A backup point guard may spell the difference for a tuned-up Chicago Bulls team ready to possibly take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven games, or a banged-up squad that gets swept for nothing.
Aaron Brooks just went down to tendinitis, which means the Chicago Bulls are running only one point guard on their roster. E’Twaun Moore technically counts as the shooting guard when Jimmy Butler has been away from the action with a knee issue. Justin Holiday is a point forward-wing who might not fit the position for the moment.
Although Hoiball really does not need a point guard to run half-court sets or fastbreak sets effectively, no one else on the Bulls roster can push the ball up as well as Rose, and the Bulls desperately need another able body to bring the ball up and run sets.
With 20 games left before the playoffs, Gar Forman and John Paxson should seriously consider calling up one of the Bulls’ Summer League point guards, who could make a difference if given good minutes.
Let’s look at two candidates for the backup point guard in Chicago: Jimmer Fredette and Vander Blue. The last thing Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls management want to see is Derrick Rose burning out or getting hurt from playing too many minutes in the midst of a run at the postseason. Fredette or Blue just might be the quick fix steal the Bulls are looking for.
The Bulls should take a second look at oft-maligned, ex-College Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette.
Kurt Rambis and Carmelo Anthony sniffed at Jimmer’s ability to play NBA defense in New York for the Knicks, in spite of fans knowing better and Phil Jackson having a gut feeling that Fredette could be another Jeremy Lin. So he got passed over after a recent 10-day contract with the Knicks. Their loss.
The Bulls should look carefully at what Fredette can really do for a depleted lineup. Fredette can score the ball. That’s what he’s known for. He has a cult following for that sole reason. Making three-point baskets from 30 feet away night in and night out at different levels.
He’s the farthest thing from a shutdown defensive guard, so don’t even count that when sizing his potential. The Bulls already have new trade acquisition Justin Holiday for that back-up role.
If you know your basketball, you’ll know that Clippers guard J.J. Redick can’t really stop any of the top guards in the NBA defensively. Fredette is the stronger scoring guard between the two. If J.J. Redick got cut from the Clippers right now, he wouldn’t be able to win a D-League scoring title by himself. Think about that.
Since the Bulls are losing to what rabid fans call ‘almost-D-League’ competition — as in below .500 teams — because the team’s offense sputters, Fredette is the perfect candidate to pick up the slack and help the team win against weaker teams.
Fredette was picked up in late 2014 as an ’emergency option’ according to Tom Thibodeau, so playing him as a rotation player was never in the interest of the former Bulls coach. If the Bulls played Fredette more minutes going into the 2014 playoffs, they could have beaten Washington with clutch shooting from Fredette.
Why can’t the Bulls have two Doug McDermotts on the team? One at shooting forward and the other at back-up point guard, then groom both of them for a killer Hoiball look next year.
If the Bulls needed a strong and penetrating scorer like Derrick Rose, their LVSL scrimmage team featured one of the NBA D-League’s top scoring machines, Vander Blue.
Blue is built like a tank for his height and goes strong to the basket. He can also take contact and make shots in traffic. He’s a cross between Nate Robinson and a poor man’s Derrick Rose, but in a good way. Blue’s a strong scoring point guard. If the Bulls are up against Cleveland in the first round of the play-offs with bruisers Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov manning the paint, I’d like to see Blue taking them on.
He is also a zippy guard who can really push the ball up the court like Aaron Brooks. Best of all, Blue played really well with Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis and friends with the Bulls in Las Vegas this past summer.
If the Bulls can also check Ramon Galloway — a European league journeyman — he might work out, too, because he distributed the ball well in Vegas. Galloway is the perfect complement to Doug McDermott for finding him when open, unlike Brooks, who looks for his shot first instead of possible corner threes or rim cutters.
Fredette and Blue should be better fitted to the Bulls’ system than any outsider picked up from waivers from another team. If they can squeeze in 16-20 minutes of back-up point guard duty in the last 20 games, that may really spell the difference for a good Eastern Conference playoff run. The Bulls can waive Aaron Brooks and Cameron Bairstow for a potential pick up if they need space on the team.