be a prospect”, but the Bulls re-signed Green and he’s played his way into a starting role. To be fair to my past dummy self, last year’s Bulls team still needed young players to ‘develop’, this one is more competitive and could better use plug-and-play role players, even if it’s just to weather the caseload storm and ease pressure on the ‘regular’ roster.

The Bulls officially re-upped a second ten-day deal for McKinnie yesterday. After which it may be decision time on a year-long stay on the roster. Or maybe not, as the league has adjusted roster rules so the Bulls can keep players over the roster maximum replacing one-to-one whoever is out in protocols.

But while the Bulls still have 5 players in protocols, theoretically in ten days they will all be out of them and active when McKinnie’s current ten-day contract expires. One of those players is Matt Thomas, the unofficial last guy on the roster. He won the job in training camp mostly due to his shooting prowess, but if McKinnie has truly improved in that area he brings other skills to the table that may have him stay to where then Thomas would need ot be waived.

If there needs to be a tiebreaker, McKinnie is from the city’s west side and he’s very happy to be playing for the Bulls.