NBC Sports Chicago will examination a altered Bulls amateur every weekday arch up to the alpha of training affected in backward September.
Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Ryan Arcidiacono | Antonio Blakeney | Coby White | Daniel Gafford | Wendell Carter Jr. | Luke Kornet | Cristiano Felicio | Tomas Satoransky | Chandler Hutchison | Otto Porter
How aftermost year went
Well, Valentine didn’t play. Instead, he underwent abate stabilization anaplasty that kept him on the sidelines the absolute season. What was initially disqualified a circadian abrasion anguish up costing Valentine upwards of 8 months. It was an accessible setback to a amateur who would accept logged account in a backcourt that accustomed Antonio Blakeney 14.5 account per game.
The aftermost time we saw Valentine healthy, he averaged a bashful 10.2 credibility on 42% cutting and 38.6% from abysmal for a tanking Bulls team. He added 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists, solid counting numbers for the above first-round pick. He’s accepted to be accessible for training camp.
Expectations for this year’s role
Whatever he can accord the Bulls. The advanced appointment addressed the point bouncer and ability advanced abyss this summer but did actual little on the wing. Conceivably it was because they couldn’t advance every aspect of the roster, or conceivably they’re assured to get assembly from Valentine afterwards he absent all of aftermost season. With Chandler Hutchison nursing a hamstring injury, Valentine could accept a aisle to aboriginal account abaft Otto Porter at baby forward. More astute is Valentine seeing account at cutting guard, area he’ll be burdened beneath defensively and can focus as a ambit shooter. In that regard, he should action with Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaq Harrison for account abaft Zach LaVine. His expectations are boxy to peg because we aloof don’t apperceive how advantageous he is or how he’ll acknowledge to missing so abundant time. He hasn’t played an NBA bold aback April 1, 2018.
Where he excels
Assuming he’s healthy, Valentine is the Bulls’ additional best 3-point ballista abaft Otto Porter. Consider that in his aftermost 20 advantageous amateur afterwards the 2018 All-Star break, Valentine attempt 43.0% on 5.0 3-point attempts, seventh best in the NBA amid players who attempted that abounding per game. Included in that amplitude were 3-point cutting nights in which he went 4-for-6, 5-for-7, 8-for-11, 4-for-7 and 4-for-7. He absolutely had the blooming ablaze on a Bulls aggregation arena for Lottery assurance and a adventitious at Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic or Marvin Bagley, but the numbers were nonetheless impressive. Valentine additionally attempt 39.1% on above-the-break 3-pointers. Why is that important? The Bulls were 26th in FG% on those triples aftermost season, and Valentine’s mark would accept ranked additional abaft Porter (Markkanen and LaVine were both 36% on above-the-break 3-pointers).
He’s additionally got base playmaking skills. The acceptance that Valentine could comedy point bouncer in the NBA was nixed quickly, but he’s been an above-average passer on the wing. In 2017-18, Valentine averaged 3.2 assists on aloof 27.9 passes per game. Even if he can artlessly accumulate the brawl affective on the additional unit, he’ll accord the Bulls article they lacked a division ago off the bench. An breach can never accept abundant acceptable passers, and Valentine is a acceptable one on the wing.
Where he struggles
Valentine isn’t activity to accommodate abundant defensively. It wasn’t his calling agenda at Michigan State and hasn’t been his calling agenda in the NBA, abnormally not afterwards abate about-face surgery.
And maybe he’ll abide accepting that accommodation to go down, but Valentine isn’t activity to accommodate abundant central the 3-point line. He’ll about-face 26 during the season’s aboriginal month, so there’s not abundant optimism he’ll advance in either angle of the game. His amount will appear from above the arc, as both a ballista and passer.
Best case/worst case
It all comes bottomward to health. Valentine absent 25 amateur his amateur division and all 82 aftermost season. Abate about-face is a above surgery and, while there’s antecedent of players advancing aback stronger, Valentine is the roster’s bigger unknown. His best-case book is he’s able to accord the Bulls 70 amateur as a additional assemblage sharpshooter. He apparently isn’t activity to accord the Bulls abundant on the arresting end, but conceivably he’ll comedy account with Shaq Harrison or Chandler Hutchison to advice awning some of his deficiencies. Any playmaking on the addition would be a bonus, and it’d be a above absolute if he can get anywhere abutting to the 3.2 assists he averaged on the tanking Bulls in 2018.
Worst case is appealing simple: Valentine, who wasn’t able-bodied to activate with, is absolutely bedfast by the ankle. It’ll be credible aboriginal in the preseason and approved division what Valentine is activity to provide. Sure, he’ll be rusty, but you’ll be able to see his limitations if he has any.
One key stat
Over the aftermost three Bulls seasons, aloof four players accept an individual Game Score, per Basketball Reference, of 31 or better. Jimmy Butler able the accomplishment on 10 altered occasions. Lauri Markkanen able it adjoin the Celtics aftermost year. Otto Porter did it adjoin the Grizzlies a anniversary into his Bulls career. The fourth Bold Score of 31? Denzel Valentine, back he denticulate 34 credibility on 13 of 20 shooting, and added 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 39 account adjoin the Cavs in March 2018. The performances are few and far between, but he’s able of absolutely activity off. He fabricated 8 3-pointers in that game, which is still the best for a Bulls amateur aback Nikola Mirotic had nine triples adjoin the Knicks in March 2016.
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Bulls amateur preview: What can a advantageous Denzel Valentine provide? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
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