With the addition of Nate Robinson formally announced this afternoon, the Bulls point guard mixing and matching of an off-season seems to have come to a close.
The additions of Robinson and Kirk Hinrich through free agency came after C.J. Watson and John Lucas III left for Brooklyn and Toronto, respectively. The writing may have been on the wall for both after the team drafted Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague in June.
And while the position will act as more of a stop gap until the main attraction, Derrick Rose, is ready to return, replacing Watson and Lucas with Hinrich and Robinson were still important moves.
Watson and Lucas combined for 4.8 win shares a year ago, seeing increased roles in place of Rose, who missed 27 regular season games. Hinrich and Robinson, who started a combined 40 games, totaled 4.6 win shares. So while each pair's win shares were almost identical, Hinrich's and Robinson's defensive numbers from last year were much worse. The pair averaged 107.0 points per 100 possessions allowed, while Watson and Lucas averaged just 101.5 points. Hinrich has always been a solid defender, but Robinson leaves plenty to be desired as an offensive-minded shooter. That may have to change under Thibodeau.
Offensively, Robinson and Hinrich averaged 105 points per 100 possessions, while Watson and Lucas averaged 104 points of their own. Each pair combined for similar offensive numbers, with the incoming point guards averaging slightly better numbers in about 12 more minutes per game. Robinson is the streakiest shooter of the four, and Hinrich is likely the most efficient, so with scoring at the position being an issue early in the year the Bulls appear to have improved some.
Money apparently was not too big an issue at the position, as Watson (2 years, $6 million) and Lucas (two years, $3 million) will make only slightly more than Hinrich (2 years, $8 million) and Robinson (one year, likely veteran's minimum).
While it may not seem like it at first glance, the Bulls' defense at the point guard position takes a hit with this year's moves. A key could very well be how well the athletic Teague can acclimate to the NBA game, and potentially see time on the court early.
The Bulls are in good hands with two seasoned veterans in Hinrich and Robinson, and any contributions Teague makes can be viewed as an added bonus. But whether or not the back court is better off with those two instead of Watson and Lucas is something that will be watched closely until Rose comes back.