Buying or Selling Chicago Bulls' Most Surprising Stats After NBA's 1st Month
What have the Bulls' most surprising stats been during the season's opening stages?
Injuries (not just to Rose, but also Jimmy Butler) have opened the door for bench players, including rookie Tony Snell, to assume more of a featured role.
This has created some interesting developments in terms of contributions. This slideshow launches the debate on whether we should be buying or selling Chicago's most unforeseen stat lines.
Luol Deng (Since Rose's Injury): 27.4 PPG, 6.2 APG, 6.0 RPG
In five full games since Rose's injury, Luol Deng has essentially produced like LeBron James. His numbers have been monstrous, and he's amid one of the better stretches of his career.
While these gaudy digits won't persist, can we at least conclude that his game's reaching a new level? Should we buy or sell Deng's improvements?
We have to sell this because Deng is a veteran, and we're well aware of who he is. He's more than capable of having big-time performances, even stretches like this where his exceptional output lingers for numerous games.
Yet, Deng has been the model of consistency over the years, and his career averages are 16.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per outing. It's highly unlikely that his repertoire ascends to new heights, especially as he approaches the age of 30.
One might even argue that Deng becomes much better with Rose sidelined, but remember that Deng only averaged 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season without Rose.
The Bulls shouldn't be viewing Deng's efforts as reason to hang on to him. With his contract expiring at the end of the year, they should see these quality statistics as increased trade value.
Honestly, they should strongly consider trading him ASAP, while he's performing incredibly well and remains healthy.
Joakim Noah: 8.4 RPG
Joakim Noah's numbers are down considerably in 2013-14. During 2012-13, he averaged 11.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Those marks have dipped to 9.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
The decreased rebounding clip is especially concerning. He's actually averaging a career low in terms of rebounds per-36 minutes (9.6), per Basketball-Reference.
Is Noah's value beginning to plummet? Is he entering the back side of his prime?
Despite Noah being a fan favorite, we have to buy the notion that Noah's best years could be in the past. With his injury history, there's valid reason to wonder what direction Noah's career is heading.
As long as he's healthy, he should remain a productive center for the foreseeable future. However, a reduced rebounding rate is worrisome. He hasn't been as active as he has been the past few campaigns.
It's tough to entertain the thought of trading Noah because he's their heart and soul, but the Bulls should definitely listen to offers for him. If a team is willing to overpay, the Bulls should at least explore the potential.
Mike Dunleavy: 45.3 Percent from 3-Point Range
Mike Dunleavy had some lacking outings early, but he has really turned it on as of late. In the Bulls' most recent contest, he compiled 23 points (including six threes), seven rebounds and five assists.
On the season, his three-point percentage rests at 45.3 percent, which is a career high for the 33-year-old.
The Bulls have to be encouraged by Dunleavy's efficiency from distance, but we should sell this as something that will continue. During 2012-13, Dunleavy's percentage was 42.8 percent, which was higher than any of his previous seasons.
Therefore, it would be a stretch for Dunleavy's mark to remain around 45 percent, as something around 40 percent is much more realistic.
Regardless, Dunleavy has shown his worth as a long-range weapon, and his contract is very reasonable. He is yet another contributor whom Chicago should consider dangling in trade discussions. A squad desperate for a shooter could be willing to spend for him.
Kirk Hinrich: 36.9 Percent from the Field
What has happened to Kirk Hinrich's jumper is somewhat baffling. During his young days with the Bulls, he used to knock down mid-range jumpers off screens with regularity.
He also shot over 40 percent from three during two seasons in his previous stint with Chicago.
How can we thus explain a 36.9 percent mark from the field, including an abysmal 28.0 percent from long range?
Keep in mind that his field-goal percentage wasn't much better during 2012-13, when he shot 37.7 percent. It appears evident that Hinrich shouldn't be relied upon for his shooting anymore, and he should even become more selective in terms of when to shoot.
We should certainly buy the perception that Hinrich's shooting efficiency has faded. While his field-goal clip may increase slightly throughout the year, we shouldn't anticipate a major jump.
Hinrich is an effective defender and decent ball-handler, but he brings little to the table in terms of scoring since his shooting has unfortunately suffered.
Tony Snell: 40.9 Percent from 3-Point Range
Tony Snell rarely saw the floor initially, but he's now starting after injuries to Rose and Butler. He hasn't disappointed, and his 40-plus percent clip from distance is particularly promising.
In his last five games, he's averaging 10.2 points per game while shooting 52.8 percent from the field, including a 45.0 percent mark from distance.
While Snell's current progression is a small sample size, he has provided enough reason to buy his upside as a quality three-point shooter. In the last three games alone, he has shot 8-of-14 from behind the arc.
He's one of the few bright spots in Chicago's season, and it appears that he has the potential to become a stellar three-and-D wing.
The Bulls should strongly consider giving Snell plenty of minutes for the rest of the way, even after Butler returns. It's fitting for Snell to see plenty of action and develop his skill set.
Carlos Boozer (Since Rose's Injury): 12.4 PPG
Carlos Boozer's time to shine is right now. With Rose out once again, Boozer is a focal point offensively.
He's currently doing little to showcase his worth.
He's averaging an unimpressive 12.4 points per game in the five games since Rose's injury. Aside from a 26-point outburst in a loss against the lowly Utah Jazz, Boozer's contributions have been minimal.
His field-goal percentage has also been shaky, as he has gone 3-of-11, 5-of-13 and 2-of-6 in the Bulls' last three contests.
We should buy Boozer's struggles and recognize that his days in the Windy City are likely numbered. If they can trade him (even if it nets barely anything in return), the Bulls should do it, especially with Taj Gibson's recent surge in production.
Boozer will have his occasional beastly outings, but we should buy his recent woes as evidence that the Booze Cruise is starting to sink. His consistency is simply not there.