Tha Sports Junkies 101

What Does Wade to the Bulls Mean?

Bulls Photo by seyithanalkan via Flickr


Within the last decade, if somebody would’ve said that Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were the Chicago Bull’s two starting guards, there would be no doubt that the Chicago Bulls would be a title contender.

In 2016, that’s a completely different story.

Per AP sources and The Vertical, Dwyane Wade has signed a 2 year, 47 million dollar contract with the Bulls, with an opt out after the 1st year.

To clear cap space, Mike Dunleavy is heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he fits well into the Cavs offense, and Jose Calderon is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers to fill in a need at point guard.

This creates a very odd situation – the Bull’s bench is now an even better fit into Head Coach’s Fred Hoiberg’s offense.

At the starting 5 you have,

  1. Rajon RondoRajon Rondo is the king of assists. Last year he averaged 11.7 assists per game (leading the league), and in his career he’s averaged 9 plus assists, 7 times. He is very injury prone (7 injuries including an ACL tear and a broken wrist in the last 3 years) He’s not much of a long-range shooter, which is much-needed from any guard in Hoiberg’s stretch offense (last year in a very selective 170 3 point attempts, the most he’s ever taken in one year, Rondo had a .365 3 point FG%) But to put in perspective, he has career .289 3 point FG%, which is a very inadequate for the Bull’s services. You then add-on Rondo’s tainted past of retaliating to his own coaches and players when things didn’t go his way in DallasRondo is not necessarily the perfect fit for the Bulls.
  2. Dwyane Wade –  Wade has won the NBA Finals thrice – he’s played with Shaquille Oneal and LeBron James and won championships with both. But his glory days are all but over – coming to Chicago coming off a year where he averaged 19 points a game, will bring much-needed offense. Even though Wade is only a .284 3 point FG% (worse than Rondo) in his career, his leadership will help guys like Denzel Valentine, Jimmy Butler, Doug McDermott, and Jerian Grant moving foward.
  3. Jimmy Butler – Jimmy Butler is a rising star in today’s NBA. Already one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, his motor and desire to improve his game has been shown since being a rookie under Tom Thibadeau. Last year, Butler averaged 20.9 points a game, 1.6 steals, 4.7 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. Already very clutch, Jimmy Buckets can only get better, and maybe newcomer Dwyane Wade can rub off some his basketball legacy.
  4. Taj Gibson/Nikola Mirotic – This depends on what Hoiberg feels is best for the team coming into this year, as well as possible trade of Taj Gibson. Mirotic fits Hoiberg’s pick and roll, hit a three offense to a T. His ability to stretch the floor, while still having the ability to set the ball down and drive, makes him a formidable Stretch 4, one that fits today’s NBA prototypical powerfoward. Gibson on the other hand, is a longtime veteran of the Bulls. For the last 7 years, Gibson has given his heart and soul to the Bulls organization. A grindy defender with  offensive ability that shines from time to time, Taj is still not consistent enough of an offensive producer as he enters his 30s.. Last year, he averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds a game. He may not be the 13 PPG Gibson in his prime, but he will be a solid trade piece, sixth man, or even starting powerfoward for the 2016/17 Chicago Bulls. 
  5. Robin Lopez – The 7 foot Lopez has bounced around a few organizations in his career until he landed to the Bulls in the Derrick Rose trade to the Knicks this offseason. Not nearly the inside talent of his brother Brook, Robin still was able to put up 10.3 points a game along with 7.3 rebounds playing alongside Kristaps Porzingis. At 28 years old, he only has a couple of years left in his prime. Maybe Lopez has a career year with the Bulls, barring any injuries.


This starting 5 does not neccasarily fit into Fred Hoiberg’s modern-day offense, the bench he has is quite deep, very young, and full of long-range scorers.

6’11” Bobby Portis, 2nd year player out of the University of Arkansas, also has the talent and potential to be a stretch 4 starter in the NBA. The 21-year-old only has room to grow.

24-year-old guard Doug McDermott, considered by many to be a flop of a draft pick by the Bulls, fits very well as a spot up shooter in Hoiberg’s offense, and with Wade by his side, has a chance to grow and learn as an offensive force off the bench.

23-year-old Jerian Grant, a rookie last year, came to Chicago from the Derrick Rose trade. He has a ton of potential, and projects to one day be an above average starting point guard.

The rookie taken with 14 pick in this draft, Denzel Valentine, straight out of Michigan State, is a pure scorer, and could bloom under Wade’s watch and teaching. Last year for the Spartans, Valentine averaged 19.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.8 assists.

Even though an older Dwyane Wade might not fit perfectly into Hoiberg’s system, his veteran leadership, “clutchness,” and his ability to drive to the hoop will make the Bulls a probable playoff contender.

Likely, the Bulls front office saw this signing as a last push to retool – the Bulls do not have their own 1st round draft pick for next years stacked NBA draft. (they only a top 10 protected from the Sacramento Kings in the first round.)

It is very unlikely that the Bulls will overcome the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and most definitely the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs. But one last push with a healthy Rondo and Wade, with Butler leading the charge, will mix things up for a weak Eastern Conference.

Wade and Rondo’s age and injury history may be detrimental for one last playoff push, but their sheer talent would be the very reason for a deep playoff run.

Front office heads John Paxson and Gar Forman have decided to give Hoiberg one more year to win with an improved roster, and if it flops, everything is up in the air for the future of Hoiberg and the current regime.

Bulls fans are tired of living in “basketball purgatory.” Barely making the playoffs and losing in the first round isn’t enough. Hovering around .500 never even lands you lottery talent in the draft.

For the moment, Bull fans will embrace Chicagoian Dwyane Wade with open arms, and hold onto hope that this season brings glory to Chicago once again.