The RokDeez Bulls Blog State of the Roster Part 3: The Glue Guys
In this installment of my hopes, expectations, and keys to the Bulls roster, I’m focusing on the players that will hold the team together. These are the guys whose work ethic, consistent production, and leadership will power the Bulls through the regular season and into the playoffs (fingers crossed). The playoffs might be a pipe dream at this point in the Bulls rebuild, but if it happens it will be in large part because of the contributions of this group of players.
At 31 years old, Thaddeus Young is the grizzled veteran on the team. His emotional leadership has been written about ad nauseum this summer by other outlets, so I won’t dwell on it here. As invaluable as his presence in the locker room will be for this young Bulls squad, his presence on the court may prove equally important. Young isn’t just a “locker room guy,” he is also a versatile and highly productive big man. Whether playing Center in smaller line ups, or Power Forward (his natural position), the Bulls should expect strong contributions on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Young is coming to the end of his prime. While his numbers have yet to show it, he is starting to slow down on the court. His defense is developing holes, especially along the perimeter, but this is merely a result of age creeping up on him. He is undoubtedly a savvy basketball player, the wily veteran, skilled at finding ways to help his teammates succeed. Even as age stalks Young, he will be a difference maker on this Bulls team. The key to Young’s success will be how well he adjusts to his role coming off the bench. Over the last four seasons, Young has started every game he has played in. While he spent most of his early years in the league as an energy guy and defensive stopper coming off the bench, his recent experience has been on the front line, facing off against the best Bigs in the NBA. If we are to believe everything that has been written about his character this summer, then the transition back to the bench shouldn’t be a big deal for Thadd Young, but you never know with egos. Young was the first free agent the Front Office signed this offseason. He was the #1 target the Bulls had in free agency, and the two sides agreed to a contract just hours after free agency began. I think it’s reasonable to have fairly high expectations for Thaddeus Young, both on and off the court. He is the veteran leader for this rebuild, the development of this franchise is riding on his emotional maturity.
Despite his physical and athletic limitations, Ryan Arcidiacono continues to prove the nay-sayers, including myself, wrong. With a new 3 year guaranteed contract inked with the Bulls this summer, the plucky guard from Villanova has solidified his place in the NBA. So much has been said about the “grit and grind” of Arch that it hardly seems like anything more could be written, but his effort on and off the court continue to be the hallmark of an altogether surprising career. A lot of casual fans see Arcidiacono as nothing more than an overachiever, a player who has gotten lucky throughout his career, and who shouldn’t be in the NBA. Those fans are wrong. Ryan Arcidiacono is a self-made NBA player. That’s not to say he hasn’t had luck, or overachieved, or had help improving his game to NBA standards, but what is does mean is that he has tenaciously put in the work to achieve his dream. Every season in the league Arch has gotten better. He has added new moves, new shots, improved his efficiency, made strides as a defender, stepped up as a leader, filled in for injured teammates, kept the team bright in the face of so many losses, and sacrificed his body for the good of the team. In short, Ryan Arcidiacono has pushed himself beyond the supposed limits and expectations of others. He is the kind of player that teammates look at and say “If Arch is doing all of this to help the team, what more can I do?” That’s the real value of Ryan Arcidiacono, he’s the type of player who pushes his teammates to be better, not because he vocally ostracizes them (*Cough* Jimmy Butler *Cough*), but because his example of hard work inspires those around him. The key for Arch this season will be the improvements he’s made to his game this summer. Whether it’s a new shot he’s learned, or a new set of moves, or if he’s figured out how to overcome his physical limitations on defense, however he’s improved his game that example will help fuel his teammates growth. I don’t know how much playing time Arch will get this season considering the log jam the Bulls face at Point Guard, but I suspect they will run a fair amount of 3 guard lineups. He should have plenty of time on the court to show off whatever he’s worked on this summer.
Tomas Satoransky, Steward of the Point Guard position, could be the most important addition to this iteration of the Chicago Bulls that the Front Office made this offseason. No, he is not a superstar. No, he is not an All-Star. No, he is not even a “3 and D” wing, or a stretch Big, or a rim protector, Iso scorer, pick-and-roll genius, etc. What Tomas Satoransky is can be summed up in three words: Professional Basketball Player. He is smart, big, sneaky athletic, versatile, a ball-handler, a distributor, an off-the-ball shooter, a team defender; Sato is the ultimate complimentary player. His size and intelligence allow him to play multiple positions in the NBA. His skill and vision make him a solid point guard in the league. I expect Satoransky to be the opening night starting point guard for the Bulls this season. I’m pretty sure that’s why the Front Office signed him to a contract this summer. He’s the perfect player for a multi ball-handler offense, and to transition from Kris Dunn to (hopefully) Coby White at point guard. Sato will be an excellent steward of the Point Guard position until Coby White, or another suitable heir, arrives to take his place. Sato’s versatility is the real key to his success this season. Based on his time with the Washington Wizards, specifically how he played with Bradley Beal and John Wall, it is easy to see him fitting along side Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
Already familiar with his former teammate Otto Porter Jr, it will be interesting to see how he plays with the rest of the Bulls roster. If LaVine and Satoransky can form strong chemistry in the backcourt, the Bulls could be looking at a surprisingly successful season. I have high hopes for Tomas Satoransky and his consistent production from multiple positions on the court. I was very surprised when the Wizards did not match the Bulls contract offer to Satoransky, who was restricted free agent this summer, especially with John Wall expected to miss a significant chunk of this season due to serious injury. But their loss is our gain, and Tomas Satoransky is the exact right player for this Bulls team. Consistent production, versatility, and intelligence all packed into the frame of a big guard, what more could the Bulls ask for? Satoransky’s unselfish style of basketball will make him very popular as the Bulls starting point guard, and it should take a lot of the pressure off of LaVine, freeing him up to do what he does best: Score. Tomas Satoransky is reliable and consistent, the ultimate complimentary player. He will bring the Bulls together on the court. He will be the grease that helps the franchise move forward.
Next time, we’ll conclude our look at the Bulls roster by focusing on the core of the rebuild: Otto Porter Jr, Wendell Carter Jr, Lauri Markkanen, and Zach LaVine. These are the four players brimming with star potential, straining to break out in the most competitive basketball league in the world. How far the Bulls rise next season will depend on the play of these four individuals. Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!