Chicago Bulls: What Tomas Satoransky brings to the Windy City

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls agreed to acquire point guard Tomas Satoransky from the Washington Wizards on Monday. Here’s what his addition means for the Bulls.

This summer was never going to be a splashy one for the Chicago Bulls. They weren’t going for the sexy signings, trying to lure big names to the Windy City in quick-fix attempt to vault the franchise back to championship credibility.

Whether this was a realistic approach to this summer’s free agent class, one of the best in recent memory, or a general lack of foresight and planning, is a conversation for another day.

Either way, when the Bulls acquired Otto Porter Jr. before the February trade deadline, they essentially declared the former Washington Wizards forward their major summertime pickup, just getting a jumpstart on things.

Fast forward to June 30 and the start of NBA free agency, with teams looking to make huge splashes. Chicago did bring in Thaddeus Young to give the frontcourt much-needed depth. Next, on Monday, the team agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Wizards for point guard Tomas Santoranksy worth $30 million over three years. That makes two solid pickups for a team in dire need of some positivity this summer.

What exactly does Satoransky’s addition mean for the Bulls? With his addition, does it spell the end of the Kris Dunn era in Chicago?

Getting to know Tomas Satoransky by the numbers

Before we dive into what the deal means for the Bulls, let’s get acquainted with the 27-year-old Satoransky. At 6’7″, he gives Chicago size in the backcourt. Combine him with first round pick Coby White, who is listed at 6’5″, and the Bulls are creating matchup problems for opponents.

In three seasons with the Wizards, Satoransky has career averages of 6.6 points and 3.7 assists per game over 210 contests, starting in 87 of them and averaging 21.6 minutes per game. In his 54 starts last season, he averaged 10.7 points and 6.2 assists a night while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from the arc.

Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but they don’t necessarily tell the whole story either.

A career 40 percent 3-point shooter, Satoransky’s numbers improve to 42.2 percent if his rookie season — in which he shot 9-for-37 (24.3 percent) — is discounted. Last season, he shot 39.5 percent from long range (40 percent if you toss out his two backcourt heaves) and 46.5 percent in 2017-18. Bottom line, he’s a solid shooter and an improvement over Kris Dunn.

He doesn’t turn the ball over much, just 1.5 turnovers per game last season, and he’s a willing setup man for his teammates, averaging 6.6 assists per 36 minutes. He’s also efficient at the rim, with a shooting percentage of 62.6 percent within five feet on 238 attempts.

When it comes to helping his team win games, Satoransky’s total win shares last season came in at an impressive 4.7. Contrast that number to Dunn’s 0.6 and that number stands out even more. In fact, Dunn’s career win shares stand at 1.6, compared to 10.3 for Satoransky in the same timeframe.

How Satoransky helps the Chicago Bulls

Simply put, he’s an immediate upgrade to Chicago’s backcourt. He should team up well with Zach LaVine, setting up the Bulls’ flashier guard for easier scoring opportunities as a willing shot-taker and shot-maker. That alone will take the pressure off LaVine to do it all offensively.

Sato, from the Czech Republic, played mostly off the ball his rookie season, spending 62 percent of his minutes at shooting guard and 35 percent at the 3. He actually only played three percent of his minutes at point guard that season.

His flexibility will allow head coach Jim Boylen to use a variety of lineups, including the opportunity for three-guard lineups with White and LaVine, which provides more matchup variations for opponents to have to prepare for.

He’ll also give the Bulls another point guard, along with Coby White, willing to push the pace. In 2018-19, Satoransky posted an offensive rating of 121 per 100 possessions. That’s quite the improvement over Dunn’s 99, which tied Dunn’s career high.

How this affects the point guard rotation

In general, Satoransky gives the Chicago Bulls a point guard who can provide efficient starter’s minutes, allowing the team to groom White for the future. It also allows the front office insurance if they want to move on from Dunn.

The future of the position is obviously White’s to lose. Remembering that he’s still just 19 years old, this season he can serve as somewhat of an understudy to Satoransky if the team so chooses. If White comes off the bench, the team won’t sacrifice wins, as evidenced by the former Wizard’s win share compilation.

The front office insists Kris Dunn is still part of the team’s future, though that seems hard to believe at this point. Teams don’t typically draft a teenage point guard and pair him with a steady veteran while also keeping the incumbent. Satoransky’s signing triggered more rumors that Chicago would indeed look to move the former lottery pick from Providence.

It only makes sense that the drafting of White and the signing of Satoransky, who the Bulls gave up three second round picks to acquire and then gave him a three-year, $30 million deal, signals the end of the line for Dunn. It’s likely time for another fresh start for him in a situation more fitting for his skills.

The Chicago Bulls are making smart moves

First, it was Thaddeus Young’s signing that impressed critics of the Bulls front office. With the Tomas Satoransky deal, the team is getting even higher marks.

Rebuilding a franchise is a delicate process, where patience rarely runs as long as necessary. It’s a slow grind to accumulate assets, talent and eventually veteran pieces that can guide the roster toward winning basketball.

With the offseason moves the front office has made, including the drafting of White and raw but talented big man Daniel Gafford, the team is quietly building toward playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.

There may be more moves coming soon, but the Satoransky acquisition may turn out to be one of the under-the-radar type of moves that spurs a franchise. He’ll be given an opportunity to run the offense this season and be a key contributor going forward.

So far, the Bulls’ combination of John Paxson and Gar Forman have made some smart moves, which actually shouldn’t be a surprise for Chicago fans who have been paying attention the last couple of seasons.

Next. 2019 NBA free agency tracker - grades for every deal so far. dark

Satoransky is just the latest example.