Move over Zach LaVine! Tomas Satoransky has scored double-figures over five-straight games for the first time in his career (he came 1 point shy of that mark twice last season). During this stretch against the Hornets, Trail Blazers (x2), Warriors, and Kings, Satoransky is averaging 13.2 points per game, as well as 6.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. Not too shabby, eh?
The closest he ever got to this sort of overall hot streak came last season with the Washington Wizards, when he averaged 13.5 points per game over four games in early March. Interestingly enough, he was averaging a whopping 36.3 minutes during those four contests, compared to just 30.6 in this latest stretch with the Bulls. Point being, the production this time around is practically the same – if not better – despite spending less time on the court.
To that end, the team’s minute distribution under Jim Boylen has been a bit of a hot topic lately, with only one starter on the Bulls averaging more than 30 minutes per game (Zach LaVine). But as we’ve seen, Satoransky is making a case for more action. And perhaps Boylen is taking notice. In terms of total minutes played (MP), three of his top four – and four of his top six – games have come during this five-game stretch from November 23rd to December 2nd …
Satoransky’s MP Leaderboard:
- 35:02 (11/27) – @Warriors
- 33:35 (12/02) – @Kings
- 30:00 (11/06) – @Hawks
- 29:50 (11/29) – @Trail Blazers
- 28:32 (11/16) – v. Nets
- 27:33 (11/23) – @Hornets
Slowly but surely, we’re seeing the Satoransky the Bulls signed over the offseason – the one considered among the NBA’s most underrated players – and hopefully, Boylen recognizes that rise and continues to award him with more appropriate playing time going forward.
With that said, Satoransky’s game has never been too flashy. Indeed, his impact usually comes quietly and in more of a complementary/supportive role. But look back over these last five games, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by totals as high as 19 points and 8 assists.
And if the on paper stats aren’t doing it for you, note that in each of the Bulls’ last two victories, Satoransky has played a pivotal role in crunch time. During Zach LaVine’s crazy shooting performance against the Charlotte Hornets, it was Satoransky who hit a 3-pointer with 8.0 seconds left to set up LaVine’s game-winner. As for the most recent victory against the Sacramento Kings, Satoransky assisted on three fourth-quarter buckets and scored 6 of his 14 points in the final frame – four of which came via the free-throw line.
Satoransky may not be the player who hits the winning shot, but he’s doing all he can to set the Bulls up for that opportunity, and I don’t want those efforts to go unnoticed.
For example, Satoransky now has the second-best field goal percentage among Bulls’ starters behind Wendell Carter Jr. (and it’s technically second on the team if you’re just including players who have appeared in 20 or more games). He also leads the team in assists and is second in steals.
And although I don’t think we’ve seen his peak in this department just yet, he has dished out seven or more assists in three of these last five-game, while slowly finding his way onto the league leaderboards (currently 6th in the NBA in assist ratio and 30th in assist percentage).
The popular take throughout this season has been to insert Coby White into the starting lineup, and while it’ll happen eventually, I think Satoransky is finally starting to prove why he’s the guy for now. The Bulls offensive rating is a +11.4 and the team’s effective field goal percentage is a +.077 when Satoransky’s on the court, per Basketball-Reference. Coby White’s netting a -6.1 ORtg and a -.045 eFG%. Throw on top of that Satoransky’s +1.4 in assists to White’s -1.3, and it’s easy to see Satoransky’s presence is promoting more ball movement.
Coby White’s the microwave. Satoransky is the blender.
With five games in double-digit scoring and 5+ assists, Satoransky’s displaying consistency the Bulls hoped he had. If he can stay aggressive and continue on this path, the Bulls’ future could look – at least – a little brighter.