Players on Chicago Bulls' Roster Bubble
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bulls start training camp on Sept. 27 and they've brought some new faces to vie for a roster spot.
Those players are Dexter Pittman, Kalin Lucas, Patrick Christopher and Mike James; two of them have NBA experience while the other two are looking to make their debut.
Throughout the offseason, Chicago added a couple of three-point shooters via free agency and the draft. It seems like they're sticking with that as they've brought in three guards to work out with them.
The Pittman signing is one to keep an eye on. Chicago passed on drafting or signing a big, but this could potentially be it if he performs at a high level.
Though the following players have a slim chance to earn a roster spot, they're a strong camp away from serious consideration.
Coming out of Cal Berkeley, Patrick Christopher is an athletic wing player who has a lot of upside as a three-point shooter.
Christopher spent the last three years playing overseas, with his best year coming in 2010-11 when he averaged 16 points per game. He also shot 35 percent or better from beyond the arc over those three seasons.
The downside is his production declined every year after his 2010-11 campaign, so coming into the NBA, he could potentially struggle as he tries to make a name for himself.
However, he could impress the coaching staff with his defense and his three-point shot. At 6'5", 215 pounds, Christopher could fill the 2-guard spot behind Jimmy Butler.
The former Golden Bear is rough around the edges; and if he remains inconsistent, he'll be the least likely candidate to make the final roster.
Kalin Lucas had a great collegiate career. He led his team to the National Championship game in 2009 and won the Big Ten Player of the Year Award that same year while leading the team in scoring and assists.
His scoring improved the following two years. During his senior year, Lucas averaged a career-high 17 points and made 39 percent of his three-point shots.
Lucas's shot at making the team relies on his three-point shot and defense.
If he can use his strong points to separate himself from the other guards on the bubble, Chicago could be tempted to add a backcourt player to its team.
Entering his 12th year in the league, the 38-year-old vet still has some gas left in the tank.
Mike James played in 45 games for the Dallas Mavericks this past season and started in 23 of those contests. He averaged 6.1 points and shot 38 percent from downtown.
There's little chance he makes the final roster, though. Chicago has three point guards on the roster and recently decided against re-signing Nate Robinson despite a breakout year.
James had a short stint with the Bulls during the 2011-12 season in which he played 11 games and averaged just under five points.
His familiarity with the coaching staff and players might help him as he could enter camp with a slight advantage over the rest of the guys, but with a deep point guard position, there's just no room for him.
If James is available, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Bulls signed him to a few 10-day contracts later on during the season if Kirk Hinrich or Derrick Rose miss extended time.
In his four-year NBA career, Dexter Pittman has played in just 48 games and has never reached an average higher than nine minutes per game.
Still, he might have the best chance to make the team out of all the training camp invites.
At 6'11", 285 pounds, Pittman would give Chicago some depth and youth at the center position.
Which player has the best shot at making the team?
Nazr Mohammed is expected to fill the backup role, but at 36 years of age, it might be hard to trust him with a full 82 games.
Tom Thibodeau said he is going to decrease Joakim Noah's minutes this upcoming season, per ESPN Chicago. If Pittman makes the team, he could split time with Mohammed so he stays fresh through the entire year.
Pittman will need a strong showing to make the cut, though.
He's had weight problems throughout his career, so he'll have to be in top shape. He'll also have to display solid rebounding and quick lateral movements on defense.
Thibodeau likes hard-working, defensively sound bigs—like Noah and Taj Gibson. Pittman will have to show that he can be that guy to earn a roster spot.
It's going to be hard for these four to make it past training camp. The Bulls are set on their roster and, if anything, will probably add a player later on in the season like they did with Daequan Cook in 2012-13.
Pittman and James might end up finding a team elsewhere given their pro experience, but Lucas and Christopher might have to go back overseas and try again next year.
Despite their low chances, it's still worth keeping an eye on each player to see what they could bring to the table.
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