With the 2016-2017 NBA season just past the quarter-mark, we took a look at the individual player grades thus far.Through 24 games the Chicago Bulls check in at 13-11, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference. Here is The Loop Sports’ first quarter player grades.
Jimmy Butler: A
Jimmy Butler is the man in Chicago, with Derrick Rose now departed for the Big Apple, Jimmy Buckets is the Bulls primary scoring option, a role in which he has excelled at this season. Butler is averaging 25.7 points per game for the Bulls this season, to go along with 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Butler has been feasting at the fee-throw line thus far, averaging 10 attempts per game, making nine of those 10 on average. Butler is averaging just under 37 minutes per game, and shooting a tick under 47 percent for the campaign. Butler has been the backbone of the Bulls this season, a team that has struggled to find consistent success offensively for the most part.
There’s really nothing negative to point out about Butler’s first quarter performance, however I would like to see him continue to drive to the basket and try to really dig in and exploit his plus 90 percent free-throw percentage to his advantage.
Dwyane Wade: B
Dwyane Wade has been what the Bulls expected, plus a little more after they signed the 35-year-old veteran to come finish out his playing days with his hometown team. Wade has been surprisingly effective and often available as well. Anytime you can get 32 minutes per game out of your 35-year-old veteran shooting guard, you’ll gladly take it. It’s also worth noting that Wade has only missed two games, both scheduled veteran rest days.
Wade is second on the Bulls in scoring with 19.9 points per game, trailing only Jimmy Butler. The veteran guard is also averaging 4.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. D-Wade is shooting 44 percent from the field so far this season.
Rajon Rondo: C
Rajon Rondo has had some really bright moments in his young Bulls tenure this season, and he has also had some real bone-head moments in the same span. One game he shows flashes of the Rondo that we remember from his Boston days, and some days he’s getting suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
Rondo hasn’t been much of a scoring factor for the Bulls, averaging just eight points per game through his first 20 games. But Rondo is providing others with scoring chances, leading the team with seven assists per game. Rondo is also averaging 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game for the Bulls. Rondo’s scoring efficiency has been pretty bad thus far, shooting just 39 percent from the field, and 59 percent from the charity stripe.
Taj Gibson: B
Taj Gibson has been one of the more steady forces in the Bulls rotation for years now, and is having a very good start to the 2016-2017 season. Gibson is averaging a tick under 29 minutes per game in Fred Hoiberg‘s rotation, and taking full advantage.
Gibson is third in scoring with 12 points per game, and averaging 7.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game. Gibson has been extremely efficient from the field, leading the team with a 54 percent field goal rate. The 31-year-old big man is showing no signs of slowing down at this point, having played in all 24 of the Bulls games to date this season.
Robin Lopez: B
My candidate for the “Guy who Bulls fans thought was a throw-in to move Derrick Rose‘s contract, but is actually one of the better players on the team” Award.
Seriously, all I heard from friends after the Rose deal this summer was that Lopez was sub-par (putting it nicely), and wouldn’t make a difference for the Bulls. To be fair, I wasn’t overly excited about the acquisition either, but Robin Lopez has been the most pleasant surprise for the Bulls this season so far.
Lopez has started all 24 games for the Bulls so far, averaging 29 minutes per game. At just a hair under 10, at 9.8 points per game, Lopez is providing the Bulls with some offensive support in the paint that they surely did not anticipate. Lopez is also averaging eight rebounds and two blocks per game, and shooting at a 47 percent clip.
Dougie McBuckets, as Bulls Analyst Stacey King refers to him, checks in with a “C” on his first quarter grade today. McDermott has only played in 12 games this season due to injury, and hasn’t been overwhelming in those games either.
McDermott is currently averaging 9.9 points per game in 24 minutes per game for the Bulls. While his points per game is not bad for the average time he sees the floor each night, McDermott is also averaging only 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. The 25-year-old small forward is shooting 48 percent from the field, including 31 percent from three point land.
Nikola Mirotic has been extremely inconsistent since joining the Bulls a few seasons ago, often times haunted by his own lack of confidence. Mirotic has to lead the league in pump-fakes followed by passes over the last three seasons, because seemingly every time he touched the ball, that’s what he does. To the extent that defenders don’t even close in on him when he throws out his signature pump-fake when faced with a wide open look.
Mirotic is averaging 8.7 points per game, over 22.4 minutes per game in 24 games for the Bulls this season. It’s no wonder why Niko loves to pump-fake and pass the ball, his shooting percentage is sitting at a mere 38 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the perimeter. His 5.7 rebounds per contest are average, but his other numbers are dismal, averaging only 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block per game.
Isaiah Canaan is having a consistently mediocre 2016-2017 campaign after coming to the Bulls from the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Canaan is averaging roughly 21 minutes per game, playing in all but one of the Bulls 24 games this season.
Canaan is averaging just under seven points per game this year, and not shooting the ball well at all. Canaan is shooting 38 percent from the field and a dismal 26 percent from beyond the arc. Canaan is also turning in roughly one rebound, one assist, and one steal thus far, as well as a turnover per game.
Michael Carter-Williams was acquired from the Bucks in exchange for Tony Snell just before the regular season began, and I thought it would have been tough to lose a trade for Tony Snell, until of course MCW came to town.
Carter-Williams has only played in three games for the Bulls this season due to injury. In those three games MCW posted a 26 percent field goal percentage, and averaged four points per game.
Jerian Grant: D
The former Notre Dame stand-out has been used mostly in a back-up role so far for the Bulls, with a few starts sprinkled in between when Rajon Rondo is not in the lineup. Grant is averaging four points in 13 minutes per game to date, along with 1.1 assists per contest.
Bobby Portis: F
Oh, Bobby Portis, where do I begin?
You’re shaping up to be a real draft bust at this point, and I was actually really excited about you when you were drafted. I’m sorry, that may be harsh, but I’m really struggling to see anything positive that Portis brings to the Bulls at this point.
Portis was given a larger role in Fred Hoiberg‘s game-plan this season, and fell flat on his face. Now having his minutes shrunk significantly as a result, Portis is averaging 11.6 minutes per game with four points and three rebounds per game. Portis is averaging less than one in assists, blocks and steals per game.
Felicio has been the immediate benefactor in the demise of Bobby Portis in Fred Hoiberg‘s game-plan, now getting consistent minutes after looking good. Up to 11.5 minutes per game, Felicio is averaging three points and four rebounds per contest, while shooting 43 percent from the field, and 70 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bulls most recent first round draft pick is off to a less than memorable start to his NBA career, after looking highly impressive in the summer league and preseason contests.
Valentine has been downright awful so far, averaging 10.4 minutes per game over his first 17 games. Valentine has recorded 2.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, while shooting a dismal 27 percent from the field. Valentine has been highly ineffective, and has struggled to gain additional minutes on a roster just begging for someone to show they can score efficiently.