There is a growing school of thought that Valentine was a system player at Michigan State, and he needs to change that way of thinking quickly.
This now begs the serious question: Will Valentine ever really be ready?
Hopefully, we’ll get a more concrete answer as to when Valentine will be able to participate fully in basketball activity during Media Day (today). But even if Valentine comes back, it’s going to be hard to ask for much from the 25-year-old. Not only has he missed an entire NBA season, but his body is likely never going to be the same. Already a player that lacks natural athleticism, becoming a go-to bench piece is an extremely tall task.
I’m never going to criticize a player for suffering an injury and taking the time needed to get right, but I will call out the Bulls for not doing something about this current wing situation. I’m not going to say you should give up on Valentine, but is having plans to rely on a player that’s coming off a major surgery fair to him or the team?
For the time being, off-the-ball play by Coby White and Tomas Satoransky should cover up the lack of depth at shooting guard, but if Valentine can’t prove to stay healthy, things could get messy quickly.
Two-way contracted player Adam Mokoka may have to see increased playing time (which gives me flashbacks of last year’s G-League frenzy). And the more time White plays at the shooting guard, the less time he’s learning to how to man the offense.
Also, it’s worth noting, Valentine’s status could force the organization to push for a Kris Dunn trade sooner rather than later. I don’t mind trading for a shooting guard, but I’d much rather have the Bulls watch a healthy Valentine/Chandler Hutchison, and then evaluate what position is worth trading for.
At the end of the day, for a team trying to claw it’s way out of a rebuild and up the Eastern Conference, the Bulls can’t wait much longer to decide what Valentine’s future holds.