As great as DeMar DeRozan turned out to be this season, his play wasn’t unfathomable. He was already a four-time All-Star with several seasons of midrange wizardry and playoff victories under his belt.
As for Lonzo Ball, while his 3-point marksmanship, transition playmaking, and perimeter defense were beautiful to watch, each skillset represented the player many expected him to become when he went No. 2 in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Alex Caruso brought the same defensive grit the Bulls paid for, and Zach LaVine continued his anticipated rise with another All-Star appearance. Javonte Green, though … that was a surprise!
• All things considered, Green is right alongside Ayo Dosunmu for the most pleasant surprise of this season. Many turned their head when the front office inked the 28-year-old forward to a two-year deal one offseason ago. Not only did he feel like nothing more than a throw-in during the three-team trade that took place during the 2020-21 trade deadline, but he only had two years of NBA play under his belt. How much could the forward out of Radford really bring to the table?
• Green played no more than 418 minutes in each of his previous two seasons. In the 2019-20 campaign, he appeared in just 38 games. In the 2020-21 campaign, he played in 23 games before Boston sent him to Chicago (where he went on to appear in 12 additional games). Green seemed to be nothing more than a back-of-bench talent whose athleticism was best served on the practice court. But, boy, did Green prove that assumption wrong!
• Through a strong training camp and even stronger preseason, Green carved out an instant role in the rotation. His endless hustle gave the Bulls a perfect running mate in transition and a consistently scrappy presence on the defensive end (+1.6 estimated defensive plus-minus, per Dunks & Threes). He went on to play 1519 minutes this season over 65 games, including 45 starts. Green made the absence of several starters sting that much less. No, he couldn’t substitute Williams’ size or Ball’s shooting, but he played the kind of relentlessly energetic brand of basketball that can be plugged into almost any lineup. And that’s exactly why I have to wonder what Green’s future holds.
Javonte Green is the most underrated in-game dunker in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/qVG3xyenqO
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 25, 2022
JAVONTE GREEN IS JUST ABSURD pic.twitter.com/DnlNusmoPT
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 7, 2022
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 30, 2021
• While I don’t think the Bulls will necessarily pick up the phone and ask for Green suitors, I wouldn’t be surprised if his name came out of another executive’s mouth this summer. Green’s fit as a reliable defender and sparkplug player is obvious on this roster, but his career year could offer Karnisovas a decent asset to use in filling big holes on this roster. In other words, could Green be part of a deal for more shooting? What about more traditional size? I could see it.
• Believe it or not, Green actually grabbed the second-most offensive rebounds on the roster this season behind only Nikola Vucevic. So if the Bulls were thinking about dealing him, let’s hope they at least get back someone who can provide similar pressure on the glass. After all, the Bulls finished the year ranked 28th in offensive rebounding percentage. Despite a solid 7th-place finish in DREB% (thank you, Nikola Vucevic), this dismal effort on the offensive end dragged their overall REB% down to 17th in the league. Karnisovas has to see that number improve next season.
• Karnisovas will also have to see Nikola Vucevic’s 3-point shooting improve next season. ICYMI: I wrote more about just how uncharacteristically bad the big man shot this season:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 13, 2022
• Uh, those are some decent odds.
Good news for Suns and Celtics:
Home teams have a record of 109-33 (.768) in Game 7s throughout NBA history.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 15, 2022
• Until they prove me wrong, I have to stick with both the Bucks and Suns to make it out of their respective Game 7 battles tonight. I have to imagine Giannis Antetokounmpo goes full-blown MVP mode, while Devin Booker and Co. methodically wear down a less-experienced Mavs squd. But, hey, I’d love to be wrong! As long as the Bulls are out of the picture, I’m always here for some postseason chaos!
• You love to see it.
"What we are working to do is implement a comprehensive program whereby we listen to, educate, provide resources, and increase awareness across the NBA family as it relates to mental health and wellbeing."https://t.co/IRrGUkpzGF
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 15, 2022
• Let’s get another dub!
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 15, 2022