There haven’t been enough games in Tony Snell’s NBA career to determine if his presence on the court is truly that beneficial for the Chicago Bulls in comparison to the other limited options (Mike Dunleavy) they have to backup Jimmy Butler at shooting guard, but his performance on both ends of the floor in their most recent win over the Detroit Pistons suggests Tom Thibodeau should keep him in the lineup for now.
Snell, a rookie out of New Mexico, is yet another small forward forced to play out of position in this unbalanced Chicago Bulls squad that’s not just trying to overcome the loss for the season of Derrick Rose, but also the fact that their bench isn’t suited to their lineup needs and Jimmy Butler, another small forward playing out of position, is out for an unknown time with his toe injury.
Mike Dunleavy began filling in for him in the lineup but the veteran forward (also playing out of position) seems a bit useless in a lineup that’s main strength is defense. Dunleavy is an excellent outside shooter and probably a better offensive threat than Snell is right now, but he’s one huge hole on the defensive end, which makes using him for 30 mintues a night quite a big problem for the Bulls.
In comes Snell, who is also another reason the Bulls have been thinking about the whole Deng trade, at least until Butler and Rose went down. His potential is still unknown, but he provides yet another good wing defender with a good outside shot, proving he’s up for the challenge with 13 points, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, against the Detroit Pistons. He played 37 minutes against the Pistons, and there’s more than a slight chance we’ll be seeing him playing that kind of time each night until Butler returns, more than the 22-year old ever expected to play.
The best thing about him is how serious he is. Even when he wasn’t playing, his getting ready to play told me how serious he was. The questions he asked. On game days at home, he just stays in the arena. He’s there all the time. Those type of guys, when they get opportunities, they’re ready and usually take advantage.