Signed this past offseason as the “big” acquisition, or the “only” acquisition the Chicago Bulls made in free agency, Mike Dunleavy was brought in here to replace Marco Belinelli. He was asked to step into a role as a shooter, and mediocre defender, and most importantly, take pressure off Rose and space the floor. Well, the latter never really came into play. But, a mediocre defender he was. More times than not, he also answered the call as a shooter.
Dunleavy is a career 38% shooter from behind the arc, and after having a career best 42% 3pt shot, some Bulls fans were excited for this former Blue Devil to join forces with Derrick Rose and company. Yet, the debate is still going around, was he a better sign than Marco? Marco is a better ball handler, shooter, and creator. When it comes to defense I give the edge to Dunleavy, who is a more grind it out type player defensively and may have led the team in charges taken. With that being said I still feel the answer is, no. The front office missed out by not re-signing Belinelli, and instead going for the “better fit”.
Expectations for this season for Dunleavy were high. After all, everyone knew exactly who he was here for, and seeing heroics last season from Marco, the majority of fans put their expectations too high. Mike was brought here to be a spot up guy that wouldn’t clog the lane. Run off a few screens and not demand the ball so much in order to put up some points. Problem is thats what the Bulls have been lacking for the past few seasons. A creator.
Next season Mike will be back with the Bulls, barring a trade to clear up more cap space to go after Carmelo Anthony. In which he will get a chance to play with Derrick Rose and be the effective acquisition he was intended to be. With him coming in as a 6th man, nobody including Dunleavy, expecting him to start 61 games for this Bulls team. Given the unfortunate luck once again this season, he was called upon to live up to the next man up mentality Thibs has instilled into the mindset of every player that comes to this organization. Mike gave effort every night, kept his cool calm demeanor he is known for, and played Thibodeau basketball. He was one of two players to play all 82 games this season with Taj being the other one, giving the heart and effort this fan base has known to over value.
During the playoffs Dunleavy was missing. Despite his one outstanding performance, perhaps the highlight of his season, Dunleavy struggled. If you take away his 35 point explosion in Game 3 Dunleavy only scored 29 points total in the other 4 games. An average of 7.25 ppg. His Game 3 performance allowed his average to jump into the double digits where he finished with 10ppg.
Overall I was impressed with what he brought to the table outside of what he was expected to do, play team defense and put his body on the line night in and night out. He is Chicago tough, and a player I feel can really contribute to a healthy, full Bulls roster. The aging vet will look to become more familiar with this system and contribute once again next season. Hopefully he will do so on a more consistent basis offensively.
Season Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TRB AST STL TOV PTS 2013-14 33 82 61 31.5 4.1 9.4 .430 .380 .467 .854 4.2 2.3 0.8 1.3 11.3
Worst of the season: