Rookies normally don’t get a chance to play their first years under coach Tom Thibodeau. He usually lets them sit, learn and watch during their rookie campaign. But over the last few years he had no choice but to play the first year players due to major injuries to key contributors. Last season it was Marquis Teague and now this season it is Tony Snell. Snell is making the most out of his opportunities.
Snell got his first real action for the Chicago Bulls the other night against the Detroit Pistons. He started in the place of the injured Jimmy Butler and fit right in. Before the game, Snell was warming up shooting three-pointers and impressed the veteran, Luol Deng. Deng was thinking this kid is going to be a great shooter. Snell did his part by scoring a career-high 13 points and hitting 3-for-5 from behind the three-point line.
Deng has sort of taken Snell under his wing. He is trying to teach him that this game is more than just shooting. Snell is 6-foot-7 with long arms, and Deng showing him how to use the long arms to his advantage. He can use those long arms effectively on defense just like Deng does. By being thrown to the wolves very early in his career, Snell will get valuable experience.
Thibodeau believes Snell could do a whole lot more and sees very good potential in the kid. Coach Thibs loves the lethal shooting he brings because the Bulls lack shooters. He praises his toughness and the way he practices. That type of encouragement can only build Snell’s confidence.
If Snell continues to put in the work and is ready when called upon, he will have a bright future in this league. Shooting the basketball effectively is such a lost art in the game, but Snell has it. This experience will only help him improve his game, and he will be a big part of the Bulls’ plans moving forward.