Nikola Vucevic Reacts to Bulls New Signing

Getty Nikola Vucevic

The Chicago Bulls made another offseason roster move on Sunday, July 3. According to the Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bulls inked veteran point guard Goran Dragic to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.

Several reports, including one from NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson, indicate Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was instrumental in convincing Dragic to come to Chicago.

Based on this reply to Charania’s original story, it would appear Vucevic is taking something of a victory lap after another successful recruitment effort.

Vucevic has played a role in the recruitment of DeMar DeRozan and now Dragic. We don’t know how good of a year Dragic will have next season, but DeRozan was a legit MVP candidate most of the 2021-22 campaign.

That’s a pretty strong track record on the recruiting front from Vucevic. What did Vucevic help to secure for the Bulls with the Dragic signing?

What Does Dragic Have Left in the Tank?

Dragic is 36 years old, which is immediately cause to put the signing into the proper perspective. At the least, Dragic provides the Bulls with a veteran point guard presence who has been an All-NBA performer, though it was nine years ago when he was in his second stint with the Phoenix Suns.

More recently, Dragic has struggled to stay healthy. He played in just 21 games last season and 50 in 2020-21. For his career, Dragic is a 36% three-point shooter, but his most recent numbers suggest that might still be the case.

Between time with the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets last season, Dragic made only 25% of his threes on a trio of attempts per game. If Dragic doesn’t come closer to the accuracy rate he’s shown earlier in his career, he won’t be supplying the Bulls with one of the main qualities they so desperately need.

Last season, the Bulls were tied for 28th in the NBA in threes made per game at 10.6. While the accuracy rate was fourth in the league at .369, the effectiveness of that part of their game was a bit deceiving. The lower-level of attempts masked some of the issue, but perhaps the biggest factor were the injuries to Lonzo Ball.

Without Ball on the floor, the Bulls became a drastically less-effective three-point shooting team. Despite playing in just 35 games, Ball’s 110 threes still ranked third on the roster behind Zach LaVine and the erratic Coby White. LaVine’s shooting is obviously important, but because he is one of the team’s initiators on offense, it’s vital Chicago has shooters around him.

Dragic Signing Likely Means a Trade of a Guard is Coming

Dragic’s arrival almost guarantees the Bulls will make a move involving one of the guards on their team. At the position, the Bulls currently have Ball, LaVine, Caruso, White, Ayo Dosunmu and if you count versatile rookie Dalen Terry. That’s six guys to play two positions which probably means at least one guy is going to be traded.

It won’t be LaVine after he just signed a max deal. It’s unlikely Ball or Caruso would be shipped out. To a slightly lesser degree, Dosunmu is probably staying too. However, if the Bulls decide to make a major deal for a star, Dosunmu could be included to sweeten a package for a win-now star. Terry might be in that same boat.

That would White as the obvious odd man out. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him moved as early as this week. The Bulls could still use a backup power forward who can shoot the 3 and defend in the low post.

There won’t be a ton of deals left for Chicago, but let’s see what else is coming down the road and if Vucevic will need to do any more recruiting.

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