Strong rumours coming out of the Windy City on Tuesday that the Chicago Bulls have got in on the chase for Arron Afflalo by offering either their 16th or 19th pick in this year’s first round for him.
Afflalo is coming off the back of a career year averaging 18.2 points per game, putting up career bests in points, rebounds, and assists per game, as well as leading the team in scoring and minutes per game, albeit on a poor Magic team. But from what this writer saw of Orlando this year( tanking all year) it was obvious the guy has developed into a legit scorer who can get his own shot.
Don’t believe me? Check this out.
He will make $7.5 million next season and has a $7.75 million option for the 2015-16 season, and at 28 that is great value as these are his peak years. Make no mistake, the guy can play.
It is very much a position that Chicago needs to fill, a perimeter guy who can score. The likelihood of getting a better 2 guard with the 19th pick than Afflalo is extremely low. There is an argument to be made that he is the 5th best shooting guard in the league. It’s James Harden, Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal,Manu Ginobili and then Afflalo in this writer’s humble opinion.
Sure, Wade is probably still a marginally better player, but if you’re a General Manager, do you want Afflalo at 7.5 and 7.75 million or DWade at 20 million?
Consider this, Wade cannot play back to backs, last year he played only 54 games, resting his body for multiple DNP stretches. This resulted in his numbers becoming inflated. Wade had his best shooting year since he came into the league and also averaged 19 points. Do you realize what kind of numbers LeBron or Durant would put up if they could pick and choose 54 games per season, then sit for the other 28? Give me a break.
As I basked in the sun over the weekend in my garden chair, the thought occurred to me that there is a serious lack of elie shooting guards in the league. If the Bulls, or any team for that matter, could parlay a mid first round pick into nabbing Afflalo, there are only 5 positions on the floor. In Afflalo, you now have one of the top 5 players at his position in the league.
On the flip side everyone has a good point guard, there are as many as 20 above average point guards in the league*. Consider this, Jrue Holiday was traded for two first round picks, but is not by anyone’s estimation one of the top 10 point guards in the league. Is he really worth two first-rounders?
Stats alone however do not tell you anything about the offensive burden a player has to carry. It does not take into account the playing abilities of teammates either.
The best example here is Carmelo Anthony, who was a one man offense for most of the season. He averaged 27.4 points and a career high 8.1 rebounds. Those stats are great, but do not tell you how hard he had to work to get those points, due to the dearth of talent on the knicks. If I’m a GM in 2014 and I have a choice between Afflalo and Wade I choose Afflalo every time.
Afflalo would help the Bulls immeasurably. Anyone watching the Bulls struggle to score all season (they ranked 28th in the league in offensive rating, per NBA.com) knows the team desperately needs somebody to put the ball in the hole. If Rose can comeback and even be 85% the player he was prior to his injuries then the Bulls have the potential to contend next year in an historically weak Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose at the point, Afflalo at the 2 guard position, Butler at small forward with Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah rounding out a very strong front court. He may not be Melo* but he would be a great addition to Bulls teams with huge potential.
*And yes as a Knicks fan I am very aware that we do not have any of these! It’s cool though, we got Ray Felton. Sigh.
*Sorry Bulls fans, that is not happening