Anonymous lunch-pail players to appreciate for the Bulls

Tyler Cook, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Cook, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

As the NBA has pushed through COVID outbreaks, contact tracing, injuries due to the condensed off-season as well as normal dings and Grayson Allen cheap-shots the common viewer and NBA die-hard have found themselves watching a game and saying: “who the heck is that guy?” I give you, this season’s anonymous lunch-pail players for your Chicago Bulls.

Lunch-pail players to know for the Chicago Bulls

Tyler Cook

The 6-foot-8 big man out of Iowa went undrafted in 2019 and has played a total of 63 games for five different teams since first being signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 18 appearances for the Bulls this season Cook is averaging 10 minutes per game with 3.6 points and 2.8 rebounds.

It doesn’t appear to be much of a contribution on paper but given the lack of front-court depth behind Nikola Vucevic (particularly given the oft-erratic plat of Tony Bradley) Cook has been able to provide some valuable interior defense, rebounding, and most importantly energy for a Bulls squad that has been looking listless as of late.

Malcolm Hill

Much like super-rook Ayo Dosunmu, Malcolm Hill played his college ball at Illinois going undrafted in 2017. Aside from three games with the Hawks last season the 10 games Hill has played for the Bulls are the first of his NBA career. Hill has provided 12 minutes/game for Chicago over this recent stretch filling some of the wing-void left by the Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball injuries.

At 6-foot-6 and 220-pound Hill has provided a switchable, big-bodied, and athletic wing player for head coach Billy Donovan’s rotation. Malcolm has also shown a well-developed jump-shot from the outside and a quick look at’s Defensive Dashboard reveals that Hill actually has a solid 40 percent defended field goal percentage (opponents shoot 40 percent when Hill is the primary defender).

Matt Thomas

The Iowa State product went undrafted in 2017 just like teammate Malcolm Hill but Thomas has played 117 career games including stops in Toronto and Utah. Thomas is the foreman of this lunch-pail crew, averaging 13 minutes per game and shooting 39 percent from deep through 31 games this season. Found-value could be the theme of this Bulls season and Thomas fits that billing perfectly.

Alfonzo McKinnie

McKinnie is the most tenured of the players here on the lunch-pail list with a career total of 182 games played. The Chicago native is playing for his fifth team in as many years, averaging 12 minutes per game. While being the most veteran of the bench guys has its benefits, McKinnie is shooting a paltry 33 percent from deep this season and is a pretty significant defensive liability, especially when guarding shooters on the perimeter (45 percent shooting allowed from 3-PT).

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The team’s ideal rotation probably includes very little, if any, of these grinders but in an 82 game season there are simply going to be stretches where your best players are unavailable and to be able to find a group of guys with no ego, no expectation, just grit and hustle who can actually give you 10-15 minutes in an NBA game is invaluable to a team with title aspirations like these Bulls.