Pressure on Chicago Bulls' Tony Snell to Improve with New Rookies on Board

By Wally Jacobs
Getty Images
Getty Images

Now that the Chicago Bulls drafted rookies Doug McDermott and Cameron Bairstow, the roster is going to be injected with even younger players to go along with second year forward Tony Snell.

Snell, who is coming off of his rookie season after being selected by the Bulls 20th overall in 2013, dabbled in the rotation for much of the year without making much impact. Snell averaged four points and one rebound in 16 minutes of action. It wasn’t necessarily Snell’s fault that he didn’t become much of a rotation player in his rookie year. The Bulls started the season with Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy playing ahead of Snell; even when the Bulls traded Deng in early January, it just meant a bigger role for Butler.

However, with a year under his belt, it will be important for Snell to use his rookie experience for his own good. When the Bulls start the 2014 NBA Summer League in July, Snell will need to show drastic improvement when he teams up with McDermott and Bairstow.

McDermott is projected to be one of the first players coming off of the Bulls bench this season, is capable of playing both forward positions, and could likely eat up some of Snell’s minutes at small forward. McDermott is capable of scoring in bunches as well, so his number will undoubtedly be called upon during the season.

Bairstow, on the other hand, is already well acquainted with Snell since both played at UNM together two seasons ago. Bairstow was also a prolific scorer at New Mexico last season, and has drawn comparisons to former Bull Darius Songaila. Although Bairstow primarily plays power forward, if he is capable of cracking the Bulls’ rotation, Snell could lose even more minutes.

However, with the Bulls trying to clear cap space in the event that Carmelo Anthony signs with the team, Snell could also be packaged in a sign-and-trade this offseason. But if Snell stays on the team as expected, he needs to prove his worth during his sophomore year. If not, it will be another long season for Snell on the bench.

Wally Jacobs is a Chicago Bulls writer for Follow him on Twitter @WJac1.

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