The Chicago Bulls signed Sean Kilpatrick to a non-guaranteed contract a few weeks ago. In Monday’s loss to the Nets, he showed why he’s worth keeping around.
The Chicago Bulls needed to lose on both Saturday night and on Monday night in order to pass the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh-best lottery odds in the NBA.
After getting blown out on Saturday night, the Bulls were taken out in a closer affair in Brooklyn on Monday by a score of 114-105.
While the Bulls needed to lose these two games for the sake of their lottery odds, it was clear that the newly signed Sean Kilpatrick has been eager to prove his worth in the NBA. In eight games for the Bulls, Kilpatrick is now averaging 15 points per game.
These points haven’t necessarily been scored inefficiently either; Kilpatrick’s 57 percent true shooting percentage is third on the Bulls for the season, behind the departed Nikola Mirotic, and Cristiano Felicio. He shot 39 percent from deep, second to just Mirotic. Being one of the better player’s on the Bulls this season isn’t saying much, but Kilpatrick has shown that he can score the basketball on a team that mostly lacks players with that ability. He isn’t great defensively. As a matter of fact, he’s been far below average.
Kilpatrick is one of several reasons that three members of the Nets backcourt, Allen Crabbe, DeAngelo Russell, and Spencer Dinwiddie, were able to combine for over 80 points in this one.
Kilpatrick is a nice piece for the Bulls
Over the past eight games, the Bulls have scored a dismal 98.1 points per 100 possessions. With Kilpatrick on the floor, that number goes up to 99 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. Some of that is because he’s playing with bench scrubs. The Bulls are purposely losing games, after all.
Some of that is also because there is a reason that Dinwiddie was available to the Bulls in the first place. He’s an undersized, score-first point guard who can’t defend. I think with what he has shown the past week or so, it’s worth it for the Bulls to bring him back for next season. And this is the exact type of “try-out” signing that a tanking team should be doing.
Kilpatrick scored seven points in the first half of the fourth quarter against the Nets to keep the Bulls in the game. Several people on Twitter were legitimately concerned he was going to sabotage the tank.
In the end, though, the Bulls still lost, and Kilpatrick looked interesting in the loss. That’s about as good of a result as they can ask for this season. Kilpatrick is 28, so it’s not like he’s going to improve a ton over the summer or anything.
None of Kilpatrick’s $2 million salary for next season is guaranteed, but given that he can shoot, and $2 million is a tiny price to pay, I think he’s shown enough to deserve another shot next year. Regardless, the Bulls and Kilpatrick will end their season on Wednesday in Chicago against the Detroit Pistons.