Spotlighting and Breaking Down Chicago Bulls' Shooting Guard Position

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Spotlighting and Breaking Down Chicago Bulls' Shooting Guard Position
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jimmy Butler will start for the Bulls as he begins his third year in the league.

The shooting guard position for the Chicago Bulls has been a problem for the majority of the Derrick Rose era, but that might be over now.

According to Rotoworld's depth chart, the Bulls have just one shooting guard on the roster—Jimmy Butler. While that may be technically true, there are several players that can slide down from the 3 or move up from the point guard position.

Butler garnered a lot of hype after a breakout performance during the 2013 postseason, averaging 13 points and five rebounds while shooting 40 percent from downtown.

Kirk Hinrich will be Rose's substitute, but he might also be Butler's primary backup since he can guard multiple positions. He'll be joined by Chicago's free-agent acquisition Mike Dunleavy, who can both play small forward and 2-guard.

The Bulls have solid depth at the position and versatility, with players that can play both inside and on the perimeter and defend at a high level.

Each of the following players will either see consistent time at shooting guard or are expected to play that position. Stat projections for 2013-14 will be tied to each player as well.

 

Jimmy Butler

Butler's size and quickness allows him to defend just about anyone.

Percentages: 48.0% FG (3.6-of-7.5), 37.5% 3PT (1.5-of-4.0), 81.3% FT (3.5-of-4.3)

Basic Stats: 35.3 MPG, 12.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.9 TO

As a full-time starter, Butler will have to fill a few roles. He'll continue being a defensive specialist for Chicago, but now he'll also have to be a scoring threat.

Since Rose is back, Butler will have many opportunities to shoot the three, which could potentially make up for most of his scoring. He'll also be expected to attack the basket and get to the line consistently—which was a problem with previous Bulls shooting guards.

Butler's biggest strength is his defense. His superb work on elite players like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James placed him as one of the league's top perimeter defenders.

However, until he shows how he's improved offensively over the summer, there's still a bit of a question mark on whether he's the real answer at the off-guard spot for the Bulls.

Butler's ceiling is high, and he'll have 82 games to prove that he's making strides toward becoming a great player.

 

Mike Dunleavy

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Dunleavy adds depth and three-point shooting to a team that lacked the latter last season.

Percentages: 46.5% FG (4.0-of-8.6), 43.9% 3PT (1.8-of-4.1), 81.2% FT (1.3-of-1.6)

Basic Stats: 24.6 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 TO

Coming off a season where Chicago was near the bottom of the league in both attempts and makes, Dunleavy is a major addition to its offense.

The 11-year vet shot a career-high 42.8 percent from downtown and should stay around that number, if not improve on it. With the double-teams Rose and Carlos Boozer both tend to draw, Dunleavy will have a lot of open looks.

Not only can he shoot the three at a high rate, but he can move off the ball pretty well, giving the Bulls a chance to use him similarly to how they utilized Kyle Korver two years ago.

The biggest question is whether Dunleavy can perform at a high level on the defensive end. Tom Thibodeau spoke with Grantland's Zach Lowe about the former Buck's expectations during his first year.

I think the first year, you do go through an adjustment period. But I don’t think it’s any different from any other team—when you’re a first-year player, the biggest hurdle is to learn your teammates and to learn the system that you’re in.

Dunleavy's defense is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

 

Kirk Hinrich

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Chicago will need a solid all-around year from the wily vet.

Percentages: 41.8% FG (2.3-of-5.5), 36.6% 3PT (1.1-of-3.0), 81.2% FT (1.3-of-1.6)

Basic Stats: 22.3 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 TO

Even though Hinrich is listed as a point guard, there's a high chance that he'll be playing 2-guard more often. The reason is his defensive work against bigger players and because Marquis Teague is expected to play more coming into his sophomore season.

Hinrich at the 2 will give Chicago a chance to try some different things offensively.

Since he can run the offense, Rose will be able to play some possessions off the ball and use his quickness to attack any open lanes.

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The only problem with having Hinrich play 2-guard is that his offense has become very limited. He's become a spot-up shooter, and if his shot isn't falling, he becomes a liability since defenses can play off of him to apply pressure on the ball.

Expect many stretches of Hinrich at shooting guard throughout the season.

Rose's return and the Dunleavy signing have added great depth to the Bulls. It allows players to move around and play different positions whenever they're asked to.

With Deng taking up a lot of minutes at the 3, Dunleavy could find a home as Butler's backup. The same goes for Hinrich if Teague's role gets a big upgrade.

Tony Snell can also play shooting guard, but he may not get a lot of minutes given he's a rookie and needs to adjust to the NBA, learning the system before he can be thrust into action.

Chicago has filled a need many believe has been the weakest point in its roster over the last few years. If this group of players can fill that spot and play at a high level, the Bulls will have the best roster since the '90s dynasty.

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