Among the most surprising inefficient shooters for the Chicago Bulls this season was recently signed guard Tomas Satoransky.
Somehow, someway, the former front office regime for the Chicago Bulls comprised of ex-vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman managed to have a seemingly good free agent class of 2019 turn into a trio of duds. In a matter of less than one year, the three major Bulls free agent signings already look like failed attempts.
The three most significant free agent signings the Bulls made last season were with former New York Knicks center Luke Kornet, Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, and Washington Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky. Although, the addition of Satoransky came via a sign-and-trade deal with the Wizards. It was the second trade deal (technically) that the Bulls made with the Wizards in a matter of six months.
They also pulled off the deadline deal last year that saw forwards Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker shipped to the nation’s capital for a return of small forward Otto Porter Jr.
When it first occurred, the sign-and-trade deal to land Sato looked like a fantastic move for the Bulls. He was that more experienced and versatile point guard presence that the Bulls were seeking out to compliment their 2019 first round draft pick, and former North Carolina Tar Heels floor general Coby White.
And the first season for Sato in a Bulls uniform started out on a pretty good note. In October and November, Sato shot 36.4 and an impressive 46.0 percent from three-point land. He also posted a true shooting percentage around 55.0 in the first two months of the regular season. Sato was hot out of the gates shooting, especially from downtown.
Even throughout December, he remained a net positive for the Bulls when he was on the floor. He was on average a +9 on the floor per game for the Bulls in December, and shot around 33.0 percent from beyond the arc. His true shooting percentage in December sat at 55.9. Sato was also averaging the most points per game (over 11) that he did in any individual month of this season.
The dip in shooting percentage for Sato would continue into the new year. He got much worse in January, shooting two percent worse from the field than he did in December and roughly 10 percent worse from three-point land. His true shooting percentage did dip only around 2.5 points, but that was still significant given how he was trending.
There was also a significant difference in the splits Sato posted before and after the All-Star break. Sato registered a 44.5 field goal percentage, 34.1 three-point percentage, 88.7 free-throw percentage, and 55.4 true shooting percentage, prior to All-Star Weekend. After the break, he registered a 35.2 field goal percentage, 19.2 three-point percentage, 80.0 free-throw percentage, and 41.8 true shooting percentage.
As a whole this season, he registered a 53.3 true shooting percentage, which contributed to a less than stellar -1.2 box plus/minus rating, and .090 win shares per 48 minutes. He shot 43.0 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from beyond the arc, 87.6 percent from the free-throw line, good for an effective field goal percentage of 48.8 this season.
Most of those shooting percentages are career-lows for Sato. He subtracted 43.9 points by his field goal efficiency this season for the Bulls (compared to the NBA average), and lost the team 37.0 points by true shooting attempts. The only area of his shooting numbers where he wasn’t pretty significantly below the NBA average this season is free-throw percentage (14.0 percent better than the league average).
There is a big looming decision that the Bulls new-look front office regime will have this season as far as what to do with Kornet, Young, and Sato. Each of the three had their fair share of struggles in the season that was. But Sato struggled in a part of his game that is usually one of the most efficient, shooting from the field.