When the Chicago Bulls drafted small forward Tony Snell with 20th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the writing was on the wall for veteran Luol Deng at the time. After all, the Bulls also already had Jimmy Butler who shined in playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat when Deng was injured.
And sure enough, the Bulls traded Deng later in the season in order to clear salary and also give more playing time to Snell.
But Snell didn’t thrive in his new role. Instead, he was relegated to the bench while Butler and Mike Dunleavy were forced to play more minutes due to the lack of depth. Basically, Snell’s rookie season—when he did find the court—was marred with bad turnovers, inconsistent shooting and getting lost at times on defense.
Snell did have a few bright spots, however, and showed that he could become somewhat of a factor for the Bulls in the long run. For example, on Feb. 21 against the Denver Nuggets, Snell scored 20 points while making all three three-pointers that he attempted in 37 minutes. The Bulls went on to win that game 117-89.
With so much emphasis on adding multiple scorers for the Bulls this summer, Snell has to find that consistent shooting that he displayed against the Nuggets. The Las Vegas Summer League that Snell will be apart of is his opportunity now. He’ll be going up against many of the rookies taken in the 2014 draft, and could make an impression by using his one-year of NBA experience to his advantage. He needs to gain confidence in his outside shooting, and use his athleticism in order to slash and get to the basket more.
No matter which players the Bulls sign during this offseason, that shouldn’t hinder Snell’s willingness to improve his game. And with Derrick Rose returning next season, the Bulls need Snell to be a more reliable spot up shooter. This will be a very important offseason for Snell if he wants to move up in the team’s rotation.