Chicago Bulls: 3 players who should be ripping Jim Boylen

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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2. Wendell Carter Jr., Center

It almost seemed like the progress that second-year former Duke Blue Devils center Wendell Carter Jr. was showing at the outset of the 2019-20 regular season was put to a grinding halt partly because the role he was slotted into. There’s a lot of stat categories that shouldn’t be climbing for a more intelligent second-year big man like WCJ at this point of his career.

The assist-to-turnover ratio is trending in the wrong direction, and he’s averaging more fouls per game, and his block rate is way down. Not all of that can be just situational for WCJ since he is a solid rim protector, a smart big man positionally, and has tremendous court vision even though his offensive versatility and arsenal still needs some work.

WCJ’s block rate is down from 4.5 percent to 2.7 so far this season, largely due to him having to make up too much ground for failed blitzing schemes on defense. His assist rate is also down from 10.7 to 6.0 percent this season. The coaching staff just needs to let Carter Jr. facilitate the offense more often from inside the three-point line.

The boost in production that players like LaVine and point guard Kris Dunn got in the key defensive areas came at the detriment of Carter Jr.’s stat line. Dunn led the NBA in steal rate for most of the season, but when he missed, big men like WCJ paid with having to take more personal fouls or having to cover too many players on the weakside on defense.

While this argument should be taken more from a team-first approach, WCJ has a legitimate gripe for any counterintuitive schemes to his development and poor usage given his unique skill set.