Chicago Bulls' Tony Snell Shines in First NBA Start

By Brian Neal
Tony Snell Chicago Bulls
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The past week or so for the Chicago Bulls has been pretty depressing. Losing Derrick Rose as well as four-straight games will put any fan in a bad mood, but that changed tonight.

The Bulls beat down the Detroit Pistons 99-79 and got contributions from a lot of regulars such as Luol Deng (27 points), Taj Gibson (23), Joakim Noah (13) and Kirk Hinrich (13), but also got a big game from rookie Tony Snell.

Snell was the 20th pick of this past NBA Draft for the Bulls, and was brought in for his solid three-point shooting. With all of the injuries to the team, including Jimmy Butler who is still out for another week or two, Snell received the first start of his career. In 37 minutes, he put up 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep and 5-for-9 overall. He also had three assists, two steals and two rebounds. It was easily the best performance of his initial season in the league, and it should provide a little bit of confidence for him.

This is certainly welcomed good news for the Bulls. If he can come off the bench once Butler is healthy and provide some decent offense, the bench can improve quite a bit. They’ve had a lot of inconsistency when it comes to shooting the ball, and the guy who was supposed to provide that was Mike Dunleavy. However, he’s been underwhelming and to be honest, I’m hoping they deal away his contract before the trade deadline for the extra cap space in the upcoming free agency period next July.

If Snell continues to build off of this game and become a viable NBA role player, the Bulls will have another piece that will help out over the next few seasons, and for a good price. I don’t think it’s much of a question now that the team needs to rebuild a bit after this season, and hopefully management agrees. That makes having a valuable player — which Snell can become — with a low salary all the more important as they try to clear enough cap space to make some very positive changes.

It’s nice to finally have something good to write about with the team, and hopefully this keeps up as the Bulls take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans and Miami Heat over the next week or so.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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