Can Billy Donovan Find a Role For a Healthy Chandler Hutchison? (and Other Bulls Bullets)

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Can Billy Donovan Find a Role For a Healthy Chandler Hutchison? (and Other Bulls Bullets)

Chicago Bulls

‘Tis hoops season!

Are you ready to bundle up, grab a bite at the Billy Goat, and head to the UC? What about snuggle with the family on the couch to watch some Christmas Day action? Or just head to the bar and catch a game while throwing back some brewskis with some pals? Well … too bad! As the NBA pushes through with the start of the new season, 2020 continues to push us to our breaking point.

The COVID-19 pandemic is raging on, and it will certainly change the way some of us enjoy the basketball season. Fortunately, though, we should still have uninterrupted games to watch and a revamped Bulls organization to cheer on. Uh, that is if the NBA can prove to manage their player safety better than the other professional sports leagues.

•   With the first round of test results were released on Wednesday, the league isn’t necessarily off to the bet post-bubble start. According to a statement shared by the NBA and NBPA, the initial batch of tests came back with roughly an 8.8% positivity rate.

•   I know that may not sound too problematic – and I guess in the grand scheme of things it isn’t – but it does highlight the potential issues facing the league as they limit supervision. The rate is about 3% higher than when players first tested to enter the bubble, so the question now is can the NBA ensure this number steadily decreases to zero, and stays that way, as the season ramps up? With travel on the horizon and players/coaches/personnel not withheld to a Disney campus … that’ll be a lot easier said than done.

•   I guess Anthony Davis decided that he didn’t want to risk becoming a backup to Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr. Understood (*sheds single tear*). The next opportunity for Davis to return home (not via a wild trade of some kind) would be in 2024, as the fifth season of his deal contains an early-termination option.

•   At this rate, I literally think anything that isn’t 2020 will be “special.”

•   The Bulls 2018 draft pick spoke with reporters for the first time this offseason on Wednesday. He was the first Bulls player on the brink of saying arguably the most cliche training camp phrase, “this is the best I’ve ever felt.” For Hutchison, though, that might actually be a believable comment. His first two seasons in the league have been more injury-riddled than draft-mate Wendell Carter Jr.’s. Last season, he only appeared in a total of 28 games thanks to a lingering shoulder issue. The 24-year-old reportedly had surgery on that shoulder and has been rehabbing over the offseason. Reportedly now at full health, only time will tell whether he can make it through training camp without any bumps or bruises.

•   Look, I know it’s hard to get excited about Hutchison. He is a 24-year-old, third-year player who has only played a total of 72 games in his career. Not great. However, to his credit, he did show flashes of being a valuable rotation player during his limited healthy playing time last season. He had scoring outings of 21, 17. and 16 over what would be his last six games of the season. He also happened to average roughly 7.0 rebounds over his last five contests.

•  When it comes to two-way talents, Hutchison does have one of the more intriguing skillsets on this roster. He plays with a ton of effort (which is half the battle on defense) and offers great positional size at the wing. His best basketball is played running downhill and cutting toward the rim. While he can occasionally hit the 3, he shouldn’t be viewed or used as any kind of perimeter threat. If anyone will realize all of this, it should be Donovan. I’m not setting any kind of high expectations for Hutchison, but I will say that he fits the kind of mold that Donovan has turned into a reliable role player. We’ve seen the Bulls new head coach turn players like Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazely, Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo, Jerami Grant, and Andre Roberson into solid rotation pieces. All I’m saying is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he can do the same with a healthy Hutch.

•   Anyway, here is a player you can actually get super excited about:

•   I guess this guy, too:

•   Schedule release tomorrow! Maybe the Bulls can just play the Cavs all 72 games!

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.