Let’s grade and breakdown how each player did Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kris Dunn (D+)
Dunn struggled offensively in this one. 2nd game since the break and 2nd time Dunn has struggled. Dunn missed all his shots in the paint, 0-5. Was 1-4 from 3 but did make all 3 mid-range shots. Dunn had 4 turnovers as well, just struggled creating opportunities for others with only 2 assists. Dunn also had 5 fouls, had trouble with Jeff Teague last night.
Zach Lavine (B-)
Lavine had two different halves. In the first half you saw Zach not only score the basketball but create for others. Had 15 points and 5 assists. Shot 60% from the field. In the 2nd half had 6 points with only 2 assists. Forced shots more and didn’t shoot efficiently. Zach continues to show his scoring potential but must continue to show he can make his teammates better. He gets in the paint with his quickness, scored 14 of his 21 points in the paint. Must look for his teammates more often, make game easier for Lauri.
David Nwaba (B)
Nwaba had another solid all-around game. Like Lavine, was more effective in the 1st half. But Nwaba played with an energy that was contagious. Nwaba scored 8 of his 15 points on the break. Nwaba led the team in rebounds with 9. Nwaba continues to show his offensive improvement this season, making it harder and harder not to bring him back next season.
Lauri Markkanen (F)
Lauri continues to struggle, and really has looked bad the last two games. Lauri only had 3 points on 1 of 8 shooting, 0 of 2 from 3. Lauri is missing short on a lot of his shots and has overall looked fatigued the past two games. Still arguably not getting enough shots, but clearly struggling right now. This was one of the worst games we have seen all season from Markkanen.
Crisitiano Felicio (C)
Felicio was able to stay out of foul trouble in his 2nd start. Felicio really looked good in the pick n roll with Lavine. Felicio scored 8 of his 11 points in the pick n roll with Felicio. That was encouraging to see. The biggest difference you see in Felicio from Lopez is his athleticism. He can run the floor on both ends, in transition and getting back on defense. His pick n roll defense tonight could have been better though.
Denzel Valentine (C+)
Valentine had an efficient offensive game. Didn’t hurt you, had 4 assists. Shot the ball well 5 of 9. But really struggled defensively guarding his man. Lacked height to guard bigger SFs. Had 2nd worse defensive rating on team tonight with 125.5. Valentine’s weakness showed tonight, hard to find a position for him. Plays solid team offense but what position can he guard effectively?
Bobby Portis (B-)
Hard to follow a big game like Bobby had last game. He scored 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Played with confidence offensively and was effective. Just wasn’t much of a factor defensively. Bobby’s confidence offensively is clearly growing and is comfortable in his role off the bench.
Cameron Payne (C)
Payne scored 11 points, 4 in garbage minutes. Payne shows talent but shows low shot IQ and doesn’t see the floor well. A few times misses open man, one bad one with Portis wide open underneath basket last night. Defensively struggled as well. Needs to have better floor game if he wants to get consistent minutes in the future.
Noah Vonleh (B)
Vonleh looked good tonight. He shot the ball well 3 of 4 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3. Hustled out there and ended up with 6 rebounds. This was an encouraging game for Vonleh and should get him more minutes moving forward. He looked real comfortable out there and played with confidence.
Jerian Grant (INC)
Barely played. Garbage minutes. Took bad shot but irrelevant.
Omer Asik, Justin Holiday, Antonio Blakeney, Ryan Arcidiacono were not active.
Overall: Bulls again played tough but fell apart in 4th. Really struggled finding ways to get easy buckets late. Bulls had trouble with Jeff Teague all night. Crawford shot the ball well for Minnesota, and Taj Gibson had a good game. The Bulls losing isn’t really the issue, but the struggles of Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen are. But encouraging was David Nwaba and Noah Vonleh in this one. The Bulls continue to focus on player development while helping their draft stock.