It is no secret that the Chicago Bulls are not going to be very good this year.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, the team will be in full rebuild mode. After finishing .500 and handed an early exit from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, the Bulls decided it was time to go in a new direction. When the team shipped All-NBA forward Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal most believe Chicago lost, it showed just how bad the Bulls are about be. Even the best player they got in the trade, Zach LaVine, is coming off an ACL tear and will not be ready to go for the start of the season. Not to mention that there is a good chance Dwyane Wade will be gone sooner rather than later. The present and the future of the Chicago Bulls are each looking very bleak.
With not many options left to improve, I feel the Bulls should take a chance on former NBA player (and current Chinese Basketball League mega-star) Russ Smith.
Russ Smith was a college basketball star at Louisville, where he helped the Cardinals win a National Championship in 2013. Smith was drafted in the second round in the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, who then traded his draft rights to the New Orleans Pelicans. He would also have a stint with the Memphis Grizzlies, but would spend most of his time in the D-League. Russ Smith would keep bouncing around, even spending time playing in Europe.
However, when Russ Smith’s journey landed him in the National Basketball League in China, he found immense success scoring the basketball. Smith would end up averaging 60 points a game in his time in China. Yes, you read that right, 60 points. He even exploded for an 81 point performance. That’s incredible, no matter what league you are in.
Since Smith’s success in China hit the mainstream, many have called for his return to the NBA. And in my mind, no team has less to lose by giving him a chance than the Chicago Bulls.
Why the Bulls and Russ Smith Are a Good Fit
The Bulls are in a tough place. They just traded their best player in Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade is on his way out the door, and their next best player Zach LaVine is months away from returning to action. So, who does that leave? Beside Wade, the next top scorer is Robin Lopez, at 12 measly points a game. Chicago will be scrappy for points any way they can.
If anything, scoring is definitely something Russ Smith can provide. No matter the league, 60 points a game is 60 points a game. Smith has always been a dynamic player, and he has definitely proved that he deserves to show that off in the NBA.
If anything, what do the Bulls have to lose? It’s not like Smith is going to demand a huge contract, all he wants is a chance to prove himself in the NBA. And if you look at Chicago’s depth and talent at point guard, they have proven about as much as Smith has in the NBA. Cameron Payne and Kris Dunn are statistically 2 of the worst point guards in the league, and even worse scorers. How could adding Smith hurt the Bulls at the point guard?
Russ Smith and his 60 ppg deserve a chance in the NBA, and Chicago should be looking at anyone who could help them score. In my mind, it is a perfect match. Best case scenario, Smith proves to be a capable scorer in the NBA. This would also allow LaVine to move to shooting guard, his natural position. At 26 years old, Smith also could give the Bulls a point guard for the near future.
Worst case scenario? The Chicago Bulls still aren’t very good. So, why not give Russ Smith a chance to help the Bulls maybe not be the worst team in the NBA?