Chicago Bulls: Meeting The 3 Newest Members
Having traded away Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, it is time to meet the three newest members of the Chicago Bulls.
After the organization had most fans thinking they would go tradeless at the deadline, the Chicago Bulls made a last-minute deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder: they would send Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a future draft pick in exchange for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Now, there are certainly different beliefs as to whether or not this was a successful trade for the Bulls.
While some say it was time to shake things up, most agree that Chicago did not seemingly get a great return for Gibson and McDermott.
If they were going to move anyone, it should have been a guy such as Nikola Mirotic.
It also means that the Bulls are now awkwardly working with five point guards.
But what is done is done.
And just because the newbies may not necessarily be the right fit for this current Chicago team does not mean that they do not have anything to offer.
So it is time to become better acquainted with the newly acquired members of the Bulls.
A Tennessee native, 22-year-old Cameron Payne played two years at Murray State University. As a freshman, he averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game, earning both first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors and OVC Freshman of the Year.
He then went onto win OVC Player of the Year as a sophomore after averaging 20.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest.
Payne then decided it was time to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft and was selected No. 14 overall by the Thunder in 2015.
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Unfortunately, since then, his performance has been lackluster.
Having spent some time in the D-League with the Thunder’s affiliate team, the Oklahoma City Blue, Payne saw time in only 52 games last season and averaged just 5.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists a matchup.
He did close out the year on a high note though, totaling 17 points, three rebounds, seven assists and a steal against the San Antonio Spurs.
Payne had to undergo foot surgery for a fractured firth metatarsal the following summer, an injury that happened again at the start of 2016-17. He rejoined the team in January, leading him to compete in just 20 more games with the Thunder before being traded to Chicago.
During that time he averaged 5.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest, a slight improvement from his rookie year.
He also continued to show flashes of potential, recording 15 points, a rebound, two assists and a steal against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 9.
Therefore, it is way too early to write off the young buck just yet.
With the right coaching and teammates, in the proper system, Payne can certainly flourish into a talented point guard. The question is whether or not the Bulls are it for him.
A veteran, 31-year-old Anthony Morrow has been in the league since the Golden State Warriors signed him in the summer of 2008. After going undrafted that year, Morrow played for the team during Summer League, obviously making a great first impression.
He had a solid rookie year too, averaging 10.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists a game, finishing the season as the first-ever rookie and the first Warrior to lead the league in three-point shooting, hitting 46.7 percent.
The guard remained with Golden State until he was traded to the New Jersey Nets in the summer of 2010, where he continued to blossom into one heck of a three-point shooter. Over his two years there, Morrow averaged 12.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per matchup.
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Unfortunately, the North Carolina native then hit a rough patch in his career. Playing for the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans between 2012-14, his minutes and numbers began to significantly decline.
It was not until he signed a three-year deal with Oklahoma City in the summer of 2014 that he began to find himself again.
For instance, he totaled 32 points, four rebounds and a steal against the Mavericks in April 2015.
But even still, Morrow only 5.8 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists a contest in 40 games with the Thunder this season.
On the one hand, Morrow’s age may indicate that his best days are behind him. After all, it has been a while since he averaged double-digit scoring. But on the other, three-point shooting does still seem to be his strong suit (a 41.7 percent career shooter).
That’s something Chicago desperately needs help with, especially considering they are now without McDermott.
Perhaps the most mysterious new Bull, 25-year-old Joffrey Lauvergne comes from France.
Having played overseas since 2009, with achievements including winning the French League in 2012, two French Cups in 2011 and 2012 and a Leaders Cup in 2012, he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies No. 55 overall in 2013.
However, his rights were traded to the Denver Nuggets, a team he did not actually join until 2015.
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During his two years with the Nuggets, the forward averaged 5.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per matchup in 83 games total, with stretches of time comprised of many double-digit performances.
For instance, he put up a hefty 22 points (along with seven rebounds, an assist and a block) against the Sacramento Kings.
In the summer of 2016, Lauvergne was traded to Oklahoma City. He saw action in 50 games, averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds a contest.
However, he continued to show glimpses of greatness, recently scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing four assists against the Washington Wizards.
Chicagoans should definitely look forward to seeing what this Frenchman can do for the team.
And there you have it. Welcome aboard, fellas.