The Chicago Bulls have a point guard problem – Derrick Rose’s injury didn’t just kill their title hopes for 2012 by bowing out in the first round of the postseason despite being the number 1 seed in the East. Rose is going to miss a substantial portion of the 2012-2013 NBA season, and the preparations for next season must be made accordingly.
During the regular season, which Rose missed nearly half of (playing 39 games) the Chicago Bulls did pretty well, enjoying C.J Watson’s and John Lucas III filling in for their MVP players. The two combined for 17.2 points per game and 6.3 assists. Not Derrick Rose numbers, but not bad for a hybrid made point guard. Everyone else around them seemed to step up and fill in for their star.
In the playoffs, that didn’t work. Joakim Noah went down as well, while Thibodeau narrowed down the point guard rotation and gave Watson more time on the floor at the expense of Lucas. That wasn’t the only problem for the Bulls, but it seems Thibodeau was a bit too dogmatic and conservative in his approach while trying to salvage the season. It didn’t work.
This team, with Rose especially, are bound for greatness. Should be challenging for titles. Carlos Boozer may be or won’t be part of this team next year. It seems more and more that he’s overstayed his welcome. The Bulls don’t lose any integral parts next year to free agency, but it seems they won’t be hanging on to C.J. Watson, who has a team option on his contract for next year worth $3.7 million. The 28 year old point guard simply disappointed in the playoffs, showing the starting job is not for him.
But the Bulls do need a dominant starter for next season. John Lucas can score points quickly, but he’s not the starting point guard type. He thinks shot first anyway, just without the All-Star qualities of stars like Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and… Derrick Rose. There are plenty of better options, with a more proven track record, to go for this summer.
Here are the names of worth to look at point guards this summer, unrestricted free agents – Steve Nash, Andre Miller, Jameer Nelson, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams, Deron Williams (player option), Baron Davis.
There’s no chance of touching Deron Williams because the Bulls aren’t about to give a maximum contract to a point guard who will sit down when Derrick Rose comes back. But Steve Nash, Jason Kidd? They look like pretty good options. Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups as well.
Steve Nash is obviously the one everyone wants. The Bulls have a title chance and a bit more money than plenty of other teams have to offer to lure Nash away, who’ll be one of the most sought after commodities. He seems to many like the guy who’ll take a pay cut to get a shot at a title, while he’s still producing top numbers, with 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game.
Jason Kidd? Personally, I don’t think he has much left in him. He’s a great leader, but giving Kidd more than 15-20 minutes a night would be wrong, especially for a team planning on challenging for an NBA title. Kidd did play 28.7 minutes a night for the Mavericks this season, but averaged 6.2 points while shooting a terrible 36.3% from the field. Not what the Bulls should be looking for.
Andre Miller, who played as Ty Lawson’s backup this season in Denver might be another very good choice. Miller, at 36, will love to get a shot at a title and he’s proven that he can still produce when playing big minutes, averaging 11.3 points in 28 minutes during the postseason, adding 5.6 rebounds and 6 assists per game.
The Bulls are far from the only team in the market shopping for a point guard, starting or backup, but do offer quite a lot in terms of chances and ambition. Steve Nash should be the first guy they approach, with Andre Miller coming second. Both would be better than C.J. Watson. Both should hold the fort very well until Derrick Rose comes back.