The Bulls have kept the wheel turning this free agency, so far making the following moves:
Now, the team has gone ahead and added a legitimate back-up center option to Wendell Carter Jr. Let’s take a look at recent Bulls addition Luke Kornet!
Player, Age (in 2019), Position, Measurements
Luke Kornet, 23, Center/Power Forward, 7-1 and 250 pounds
- 2 years, – TBD
2018 Performance & Analysis
- Season stats and per-game averages: 46 games (18 starts), 7.2 points, 1.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds; 37.8 FG%, 36.3 3PT%, 82.6.4 FT%, 50.2 eFG%, 53.1 TS%
The Bulls needed a back-up center, and that’s what they got. With Wendell Carter Jr. entering only his second season at 20-years-old after only playing 66 games in his first season due to injury, it was probably wise to make big men a priority this offseason. We already saw the team sign Thaddeus Young (may not have the measurables, but he plays big and can post-up well) who can help assert a little more dominance in the paint off the bench, but now the addition of former Knicks center Luke Kornet looks in position to be Carter Jr.’s official back-up.
Since the Bulls avoided resigning Robin Lopez, allowing him to head up north to the Bucks (be free, Robin… be free), the addition of Kornet should help maintain a decent rim-protecting presence. Kornet may not provide the same assertive presence or touch around the rim, but he does bring along a much more modern, versatile skill set for a big man.
A back-up center/PF who comes with a ton of size (7-foot-1) and a nice shooting stroke from behind the arc (36.3% last season).
Nice option off the bench for Carter Jr.
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) July 3, 2019
Kornet is a towering figure who surprisingly has a pretty stable jump shot. He can be a bit clunky at times (hard not to be when you’re that tall) but, for the most part, he can work off-the-ball and provide some intangibles. He is a solid two-way center who, somewhat surprisingly, isn’t a liability when he has to pull-up from deep. For some reason though, his jumper inside the arc still has yet to develop. He only hit 41.1 percent of his two-point shots, something that for a center could mightily improve.
Nevertheless, the dude can hit from some serious range, something that’s especially evident in his highlight package below where he scored 23-points against the Bucks (he hit 7(!) three’s in that game!)
Defensively, he has a big frame, that’s for sure. He can shuffle his feet decently well, but he isn’t the cleanest defender. Kornet’s true bread-and-butter comes with his blocking ability. Due to his long arms, but I’ll give him credit for some decent timing as well, Kornet was able to block 42 shots over his 46 games played last season. As NBC Chicago Sports Mark Strotman points out, the combination of his blocking and three-point ability is a rather unique skill set in today’s NBA.
Only 33 players had 70+ 3s and 40+ blocks this season. Kornet was one of them (albeit at 70 3s and 42 blocks). Unique skill set for a 7-footer.
— Mark Strotman (@markstrot) July 3, 2019
Career Performance and Notable Accomplishments
- Career stats and averages: 66 (19 starts), 6.9 points, 1.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds; 38.2 FG%, 36.0 3PT%, 80.7 FT%, 50.2 eFG%, 52.6 TS%
Kornet gives the Bulls more versatility, while also filling the need for a back-up center. His fit may not be as necessary as guys like Young and Satoransky, but he continues the offseason trend of finding players that can give you a different look on the court.
In a lot of ways, you can think of Kornet as a new toy, one that the Bulls can feel comfortable playing with over the course of the season. He has only appeared in 66 NBA games, but he clearly has a skill set that can help him develop into an efficient role player in this league. At only 23-years-old (24 later this month), the Bulls are adding another young piece into the mix that has quite a bit of potential, and if worst comes to worst, it doesn’t work out and the Bulls move on in two years. The addition of Kornet should also mean fewer minutes for Markkanen at center, something many assumed we might be seeing with the lack of depth on the roster. Markkanen’s time at center hasn’t necessarily gone too hot, even with his height-advantage at 7-feet-tall, so let’s just keep him over in the corner where he can go off.
Anyway, you can see that Kornet has quite a bit of upside when you watch the spurts of dominance that he had over the course of this season. He can be pretty inconsistent right now, which is common for a young player, but if the Bulls can fine-tune his craft he could really become a productive asset off the bench.
When you watch Kornet, he isn’t the most natural of players; in fact, you can almost see him thinking through every move on the court as he goes to set a pick or hit his mark, but it definitely demonstrates a level of focus on his part.
The Bulls went into this offseason needing to expand its depth and step further away from relying on two-way-contracted players and unproven pieces off the bench. Kornet has a lot to learn, but he has already proven in his short time on the court that he can be a reliable player.
I’m up for the ride.
They Said It
Here's a comparison for you: Luke Kornet and Wendell Carter Jr. were two of 20 players with a block percentage (percentage of opponents shots that a player blocks on the floor) of 4.5%. They were both at 4.5%.
Kornet isn't just a stiff who can shoot 3s. He'll rim-protect.
— Mark Strotman (@markstrot) July 3, 2019
Bulls with another good signing. Kornet is a 7'1 stretch five who took threes on 68% of his attempts and made 36% of them. Also averaged 1.9 blocks and 2.5 assists per-36 https://t.co/KX18znwudl
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) July 3, 2019
Kornet shot 68% of his shots from 3 last year and made 37%. 7-1 big man with a 4.5 blk rate. Really nice depth big to add. Not sure what the money is, but Bulls doing really well this summer https://t.co/SYYOYo5AYu
— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) July 3, 2019
A visual of Thaddeus Young (left) and Luke Kornet's (right) offensive pairing. They'll bring a different dynamic than Markkanen/Carter off the bench, while not sacrificing any defense. Young (1st picture) plays inside; Kornet (2nd picture) plays out. pic.twitter.com/6paZhjbTGv
— Bulls Gold (@BullsGold) July 3, 2019