Player breakdowns: Bulls’ Tomas Satoransky is his own harshest critic
With the NBA season still up in the air, the Sun-Times will look at each Bulls player, the season they had and the upcoming seasons they could have, with the Bulls or elsewhere. Next up is the guy called “Sato.’’
The criticism of Tomas Satoransky before the coronavirus shut down the NBA was harsh.
Hard to call it unfair, however, especially since it came from Satoransky himself.
“I think inconsistent is one off the best words to describe it,’’ the guard said, when asked about his first season with the Bulls. “There is a lot of up and down for me. … It’s obviously affecting the way I’ve been underperforming since the All-Star break. I can’t be happy about it. I think it helps after the season is done to look at it from the bigger picture.
“I don’t like being inconsistent.’’
Neither did the Bulls.
When they acquired the 28-year-old from the Washington Wizards last summer in a sign-and-trade, the thought from the front office was his analytics were strong, his reputation was as a tough-minded guy, and his versatility at the point guard spot would be beneficial.
Some of those boxes were checked in his 65 games played, but there were far more underwhelming moments than highlights.
Yes, his 9.9 points per game was a career-high, but that was expected, especially since Satoransky was an everyday starter — that is until rookie Coby White took his spot just before the league went on hiatus. But Satoransky’s three-point shooting was a career-worst 32.2 percent, and his field goal percentage (43 percent) was a three-season low.
He did show play-making ability, leading the team with 5.4 assists, and his team defense was solid, but the fact that Satoransky couldn’t hold off White has to be deemed a failure in what the Bulls expected.
On too many nights, Satoransky just looked like another NBA guy out there. Not a starter, and definitely not a game-changer at the point guard position.
As a reserve? Great. He’d be a rotation player on all 30 NBA teams, but the fact that the Bulls sold him as a starter showed just how weak they were at the lead guard position.
The one hope is that Satoransky’s shooting struggles were more about fatigue than his new norm with the Bulls.
The veteran was non-stop last offseason, going right from his time with the Wizards, straight to his national team with the Czech Republic for the FIBA World Cup. By the time that came to an end, welcome to Bulls training camp 2019-20.
When, and if, this current NBA season resumes, Satoransky already has a plan in place to finish this campaign off, and more importantly, how he wants to tackle this upcoming offseason.
“I’ve never had a role that big in a team of NBA for a whole season,’’ Satoransky said. “I have to be smart about it next summer and try to take some lessons from the season. Sometimes I’m forcing it too much. I’m not probably in that age where I can still let myself do this. I have to change my mentality.’’
The Situation: Satoransky signed a three-year, $30 million deal when the Bulls acquired him, so unless there’s a team interested in acquiring the guard, he’s a keeper. Not that it’s a bad contract by any means, especially for a 6-foot-7 versatile player who can run a second unit as well as defend ones, twos, and threes.
The Resolution: While the emergence of White has pushed Satoransky to the second unit, he’s actually better equipped to handle a reserve role. This was by no means a bad acquisition, but just not the acquisition the Bulls hoped it would be.
Bold Prediction: Satoransky will remain a valuable back-up guard over the final two years of his contract, and then move on to play elsewhere when the deal is done. No harm, no foul.
Source : Joe Cowley Link