Chicago Bulls: Grading the Tomas Satoransky deal

The Chicago Bulls have reportedly agreed on a sign-and-trade with the Washington Wizards for Tomas Satoransky. Let’s grade the deal.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards have agreed on a sign-and-trade for veteran point guard Tomas Satoransky. He’ll join the Bulls on a 3-year, $30 million deal. This was the second positive move the Bulls made in less than 24 hours.

Satoransky has a really fun old-man-at-the-YMCA craftiness to his offensive game that’s beautiful to watch. He’s the type of guy that shows up at noon ball, and you don’t expect all that much from him, but somehow, his team never loses. He doesn’t ever have to leave the court. He’s not dunking on you and talking trash, but he’s making every shot he takes, he’s picking the defense apart and he’s slowly destroying the souls of all who challenge him.

Am I being hyperbolic? A little. But in all seriousness, he’s methodical, he’s crafty, he can knock down open shots, he’s a smart passer, he doesn’t turn the ball over and he’s sneaky athletic. He’s incredibly underrated, and the Bulls got him for a steal of a deal.

The details of the sign-and-trade:

So yeah, I love Satoransky, but I still have my reservations about bringing him to Chicago.

When the Bulls drafted Coby White with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, I was extremely excited. My belief system when it comes to how to approach rookie point guards drafted in the lottery: Throw them in the fire, see how they respond, and live with the mistakes. A perfect example of this is what the Atlanta Hawks did with Trae Young this past season.

The Hawks started Trae Young from the get-go and lived with his mistakes. Did he struggle at first? Absolutely. He was not good at the beginning of the season. But by the end of the season, he had some people calling for him to win Rookie of the Year. Trial by fire worked for Young and the Hawks. He played 33 (33!) minutes in his NBA debut and finished with a -20 plus/minus. But who cares? After a full season of giving Young the keys to the offense, the Hawks now know for sure that they have their point guard of the future.

I would love to see the Bulls do that with White.

Is White better than Satoransky right now? I mean, there’s no way to know. We haven’t even seen White in the Las Vegas Summer League yet. But it’s hard to imagine White will be better than Satoransky right away. “Sato” is a 3-year NBA vet, he’s 27 years old and he’s started in 87 NBA games. I’m betting Sato is the starter for the Bulls on opening night, but that’s a little disappointing to me.

I’d much rather have Sato be the first guy off the bench than be a starter. Not because he isn’t good enough to be a starter, but because I really want White to get as much experience as possible during his rookie season. Maybe I’m wrong and White would be better off coming off the bench for his first year or two, but it just feels wrong to limit Coby’s playing time at this point.

The good news about Sato is he doesn’t need the ball to be impactful – neither does White. The Bulls can roll out some unique three-ball-handler lineups next season. Coby White, Tomas Satoransky, and Zach LaVine should all play really well off each other. All three guys can come off screens, all three guys are unselfish and all three guys can score at will. They’re also all over 6-foot-5, with Sato being the tallest at 6-foot-7.

Even though I think White should be the day-one starter, I still love the Sato deal. It’s team friendly and Sato’s a great player. If he ends up being the starter, I’ll root for him harder than anyone. There won’t be any hard feelings. Sato as the starter probably equals more wins in the 2019-2020 season than Coby as the starter, but I’m just worried about where the Bulls will be three years from now.

The counterargument to that point, though, is Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. would be better off growing with Sato than White. I don’t know. I’m torn.

The bottom line is the Bulls ended the 2018-19 season with no good starting point guard options, and now they have two. That’s a glorious problem to have.

Next: Ranking the 10 best young cores in the league

Grade: A

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