The Chicago Bulls have assigned Cameron Payne to their development league affiliate, the Windy City Bulls.
Payne is averaging 6 points, 1.7 assists and 1.4 turnovers in 15.3 minutes in nine games for the Bulls this season.
“I’ve played all right. I definitely like the offense. It’s all quick. It’s all pick-and-rolls, so it definitely complements my game. I’ve just got to get better at it.” -Payne addressing the media last week.
The Bulls traded for Payne hours before the trade deadline to be their future point guard. Both Gar Forman and John Paxson speak highly of the Murray State product. The Bulls were high on Payne coming out of the draft and feel this trade benefits them for the future.
Given his injury earlier this season and not playing a lot of minutes being the backup to behind Russell Westbrook while in Oklahoma City, Payne has not had a major role yet in the NBA. It was a given that Payne was not going to make a big impact right away for the Chicago Bulls. But over the course of these nine games, the arrow is not exactly pointing up either.
Fred Hoiberg has been put in a very difficult spot by management. The Bulls are fighting for a playoff spot while attempting to develop young players. It’s something that is extremely hard to do and is putting Hoiberg’s job at risk.
Payne is a shoot first point guard. In his few games in a Bulls uniform, Payne has shot the ball a lot, with very little consistency. Hoiberg has played Payne in garbage time and whole the game is close. He is not viable well in close games situations and that stems from lack of experience.
Will a few games in the D-league fix that problem? No. But getting starter like minutes for a few games and playing in crunch time should be beneficial and a confidence boost for the young guard.
While this move may come as a shock to some, remember that the Bulls are trying to win games to make the playoffs. There is no question that the main piece you traded for should be getting big time NBA minutes, but that is not the case in Chicago.
Payne is expected to appear in the Windy City Bulls’ two home games this week in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday and Thursday.