If Tomas Satoransky isn’t your starting point guard on opening night, color me surprised.
The 27-year-old point guard was already in a position to land the starting role as soon as he was acquired at the outset of free agency. And then, he traveled to China, where he put up an MVP-worthy effort at the FIBA World Cup. And while that performance may have been delivered on international floors, it was strong enough to be rewarded with starting minutes in the NBA.
But to put it all more simply: Satoransky will earn the Bulls starting point guard spot on Day 1, because he’s clearly the best option.
With Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine in position to be the team’s primary scorers, the need for a facilitator is high. Fortunately, Satoransky averaged a staggering 8.5 assists per game at the FIBA World Cup. He also had the best assist ratio (36.5) and second-best assist-to-turnover ratio (3.50) among NBA starting guards who played 50 or more games last season.
With that said, this feels like the expected point guard rotation for the Bulls heading into the season:
- Tomas Satoransky
- Kris Dunn
- Coby White
- Ryan Arcidiacono
- Shaquille Harrison
Now, in theory, Dunn may have a shot at the starting spot. After all, he was named the team’s starter last season and, despite all the negative talk, has been surprisingly present during the team’s offseason agenda (and, of course: we don’t know the crazy shenanigans this coaching staff will pull).
But if I were a betting man, I’d say Dunn ends up first off the bench … for now. I’ve mentioned it before, but to reiterate: Dunn isn’t good enough to be a nightly starter, but he also isn’t bad enough to be a team’s third option at point guard. Obviously, this poses a problem for the Bulls, who will have to weigh the fan’s desire to watch their flashy No. 7-overall draft pick with their desire to build a trade market for Dunn. The general consensus by those close to the team is that Dunn will be out of Chicago by February, and with the Bulls’ lack of wing depth, targeting a small forward or shooting guard is in the organization’s best interest.
But while White may sit behind Dunn on the depth chart to start the season, chances are he’ll slowly gobble up more minutes as days go by. Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson reported earlier this season that the Bulls plan on 24 minutes being the benchmark once the “actual games” start. Sure, training camp can always change things, but that’s not an uncommon minute total for rookie point guards who were drafted in the top-10.
I wouldn’t put White at 24 minutes yet, especially when considering this recent breakout with Satoransky, but I do expect him to confidently get ~20 minutes per game not too far into the season. Also, White and Satoransky could definitely be on the court at the same time, especially with Satoransky’s experience playing the two and three.
As for Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison, both aren’t going to see the court for more than a couple minutes at a time. Last season’s hike in minutes for both was more circumstantial than it was earned (and that’s not to say they didn’t play well at times, especially Arcidiacono). Early in the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Archie used over White in certain situations due to experience, and the same can be said for Harrison in certain defensive lineups, but White’s potential is too high to have significant minutes taken away by these two players.
At the end of the day, the exact minutes per game is a tricky thing to predict for a team with five-point guards, but the hierarchy feels like it’s already falling into place.