Chicago Bulls: Garrett Temple adds firm veteran presence guard rotation

Former Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Garrett Temple was signed by the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 20, giving a veteran presence in the backcourt.

What could be one of the more underrated veteran free agent signings in recent memory for the Chicago Bulls could’ve arrived on the night of Nov. 20. The Bulls had their first addition in this cycle of free agency to the 15-man roster in the form of the former Brooklyn Nets 6-foot-5 and 195 pound 34-year-old shooting guard Garrett Temple.

The news of the signing of Temple for newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls was announced by ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter on Nov. 20. Temple is a solid addition for the Bulls considering what they’ve lost to the free agent market already this offseason.

Temple signed with the Bulls this weekend out of free agency on a one-year contract, worth $5 million. This is a good low-risk, medium-reward signing for the Bulls that gets them one step closer to filling out the 15-man roster heading into Training Camp on Dec. 1.

Signing with the Bulls means that Temple will have now played in at least one regular season game with a double-digit number of NBA teams. He played with nine different NBA teams since his career started back during the 2009-10 season, at the age of 23. The NBA career of Temple started with the Houston Rockets, but he also played for the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs, all during his rookie season.

Last season, Temple played in 62 games with the Nets (35 of which he started in). And he averaged 10.3 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks. Temple shot 37.8 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 80.5 percent from the free-throw line.

That all amounted to a -1.1 box plus/minus rating, 0.4 value over replacement player rating, .066 win shares per 48 minutes, 2.4 total win shares, 51.3 true shooting percentage, and 10.5 player efficiency rating.

But a lot of the value that Temple brings to the table for the Bulls is on the defensive end of the floor. Last season, he registered a 0.3 defensive box plus/minus rating (compared to -1.4 on offense), 1.7 defensive win shares, and a 111 defensive rating.

There are multiple seasons that Temple had in his lengthy career to date where he posted a block percentage above one and a steal percentage above two, in the same campaign. He’s proven at multiple stops that he’s a versatile defender that adds a lot of utility to any backcourt rotation on that end of the floor.

And he was a better shooter from deep in recent years than he was with the Nets last season. During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons with the Kings, Temple shot around 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. He even shot around 35 percent from beyond the arc during the 2018-19 campaign. It was just a bit of a dip in his production from deep last season.

Temple is likely to play at the two-guard, or on the wing, for the Bulls depending on how much Karnisovas and head coach Billy Donovan want to run small ball-esque lineups. He is usually a more natural fit playing as a versatile shooting guard.