Yes, The Times They Are Changing. The Bulls have a couple one trick ponies sitting on the bench.
I remember that in High School I wore two basketball uniform numbers, #23 on Junior Varsity and #41 on Senior Varsity. My claim to fame still is that I was the “original #23” in Chicago. Those two numbers have always stuck with me. They have become my lucky numbers, the kind I may choose when playing the lottery or buying a certain Bulls uniform.
Often, we see first round picks chose #1, such as Derrick Rose who was not only the number 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, but also aspired to be the #1 player in the league, which he accomplished as the youngest MVP in league history. Still other players may choose O (as in zero), which is what Coby White, the Bulls #1 pick in this year’s recent NBA draft chose. Apparently, White also wore zero in high school. Not sure what it means to him, but zero could be a reference to “no ego” or a “flawless” game. But a player’s number can have serious significance.
It was no coincidence then when the Bulls recently signed Luke Kornet and Shaquille Harrison, that their respectively uniform numbers caught my eye. Luke will be #2 (apparently Thad Young will be #21, the number previously worn by Kornet) and Shaq will wear #3. Ha!!! The funny thing is that Shaq, a point guard, who traditionally should be a high percentage outside shooter. hardly hits from 3, while the 7’11” Kornet, who one expects would be deadly from 2, hardly even attempts a shot inside 10 feet and only has made 16 dunks in his career!
Yes, the times they are a changing. Is there now such a thing as a height advantage from outside the arc?
Overall, Kornet is a specialist, a three point stretch four. Only 33% of Kornet’s made shots were from two while 36% were from outside the arc. Shaq on the other hand, whose specializes more on the defensive end, has attempted 79% of his shots from inside the arc and hits only 26% from 3. He even has 23 dunks, 7 more than the guy 9 inches taller!
Clearly their uniform numbers make sense now. Luke, who will wear #2 will not be taking many of two-point attempts and Shaq, who will don #3, will not be shooting many of threes at all. Unless those numbers reflect some desire to change their games, they should switch numbers and admit they are both one trick ponies.
But a pony on a mission can be more valuable than a wild horse. While both players will be sitting far down the bench, no two players on the Bulls roster represent the current NBA game as much as these two. Every team needs a guy who can come in and swing the momentum. Coach Boylan has his stretch four three-point sharpshooter and his quick defensive sparkplug. Let’s just hope that we do not have to see this pairing on the floor too often. If we do, it would be another season tanked.