The Chicago Bulls finally put their last veteran’s minimum contract to use yesterday as they signed veteran point guard Mike James. James will be entering his 12th season in the NBA and making his second stop in Chicago. James last played in Chicago during the shortened 2011-2012 season where he got more playing time than expected due to an injured Derrick Rose.
However, this season I expect James to get very little if any significant playing time. He may make an appearance in the occasional blowout game, but he will enter the season as the fourth string point guard playing behind Rose, Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague. One positive that can come from the Bulls signing James is that he can serve as somewhat of a personal coach and mentor to second year guard Marquis Teague.
Although Teague only played just over eight minutes per game last year and recorded several DNPs, the Bulls made it clear this summer that he is a big part of the team’s future. He was the focal point off Chicago’s Summer League team and had a fantastic performance in the tournament averaging 18.3 points per game along with 4.5 assists per game.
Although James is far removed from his prime he was once a very solid point guard in the league who could score with ease. James put together a streak of four consecutive seasons in which he averaged double-digit points including the 2005-2006 season where he averaged 20.3 points per game for the Toronto Raptors. Although James in all likelihood will not see any significant playing time, he is a veteran who is already familiar with coach Tom Thibodeau’s system. Also, he can provide value to the team by serving as a mentor for young Marquis Teague who will likely see an increase in playing time this season.
Jon Keller is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @jkell2005.