Since the Chicago Bulls announced the sign-and-trade deal for point guard Tomas Satoransky on July 1st, we haven’t really heard from him.
This is – basically – all we got:
First of all, thank you #DCFamily, my teammates, fans and all supporters for the last 3 years in the capital city. I appreciate it a lot ❤ But a new chapter is here and I am so excited and proud to be a part of #chicagobulls. Can't wait to be on a court at United Center!
— Tomas Satoransky (@satoransky) July 1, 2019
But now, thanks to our friends over in the Czech Republic, we finally have more to dissect!
Satoransky did a nice, lengthy Q&A over the weekend while he was visiting his home country for the 4th year of his basketball camp. I’ll warn you up front, though: The interview was done completely in Czech and has been translated (via the Google Chrome browser) into English. For that reason, all lines may not appear exactly as spoken. Let’s dig in.
According to Satoransky, his restricted free agent status meant he had little input to where he would be heading. However, he brought up how multiple big-time free agents on the market paved the way for a team like the Bulls to call his name. Once the Bulls made the deal, it sounds like head coach Jim Boylen gave him a call, and the two discussed how Satoransky might fit into the Bulls plans.
“…I liked what we were talking about. About how he saw my game and how I can help,” Satoransky said. “I think Chicago has the potential for the future. We’ll see how we’re doing this season, but in the East it’s open to anyone. If we stay healthy there is a chance to fight for (the) playoff(s).”
Training camp hasn’t gotten underway for the Bulls yet, but Satoransky seems to have a sense of where he stands on the team. When asked about how much playing time he expects, he brought up the contract size, mentioning that normally when “you’re the fourth best-paid player” you will clearly have an important role (this man has a point).
Funny enough, he said the kids asked him whether he would be a member of the “top five.” While starting minutes appear to be in his future, Satoransky made clear it wasn’t important to him (that’s what they all say). Instead, he wants to take the minutes given and help where he can, even referencing his ability to play off the ball, something he said Jim Boylen was looking for.
Rumor has it Satoransky was persistent in Washington about being a point guard, especially when the team was moving all the way over to small forward in some lineups due to his bigger frame. The Bulls will certainly offer him a majority of minutes at point guard, but his willingness to play off the ball and out of position could be key for Chicago. With question marks still surrounding how Coby White will fit into things and Kris Dunn still sitting on the roster, the Bulls could really mix things up with Satoransky to create several different looks on the floor.
While on the floor, he may not be working with a talent like Bradley Beal by his side, but the Bulls have an interesting young group of players for Satoransky to test out. A solid facilitator, he appears most excited to dish out the ball to Lauri Markkanen. He compared the young Bulls standout to Kristaps Prozingis, claiming that things “should work for us.”
I don’t know about you, but I sure do like hearing that. A top priority for the Bulls this offseason was to get a strong enough facilitator that can find Markkanen open looks. If Satoransky is already heading into the season ready to play with the Finnish King, the emergence Bulls fans have been waiting for from Markkanen could be right around the corner.
In the end, Satoransky sounds like his plan is to show up, and do what he’s told. Some may have considered him to fall under the “veteran leadership” category after all the talk this offseason, but it appears that isn’t an expectation he puts on himself.
“I’m not a newcomer, but after all, three seasons is not so much, although I have some experience of big matches too,” Satoransky said. “But we will have veteran Thaddeus Young, who will be the 13th season in the NBA. So I will not push anything and leave the veteran position to him.”
Let’s hope that’s just modest talk. Young is known to be a great leader, but it takes more than one player to lead a team, and if Satoransky has the ball in his hands, he’s the perfect man for the job.
Regardless, he closed out the interview the right way:
“I’m glad to be part of such an organization,” Satoransky said. “The fans understand the sport there, and I’ve always done well there (he put up a career-high 25 points at the United Center in 2018).”