The Bulls have been a whirlwind this year. They are a mediocre team with chemistry issues, washed-up stars, and terrible front office moves. We have seen upsides, like the current 4-2 run they are on following the all-star break. We have seen downsides like the trade of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott for only essentially Cameron Payne. However among all the chaos, one thing that strikes me as a positive is Cristiano Felicio.
“El Toro” as Stacey King calls him, is one among the line of solid backup centers the Bulls seem to find and develop throughout the past few years. Finding good, serviceable role players seems to be the one bright spot of the Gar/Pax office. Guys like Gibson, Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, Thabo Sefoloaha, Nate Robinson and Omer Asik just to name a few. In a more open role this season, Felicio has increased his minutes by 60%, points per game by 1.5 and rebounds by about 2.0. He plays extremely well as a traditional big center. Almost like a mini, poor man’s Shaq. Felicio if anything will be an excellent trade piece for the Bull’s come this years draft.
If the Bulls want to go all in on grabbing a great lottery player, they will put a deal together that includes a few guys like Mirotic and Felicio, combined with some reserve players like Anthony Morrow from the Gibson deal. To go really all in for a top 5 choice, they could even include one of their picks from this year. Who wouldn’t want to grab a great player like Lonzo Ball. I know that probably won’t happen but we can dream. Felicio plays with that Chicago mentality however, so the front office may keep him around until he throws in the towel or starts to downgrade. He is a really nice piece whether they move him or not.
Depending on if the Bulls start to win or lose more games, expect to see increased playing time for Felicio considering Gibson is gone and they may want to build his value up. I look forward to more big alley-oops from the Brazilian Bull.
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