It’s no secret, as good as the Chicago Bulls‘ Nikola Vucevic is offensively, he has some stark limitations on the defensive end. That’s why the ideal power forward and/or Vucevic’s backup needs to be a strong defensive player.
While Vucevic is an excellent defensive rebounder. His 9.6 defensive rebounds per game last season was good for third in the NBA. However, he’s not the greatest rim protector, which is evident by his 63% defensive field goal percentage within six feet of the basket.
The best and most proven rim protectors usually average 3 or more defensive field goal attempts from that distance per game, and made percentage on those are about 55% and under. Vucevic is easily a ways down on that list.
This concept prompted me to tweet a list of the top rim protectors who are also unrestricted free agents.
One of the players on this list took note.
JaVale McGee Retweeted the Post
Make of this what you will, but three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee thought enough of the statistical reference and attachment to the Bulls’ need to retweet the post.
McGee is coming off a season that saw him average 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in just 13 minutes of action per appearance. Those numbers are solid, but what could be the most attractive to the Bulls is McGee’s league-leading 46.9% defensive field goal percentage inside 6 feet of the basket.
As you can see from the stats in the tweet, McGee is the only big in the league, who averaged more than 3 qualified attempts per game, who holds would be scorers to sub-50% shooting in the paint.
That’s the sign of a man who not only knows his role, but relishes it as well.
The 33-year-old would be an attractive addition to the Bulls roster as a backup behind Vucevic. His presence could help to shut down second units as well as igniting Chicago’s transition game.
McGee made $4.2 million last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets. You’d think another contract within that range could at least start the conversation between him and the Bulls.
The Sleeper Option on the List
Unless you’re an Alabama basketball or Orlando Magic fan, chances are, you’ve never heard of Donta Hall. The uber-athletic 23-year-old big man made the most of his opportunities with the Magic last season.
After bouncing between the G-League, Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets as a rookie during the 2019-20 season, Hall inked a 10-day contract with the Magic that he turned into a bigger opportunity when he earned a deal that lasted through this past season with Orlando. According to Spotrac, Hall earned just $79,216 last season. From a pure talent standpoint, he is in line to blow that total out of the water with a one or two-year deal heading into the 2021-22 season.
Hall’s interior defense was obviously strong in limited time, but what makes him a low-risk, high-reward option for the Bulls is his active body and finishing on the offensive end. While he only attempted 2.1 shots per appearance, Hall converted on 71% of his attempts. He’s not a shooter, making just under 68% of his free throws, but he could be a solid pick-and-roll option, and a demon on the offensive glass where he yanked down 4.8 per 36 minutes.
The Bulls saw Hall’s potential firsthand back on April 14 when he stuffed the stat sheet for the Magic at the United Center. Hall played just under 17 minutes, but he made a significant impact. He had 7 points, 9 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 blocks, 1 steal and 2 assists. Hall was +8 as he helped former Bull Wendell Carter Jr. down Chicago in the latter’s revenge game after the Vucevic trade.
Take a look at his possessions from that game in the video below, recognize the verticality on the contests. He has that I-will-dunk-everything bounce on offense too.
Chicago’s priority at power forward will be to re-sign Daniel Theis. However, Hall would be a great backup who could develop into more.
Either way, it’s hard to argue against at the very least, having a conversation with Hall to see if he’s interested in signing with the Bulls.
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