Boylen pulls October non-surprise by starting Satoransky
Tomas Satoransky was officially named the Bulls' starting point guard on Wednesday.
Realistically, though, this move became official when Satorasnky didn't break his leg at the FIBA World Cup. The Bulls were clearly looking for someone new to run the offense and were able to snag the Czech Republic native from Washington in a sign-and-trade for two second-round picks back in July.
What the Bulls would like to see next are more stat lines like the one Satoransky delivered last week in a preseason game against New Orleans. He produced 11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 20 minutes.
After practice at the Advocate Center, Satoransky was asked if it's his goal to fill up the stat sheet line that.
"It's not my goal, it's just my game," he said. "I was never an elite scorer or elite player in certain things. I was always trying to be a complete player and do little things for the team.
"I think that's where my stats came from. I've done it since I started in Spain and with my national team. I don't have a problem if I don't shoot the ball particularly well because I know I can affect the game in different ways."
The only real surprise here is that Kris Dunn is still on the roster. It's safe to say the Bulls tried, but couldn't find a suitable trade partner this summer. So Dunn will come off the bench and figures to continue playing alongside rookie Coby White, who has been the Bulls' second-leading scorer in preseason.
"I've been happy with both of them," coach Jim Boylen said of Satorasnky and Dunn. "They're both in good places. I think this is what's best for our team and I think it will be great for both of them individually. Kris has to be kind of our defensive force in that second group."
Dunn's issue has always been more about poor fit than poor performance. He's always been an attacking, scoring-minded guard, while the Bulls want to utilize multiple ballhandlers and expect Zach LaVine to get plenty of chance to be the lead guard. Satoransky has a history of playing on or off the ball and his basketball IQ appears to be exceptionally high.
"I'm not the guy who plays with the ball a lot," he said. "I'm trying to lead by example. I think we've been doing a great job. We've been overpassing sometimes but I think that's what you want, especially early."
Preseason hasn't been the greatest test, because the Bulls have faced two teams that rested most of their key players and sat their starters once themselves. The preseason ends Thursday with a home game against Atlanta that figures to be more of a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
"Out of our motions, everybody handles it, everybody brings it, so we're not a point-guard dominant team, we're just a basketball team where other guys handle it and play with and make good decisions," Boylen said. "That's how I want to play, that's how we're going to play."
This move gives the Bulls sort of a throwback-style tall backcourt with the 6-7 Satoransky and 6-5 LaVine. Steph Curry and Damien Lillard helped turn the NBA trend toward smaller, quicker guards who aren't afraid to shoot from anywhere. The Bulls could see on of those Thursday in Atlanta's Trae Young.
Whether this pairing can survive defensively remains to be seen. Satorasnky was asked about guarding guys like Curry.
"It's very difficult for me obviously," Satoransky said, which is true for pretty much every NBA player. "It's a challenge, but I'm up for those challenges. It doesn't depend on only individual defense. We have a lot of guys who can switch."
The Bulls did their switching in July. They just confirmed the obvious on Wednesday.