It appears the Bulls have their backup point guard.
According to ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell: “Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Bulls have completed a sign and trade with the Warriors that would send [C.J.] Watson to the Bulls for a second-round pick. The organization still has to tie up some loose ends before officially announcing the deal, but if it goes down, Watson would fill one of the last remaining holes on the roster as the backup point guard.”
Last season, Watson averaged 10.3 PPG nd 2.8 APG in a backup role for the Warriors. Of course, it’s hard to determine exactly what the raw numbers mean, since Golden State is like the Lost island. Nothing that happens there makes any sense to the outside world.
In terms of skill sets, Watson is more shooter/scorer than playmaker. If you check out Watson’s 2009-10 game log, you’ll notice there were 33 games in which he scored in double figures…and exactly zero games in which he had 10 or more assists. His Per 36 Minute assist average was only 3.6. And those numbers were the product of a system that tends to pad a player’s stats.
Before last season, this is what ESPN’s John Hollinger had to say about Watson: “[Watson] didn’t create shots for others, landing 57th (out of 69) in assist ratio (21.8). As such, he’s much more of a catch-and-shoot, off-the-ball point guard than a pure playmaker — a triangle offense point guard, basically.”
Too bad the Bulls won’t be running the triangle.
Still, after the Magic matched Chicago’s offer sheet on J.J. Redick, the Bulls needed more outside shooting. Watson can provide that. In 2008-09, Watson drilled 40 percent of his three-pointers. In 2009-10, his three-point percentage dropped to 31. But clearly, he can hit them. Hopefully, he’ll get plenty of clean looks in Chicago.
Although he doesn’t get to the hoop a lot, Watson convertd 67.5 percent of his shots at the rim last season. He also hit 52.9 percent of his shots from 10-15 feet and 46 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet. It was the second straight season C.J. knocked down 46 percent of his long twos.
Watson will run Tom Thibodeaus’ offense, but don’t expect him to be Chris Paul off the bench. However, you probably can expect him to be the spark plug that Jannero Pargo wasn’t. Watson has certainly had some hot streaks during his short career. He finished the 2008-09 season with seven consecutive double-figure scoring games, including a 38-point night against the Jazz.
Last December, he had a streak of nine out of 10 games in double figures (18, 14, 12, 17, 10, 18, 9, 13, 10, 11). Then between February 10 and March 11, he went off for double figures in 12 out of 13 games (11, 20, 40, 22, 15, 20, 17, 20, 18, 20, 9, 12, 12).
Clearly, the kid can light it up. Can he do it consistently off he bench outside of Don Nelson’s run-and-gun-and-play-no-defense system? That remains to be seen. But Watson is a young player (26) that was saved from Warrior Hell and can hopefully be developed by some savvy coaching from Thibodeau.
Here are highlights from the 40-point bomb he dropped on the Sacramento Kings last season. I’m not sure what to make of this game, since most of his points seemed to come on fast breaks, isos and one-on-one dribble drives. It was a real Golden State Special. Watson didn’t score much out of a set offense, and he was definitely looking at the rim instead of searching for open teammates (although he did finish with six assists).