The Bulls never wanted Tony Snell.
Well, at least their former head coach didn’t, as the 2013 NBA Draft was just another sign of the disconnect that was taking place between Tom Thibodeau and the front office.
After giving Thibodeau the disaster that was Marquis Teague in the 2012 Draft, the follow-up to the point guard out of Kentucky was Snell with the 20th pick overall. Thibodeau wanted to go defense and glass protector, looking at Gorgui Dieng out of Louisville, who coincidentally went with the very next selection.
And while Snell had more staying power than Teague did, as Saturday night’s trade with Milwaukee showed there’s suddenly been more misses than hits with personnel decisions.
A source confirmed that Snell would be wearing a Milwaukee Bucks uniform by Monday, while the Bulls would be getting former first-round pick – 11th overall – Michael Carter-Williams, who was also a product of the ’13 draft class.
Basically, one team’s bad decision for another’s.
From the Bucks’ standpoint, they were really left with no choice. The injury to Khris Middleton (torn hamstring) just before camp started was a huge blow to their perimeter game, so they needed a shooter with some length. Snell is only a career 35 percent shooter from long range, but impressed Milwaukee last season by averaging 12.5 points against them in two meetings.
As far as Carter-Williams, his career has steadily declined, going from the NBA Rookie of the Year in Philadelphia to a bench player in Milwaukee.
So how does he fit with the Bulls?
Well, it’s not his outside shooting, as the 6-foot-6 guard is only a career 25.5 percent shooter from beyond the three-point line.
What he will give Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg off the bench is on-the-ball defense, as well as a point guard that can play with pace. It also ends the competition that was going on for that back-up point guard spot, as Spencer Dinwiddie, Jerian Grant and Denzel Valentine were all getting looks there throughout training camp.
The good news for the Bulls, and more specifically Carter-Williams, is that he will no longer have the spotlight on him to reach a ceiling that so far has been unobtainable. He’s never had a strong veteran point guard to learn from, and that could soon be changing.
Since signing 30-year-old Rajon Rondo this offseason, Rondo has made it a point to be a mentor for the younger players, even travelling to Las Vegas for Summer League to sit on the bench during games and play tutor.
So while Rondo’s reputation in places like Dallas and Sacramento took a hit, Hoiberg hasn’t seen any of the baggage that supposedly travelled closely with the point guard.
“He’s bought in to what we’re trying to do,’’ Hoiberg said of Rondo “He wanted to come in and watch film, we worked a lot with his shot early in the process and he was around our guys, and from the very first moment you could tell guys were going to gravitate toward him because of his voice, veteran presence. Like all players you learn a lot from the different situations you have been through. I’m sure that’s the case with Rajon.
“That’s how I’m judging it and how I’m going to base it, how our relationship is. I took some transfer kids when I was [coaching Iowa State] who didn’t have the best reputations and the minute you stepped onto the campus you talked about how it was going to be, how important it is to develop a relationship with them. That’s how I’ve always approached it.’’