Through not doing much in NBA Free Agency this summer, the Chicago Bulls are looking like a team that will compete atop the Eastern Conference this season. The signing of Mike Dunleavy will help them, but the biggest thing working in their favor heading into this year is, without question, the return of point guard Derrick Rose.
As has been covered relentlessly over the past year, Rose missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in April of 2012. A potential comeback last season was speculated upon numerous times, but never happened. Now Rose is healthy, though, and is ready to come back and be the explosive playmaker and leader that he was before the injury, by all accounts.
Rose coming back obviously solidifies the starting point guard job for Chicago, but their reserve point guards present a little cause for concern. Kirk Hinrich is solid when healthy, but he’s been often injured in recent seasons. After Hinrich, unproven second-year player Marquis Teague is the only other point guard on their roster, which is certainly unsettling considering what he’s shown up to this point.
Because of the potential issues the Bulls could have with their reserve point guards, it will be interesting to keep an eye on both Mike James and Kalin Lucas at Bull training camp over the next few weeks, the two point guards out of Chicago’s training camp invites.
The 38-year-old James is well versed in the NBA after playing 11 years in the league for 12 different teams, including spending 11 games with the Bulls in the 2011-2012 season. In 584 career games, he has averaged 10 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game on 41.8 percent shooting from the field and 37.9 percent three-point shooting. He was much less successful last season with the Dallas Mavericks, though, averaging only 6.1 points, 3.1 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game on just 37.3 percent shooting and 38.4 percent shooting from long-range.
Lucas has yet to break into the NBA, but was a productive college player at Michigan State from 2007-2011. In his senior season with the Spartans, Lucas averaged 17 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds and one steal per game on 42.8 percent shooting from the floor and 39 percent shooting from three.
Lucas has spent the last two seasons playing overseas, spending a year in Greece and a year in Turkey. In Turkey last season playing for Banvit BK, Lucas averaged nine points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game while shooting only 41.8 percent from the field, but also hitting on 40.4 percent of his attempts from long-range.
If the Bulls should choose to bring in another point guard for their regular season roster, they have two decent options between James and Lucas. If they want to bring in a veteran, they will have the option to do so with James. If they want to bring in a young guard with some upside, they will have the chance to sign Lucas. Of course, Chicago could just roll with who they have now at the point guard position. James and Lucas are definitely worth keeping an eye on, though.
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