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.
Rawle Alkins (SG): C+
At mid-season, everyone seemed to know that it was just a matter of time before the Bulls called Rawle Alkins up on a 10-day contract.
The Windy City Bulls star had been putting in 20-point performances consistently and with the Bulls lack of depth due to injuries, Rawle’s call-up was inevitable. His time with the Bulls, however, wasn’t as successful as they had hoped.
He had good games, including an 11-point, 3-assist performance against the Wizards in early April. But every good performance came with a downside.
In the case of his game against the Wizards, it came with two turnovers. The same was true a few games later, when his 7-point performance against the 76ers came with turnovers, as well.
There was no game of Alkins’ that was categorically bad or destructive to team performance. But more was expected of him, given his performance in the G-League.
Moment of the season: this seemingly impossible pass to Antonio Blakeney from under the basket
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 31, 2019
Walt Lemon (PG): A
There may not be a long-term future for Walt Lemon with the Bulls, but no one will be forgetting his time with the team this season any time soon.
Lemon was a short-term signing at the end of the season, stepping in for players the Bulls had already shut down with injuries. He had already made quite a name for himself in the G-League, which earned him a spot on the All NBA G-League Second Team, but he proved his NBA worth in the few games he played for the Bulls.
Lemon started his Bulls career off with a bang, scoring 19 points in his debut, and put up 24 points in a rare late-season Bulls win and 20 points in the final game of the season.
You could justify giving Lemon an A based on just the Derrick Rose nostalgia alone. But the Chicago native gave his hometown fans something to be excited about at the end of a going-nowhere season, which makes the A even easier to hand out.
Moment of the season: a coast-to-coast play in his Bulls debut
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) March 31, 2019
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (SF): B+
Coming into his time with the Bulls, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had more to prove than most of the players in this report card.
The Bulls traded away a future second-round pick for him, so they needed to see some value quicker than players they signed to 10-day contracts.
The value wasn’t always obvious, as Luwawu-Cabarrot struggled to find consistency for much of his season. To be fair, a lot of his minutes came in garbage time and there were more than a few occasions where he played less than ten minutes.
But even in games where he played 20 minutes or more, he wasn’t able to score consistently. For example, Luwawu-Cabarrot played 23 minutes in a loss to Detroit in mid-March and only scored two points.
He was still a steady defensive presence, even when he wasn’t scoring, and for the small price they paid for him, the Bulls can’t be too upset with what they got back. But as far as a long-term future with the team goes, Luwawu-Cabarrot will have to find some consistency before the team really considers keeping him around.
Moment of the season: a beautiful under-the-basket and-one layup
— Wiz (@WayneIzardry) February 7, 2019
Brandon Sampson (SG): B+
To be frank, it will be easy to forget that Brandon Sampson was on the roster this season.
In each game he played this season, even the two games that he started, Sampson was just kind of…there. He didn’t help the team, he didn’t hurt the team.
There was no distinct shooting ability or hustle or defensive toughness that set Sampson apart from the other players on the floor. Sampson went out and played, scored a few points and pulled down a few rebounds. But at the end of the day, he didn’t make a very large impact on either end of the floor.
Signing Sampson to any kind of long-term commitment doesn’t make sense because he hasn’t proven that he deserves it. But signing him to a two-way deal with the G-League is definitely justifiable while the Bulls are still rebuilding.
Moment of the season: this explosive dunk over the Knicks
We see you, Brandon Sampson! pic.twitter.com/4ayWOiPBwM
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 10, 2019
JaKarr Sampson (SF): A+
It’s hard to criticize someone that only played four games with the Bulls this season.
It’s even harder to criticize them when they scored 22, 18, 29, and 11 in those games.
JaKarr Sampson was playing for a future spot on a roster in his four games with the team, which is why his point totals are so high. But still, his performances were impressive and they’ll likely enough to earn him a short-term contract with an NBA team.
Like many other players on the Bulls this season, frequent turnovers were a problem, but Sampson scored enough points to cover them most of the time. The question surrounding Sampson now is sustainability. Will he be able to keep up the scoring binges he went on this season for more than four games? Whether or not he can will likely determine his future with the team.
Moment of the season: this unfair poster dunk
JaKarr Sampson just did Kornet dirty 😮🔨 pic.twitter.com/24rukgaaED
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 2, 2019
Tyler Ulis (PG): A+
Tyler Ulis only played one minute with the Bulls this season.
But, man, it was a nice minute.
Moment of the season: that minute, which there is no footage of.
Follow Katy on Twitter (@katyduffy_) for more Bulls news and opinion.