Chicago Bulls 2018-19 season preview: Justin Holiday

Chicago Bulls Justin Holiday (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls Justin Holiday (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls wing Justin Holiday found himself out of the rotation towards the end of the 2017-18 season. Will he have a bigger role in the 2018-19 season?

When the Chicago Bulls signed Justin Holiday to a 2-year, $9 million deal in 2017, it was pretty obvious that he was going to have an interesting role going forward. The Bulls had recently traded All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in hopes of embarking on a successful rebuild.

Last season, Holiday served as a veteran on the young Bulls team, despite only being 28 years old for most of the season. Now, the 29-year-old wing finds himself on the outside looking in on a Bulls roster full of young, promising talent. That doesn’t mean he won’t be useful, though.

During the 2017-18 NBA season, Holiday averaged 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game on 37.1 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent shooting from 3-point range.

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The shooting percentages are clearly a problem, but Holiday was also taking tough shots last year. I don’t think he’ naturally a poor shooter, I just think his role was a little odd for him.

Holiday averaged 31.5 minutes per game in his 72 games played in 2017-18, but he saw a dramatic drop in his minutes per game towards the end of the season as the Bulls were seemingly trying to lose as many games as possible.

It makes sense, though. Holiday was one of the Bulls’ best players last season, so when the Bulls were in an all-out sprint to the bottom against several other teams, he had to be on the bench.

Now that Zach LaVine is healthy and Jabari Parker is in a Bulls uniform, I don’t expect Holiday to have a spot in the starting lineup. The question for Holiday is, how will the bench rotation play out? Will Holiday be the first wing off the bench, or will that spot be reserved for promising rookie Chandler Hutchison?

Regardless of Holiday’s playing time, the Bulls will be in need of some veteran leadership. This is the youngest and most inexperienced team the Bulls have had in a long time. If they want to reach their full potential as a team, it will require multiple veterans to accept bench roles in hopes of developing the young guys.

With Holiday’s contract set to expire after the 2018-19 season, I’m expecting this to be Holiday’s last season in a Bulls uniform. I could be wrong, but it just seems like the Bulls won’t have a need for a 30-year-old wing next summer. Of course, if there is an unfortunate injury bug that bites the Bulls young stars again, Holiday might be needed.

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Projected 2018-19 stat line: 7.5 PPG / 2.0 RPG / 1.0 APG / 44.5% FG / 38.0% 3FG