An Improving Sato, Three Guard Lineups, Denzel's Valentine, and Other Bulls Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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An Improving Sato, Three Guard Lineups, Denzel’s Valentine, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Editor’s note: There’s some good news on the Wendell Carter Jr. front that came out right as we were publishing these bullets, so check that out!

Valentine’s Day is all about finding the happy medium. Go all out one year, and you set yourself up for disappointment the next. Do too little, and you have to wait 365 days to make up for it. You think you can make up for it on a random Tuesday? Good luck with that. 

I think so far today, I’m off to the right start. Got the girlfriend some flowers, I picked her up some breakfast, and I got a couple of other fun COVID-friendly activities up the sleeve. I got a good lead, but we haven’t even hit halftime yet. Let’s hope my ability to close isn’t as wishy-washy as the Bulls.

•   You know what I love? Good point guard play. I mean, is there anything sexier than leading an offense? Coby White has been pretty hit or miss in that category over the course of the season, and I think it’s safe to say his inconsistencies haven’t necessarily made us feel the most encouraged about his ability to man the position long-term. At the same time, we have to remember that (1) he is only 20-year-old and that (2) he has been dealt a rather bad hand over his first 24 games in the starting lineup. Not only has he been forced to learn an entirely new offense, but his teammates continue to pop on and off of the injury report, which has forced him to lead seven different starting lineup combinations this season. So while our concerns are justified, it does feel perfectly acceptable to give him plenty more time to grow into the position.

•   Also, for what it’s worth, I’m just not sure I’d be convinced that switching out White for Tomas Satoransky would make a significant difference. Sure, it would give the second unit a more consistent scoring threat, and it might also help stabilize the first unit to a point where the on/off stats aren’t as one-sided, but would it really impact the Bulls chances to win? Like Donovan said, White being in the starting lineup has nothing to do with the outcome of the game. In my opinion, White’s presence in the starting lineup only helps his development, and we all know that is a priority for the front office this season.

•   I am encouraged by what we have seen from Satoransky lately, though. He struggled to get his legs back under him after returning from the positive COVID diagnosis, but he’s looking much more like the efficiently pass-happy point guard we’re used to seeing over the team’s past two games. Against the Pelicans, he may have only finished with 3 points, but he did dish out an impressive 8 assists off the bench. He then followed that performance up with his best of the season, scoring 17 points with 7 assists against the Clippers. Based on what we heard from the Bulls backup guard on Friday night, it seems like this could be closer to the Satoransky we see moving forward (h/t Bulls.com): “At some point I have to be a little bit more aggressive. I’m a pass first point guard and sometimes when I feel like the other team doesn’t pay attention too much to me I have to become a little more aggressive, which I did today with my cutting and getting to the paint, trying to take advantage of the switching with the bigs.”

•   While I prefer White to stay in the starting spot (for now), I would be happy to see Donovan give a three-guard lineup of Satoransky-White-LaVine more run. While we are dealing with a very limited sample size (like, 15 possessions), the lineup that features those three alongside Thaddeus Young and Patrick Williams is +73, per Cleaning the Glass. Again, the more Donovan uses the lineup, the more that number will fall, but I do think we’ve seen enough solid play that more experimentation is warranted. With Satoranksy on the floor, it just gives the Bulls some extra size in the backcourt and allows both LaVine and White to play off the ball. Those are good things.

•   Speaking of good back-up point guards, the Bulls play one tomorrow …

•   A Valentine from Valentine.

•   Why isn’t 12, 45, and 23 hanging in the rafters, again?



Author: Elias Schuster

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