The Bulls 2018-19 season is officially over, which means that it’s time to evaluate the team’s performance over the past 82 games.
Introducing: player report cards. Broken down by position, we’ll be evaluating each player’s performance this season, including their top moment of the season and potential future with the team.
Disclaimer: position report cards will not include players that were on the team for less than half the season. Those players will be compiled in their own report card story later on. Otto Porter is being included in this story because he had a more significant impact than most players that were with the Bulls in the same timeframe.
There was nothing super spectacular about Hutchison’s performance this season, but he did prove that he can be a productive bench player.
Keep in mind that Hutchison wasn’t a lottery pick for the Bulls, so it’s unfair to ask for Wendell Carter-like numbers from him. For a player that was taken 22nd overall, Hutchison had a good season.
He showed flashes of athleticism and had considerably less turnovers than most players his age. But most importantly, Hutchison played hard, even drawing a Scottie Pippen comparison from Stacey King more than once during the season.
Like most of the team, Hutchison got bit by the injury bug late in the season and the Bulls shut him down in January, due to a season-ending toe injury.
With the injury, the sample size for Hutchison is smaller than ideal. But what we did see from Hutchison this season was promising, with plenty of room for improvement in the future, which is all you can ask from a late first round draft pick.
Moment of the season: the entire game against the Mavericks, including the several possessions where Hutchison was guarding Dirk Nowitzki, but mostly this beautiful full court run that he finished with the left
— Jordan Maly (@JordanCMaly) November 13, 2018
Lauri Markkanen went through the ringer this season.
An elbow injury took him out before the season even began. And he ended the season on the bench with a heartbeat issue that could’ve been much more serious than it ended up being.
All that considered, Markkanen was absolutely stellar this season. He took a step forward in almost every statistical category. Points, assists, rebounds, field goals attempted, field goals made, 3-pointers made, and free throw percentage all ended up significantly better than last season.
The only real area where Markkanen took a step back was in games played, which was due solely to his injuries.
The improvement in his on court play was impressive, but his most significant improvement was in the locker room. Markkanen stepped up as a leader this season, which was much needed with the coaching fiasco the Bulls went through this season.
Markkanen was reportedly one of the players that encouraged the Bulls to show up to practice and have a meeting with Jim Boylen the morning after the team lost to the Boston Celtics by 56 points, rather than skip the practice all together.
For a player as young as Markkanen to show that much professionalism in the face of a franchise-record loss is remarkable. And it’s a great sign for his future with the team.
As for his on-court performance, there is some consistency missing, which is the only reason Markkanen isn’t receiving an A+.
Markkanen seemed to be just as quiet when he was scoring seven points as he was when scoring 31. During several stretches of the season, it felt like tension was building as everyone waited for Markkanen to finally have a break-out, in-your-face, take-over game.
As he gets healthy again this off-season, more of those performances are sure to come.
Moment of the season: this beautifully savage poster dunk over Nikola Vucevic
Otto Porter: A-
Except for the giant contract attached to him, of course.
If Porter weren’t costing the team so much money next season, it would’ve been hard to justify not giving him an A+.
Porter did a little bit of everything in the 15 games he played with the Bulls this season – so much, actually, that it felt like he was here for much longer than he actually was.
Increases in points and assists, and a drastic increase to his three-point percentage made Porter look like he really could be a part of the Bulls future.
Much like Markkanen, the Bulls will be craving some consistency from Porter, especially on the defensive end. But the biggest criticism of Porter up to being traded to the Bulls was his lack of offensive aggressiveness and he’s turned that around since being traded, so he could surely do the same with defense.
With that improvement, Porter would be a perfect long-term addition to the team, granted that he comes at a fair price.
Moment of the season: the block against Memphis that proved Porter can get it done on both ends of the floor
No layups on Otto Porter pic.twitter.com/Q2rLfFbiKQ
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) February 28, 2019
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