Former Chicago Bulls: Shaquille Harrison is great for the Jazz

Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Chicago Bulls two-way combo guard Shaquille Harrison is one of the better value free agent signings of the offseason for the Utah Jazz.

Amid the Chicago Bulls 2020 free agent class you could find two standout defensive guards that had the status of restricted free agents this offseason. Those two Bulls guards that were impending restricted free agents heading into this offseason were the defensive stopper point guard Kris Dunn and breakthrough combo guard Shaquille Harrison.

The Bulls didn’t have much to do in this cycle of free agency since they were so cap strapped, and Dunn and Harrison were their two biggest names entering the open market. But it was a bit surprising that they elected to part ways with these two and re-sign the likes of 27-year-old shooting guard Denzel Valentine and second-year shooting guard/wing Adam Mokoka.

Valentine will get a shot next season for the Bulls in a shooting guard/wing role, and Mokoka will occupy a two-way contract slot for the second straight year. And the other two-way contract slot will be occupied by the former Kansas Jayhawks star point guard and undrafted free agent signing Devon Dotson.

Moreover, the Bulls watched Dunn sign with the Atlanta Hawks on a two-year contract, worth around $10 million in total. And then the Jazz signed Harrison to a one-year minimum deal on Dec. 9, which was great value for them.

Entering the week of the start of group workouts in Training Camp, Harrison looked like one of the best value free agents left on the open market. And he’ll land with a Jazz team that is an immediate contender in the Western Conference.

That’s not bad for Harrison, considering his NBA career started out with some bad Bulls and Phoenix Suns teams. Harrison is likely to assume a spot in the second or third unit off the bench behind the likes of star guard Donovan Mitchell, veteran point guard Mike Conley, offensively gifted combo guard Jordan Clarkson, etc.

The defensive presence that Harrison will bring to the table for the Jazz will be unmatched by most other guards in this rotation. Conley is a solid on-ball perimeter defender, but Mitchell, Clarkson, and even Joe Ingles, aren’t really known for their defense.

During the shortened 2019-20 regular season with the Bulls, Harrison played in 43 games (10 of which he started in). And he averaged 4.9 points per game, 2.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks. Harrison shot 46.7 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 78.0 percent from the free-throw line.

Moreover, Harrison posted a team-high 2.8 box plus/minus rating last season, along with a 0.6 value over replacement player rating, .153 win shares per 48 minutes, 1.5 total win shares, 55.9 true shooting percentage, and 17.8 player efficiency.

Landing with a more competitive team like the Jazz might be exactly what Harrison needs to vault his career to the next level. He truly had an efficient breakthrough campaign last season with the Bulls, but newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas didn’t find room for him on the team entering the 2020-21 season.

Next. 3 players who must step up in Kris Dunn's absence. dark

The Bulls finished out the 2019-20 regular season under the direction of former head coach Jim Boylen with a record of 22-43, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. They will open up their four-game preseason slate at home at the United Center on Dec. 11 against the Houston Rockets.