The Chicago Bulls shocked 99.9% of their fan base by passing up names like Tim Hardaway Jr., Gorgui Dieng, and Mason Plumlee. Instead they went for New Mexico’s swingman Tony Snell with the 20th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Snell came into his situation as a Bull, knowing the Tom Thibodeau system would be hard to learn, just ask Marquis Teague. However, with Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, and Loul Deng ahead of him on the roster, the rookie figured he could take his time learning the system. Thibs mindset, don’t play rookies.
When the injury to Derrick Rose occurred and a few early season injuries by Butler, Snell saw time a little quicker than expected. He went from averaging 0.3 ppg and 2.3 mpg before the injury to Rose to, 4.9 ppg on 17.4 mpg. A minute total few expected to happen. A guy who many were looking at as an early to mid second round pick, now getting key minutes on a playoff contending team, Snell was playing above most fan’s expectations.
He certainly had his bright spots this season like his career game vs Cleveland in mid December where he scored 17 pts (5/8 from three) with 5 reb 3 assist and 1 block. But, for those few nights in which he showed the ability to score in spurts and in the high teens, (career high 20pts vs Den) fans expectations began to rise. They began to expect shots to fall for Tony on a regular basis. But, with the inconsistent minutes Thibs was giving him, it was hard for the young shooter to keep his touch. One night he would play 17-20 minutes scoring 10-14 points, only to follow it up with a 2 minute game with donuts across the stat line. That has to take a toll on a young player mentally.
Defensively at times he looked lost on rotations, seemed to let his man beat him often in one on one situations. But, with an off-season to work on his craft and build a little more bulk, I look for Snell to not only come out a stronger more confident player next season. But, also a lot more familiar with this system.
If ever Thibs could have used a season to grow and mature a young pure shooting SG for the future, this was the year. However, Thibs being Thibs, believes in the grind it out win every game mentality, didn’t allow the rookie to find his place.
Final Grade: D