Chicago Bulls: Two Key Role Players this Season

The Chicago Bulls have a lot of young talent on their team. They have enough young talent to have a starting lineup with an average age younger than the University of Wisconsin’s basketball team’s average starting lineup. The Bulls also have a lot of veterans on the bench that helps serve as the Chicago Bulls’ key role players this season.

Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young, 32, is in his 13th season in the NBA and his second with the Chicago Bulls. He signed a three-year $41 million contract with the Bulls in 2019, which is the most money he has made in one year since the 2016-2017 season with the Pacers.

Thaddeus Young averages a career 13.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He shoots 49.9% from the field, 33.2% from three, and 66.8% from the free-throw line. He also has a career 0.3 box plus/minus.

Last season, Young struggled under head coach Jim Boylen, as did many Bulls players. He averaged 10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He shot 44.8% from the field, 33.6% from three, and 58.3% from the charity stripe. Young also had a -1.2 box plus/minus.

Now, he has a new role in Billy Donovan‘s movement offense. Delivering passes from the high post, setting hard screens, and gifting them with offensive rebounds is a small part of Young’s work on offense.

This year, Young is averaging 10.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists. He is shooting 56.1% from the field, 23.5% from distance, and 52.6% from the charity stripe.

In most recent games, he recorded 13 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists versus the New York Knicks at home. The game before, he scored eight points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Young’s most impressive statistics have come in small portions areas on the offensive side. Last season, Young recorded an 11.3% assist percentage and a 6.2% offensive rebounding percentage. This season, he is averaging a 24.7% assist percentage and a 10.3% offensive rebounding percentage.

Thaddeus Young is a big help off the bench in many ways. He takes charges, gets offensive rebounds, facilitates the offense, and plays hard. Young is a great leader for a young Bulls team that is still finding its footing.

Garrett Temple

Garrett Temple, 34, is going into his 11th season in the NBA and his first season with the Chicago Bulls. He signed a one-year $4.7 million deal in November after playing with the Brooklyn Nets last season.

For his career, Temple averages 6.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He is a 40.5% shooter from the field, 35% from distance, and 74.1% from the line.

Last season, with the Nets, he shot the most field goals per game in his career with 9.5 attempts per game. From that, Temple averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He shot 37.8% from the field, 32.9% from behind the arc, and 80.5% from the free-throw line.

This year with the Bulls, Temple is averaging 7.6 field goal attempts and 26.5 minutes per game. With that workload, Temple averages 9.6 points per game, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. He is shooting much better than last year, at 45.7% from the field, 40.8% from three-point land, and 82.4% from the stripe.

Outside of offense, Temple is one of the Bulls’ better defenders. He is averaging 1.1 steals per game this season, which is the second-highest average of his career in that space. Plus, he is a 0.6 career defensive box plus/minus with 0.3 defensive win shares this season. Temple gets heavy defensive assignments from the Bulls’ opponents and plays well as a physical defender.

Temple has been efficient on both sides of the floor this season. He is recording a positive 5.7 plus/minus while he is present on the floor. That mark is improved from last season when he recorded a -1.6 plus/minus on the floor.

Temple, like Young, is another excellent veteran for the Bulls that can be a leader in the locker room. He plays hard and physical on defense while adding excellent value on offense off the bench. He has been playing as a great “3 and D” type player for the Bulls.

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