Chicago Bulls: Writer says WCJ will benefit most from Donovan hire

Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls could see a greater benefit to 6-foot-9 center Wendell Carter Jr. than any other player on this team after the hire of Billy Donovan.

The ongoing conversation as to how the locker room dynamic will shift for the Chicago Bulls heading into the fourth year of the rebuild amid all of the front office and coaching staff changes this offseason will be interesting as it continues to play out. The Bulls hired former Oklahoma City Thunder and Florida Gators hoops head coach Billy Donovan to replace former head coach Jim Boylen for the Bulls. That news that Donovan is replacing Boylen as the Bulls next head coach came back on Sep. 22.

And the news that the Bulls were officially parting ways with Boylen following two years at the helm as head coach came back on Aug. 14. Boylen finished up with a record of 39-84 during his two years as the Bulls head coach. And he rounded out with a record of 22-43 during the shortened 2019-20 regular season for the Bulls, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

There should be a lot more hope instilled in this group of Bulls players after the hiring of a proven winner in Donovan. The Bulls did a nice job after bringing aboard former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to replace John Paxson as the lead voice in their front office.

But which of the Bulls players in this young core will wind up benefiting the most from the hire of Donovan?

According to a report from K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, one Bulls player to watch that will benefit the most from the hire of Donovan will be the former Duke Blue Devils to-be third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. He mentions that the way that Boylen utilized Carter Jr. wasn’t the greatest to keep him on the most prominent path to progression early in his NBA career.

Here’s more on what Johnson specifically had to say on the matter.

"I think several will, but if I had to pick one, it’s Carter. Remember those Al Horford pre-draft comps for Carter? Guess who coached Horford at Florida?Even in the NBA, look at how Donovan used Steven Adams, who wouldn’t be considered a strong offensive player. Donovan ran some offense through Adams, whose decision-making and passing ability proved great facilitators."

During the shortened 2019-20 regular season, Carter Jr. played in 43 games with the Bulls (all of which he started in). He averaged 11.3 points per game, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks. WCJ shot 53.4 percent from the field, 20.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line.

There’s a lot of areas in which WCJ could continue to improve his game in the next couple of seasons. He’s got great court vision and basketball IQ on both ends of the floor. He’s also got a solid fundamental shooting stroke and great size to contend for every rebound down low. Boylen did put him in a lot of bad defensive situations in the paint in the last two years, though.

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Carter Jr. was the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft for the Bulls. He’s had a few injury issues during his first two years in the NBA, but also showed a lot of flashes that he could turn into a consistent quality starter at the five for the Bulls if he even comes close to fulfilling his potential in the NBA.