Central Notes: Valentine, Pistons, Markkanen

After a disappointing first season in which he wasn’t heavily utilized as a playmaker, Denzel Valentine is eager to show the Bulls what he’s capable of. The famously versatile forward out of Michigan State told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that his role in 2016/17 was to mostly just be a spot-up shooter.

With so much turnover on the Bulls roster over the summer, Valentine could get his opportunity to flash the rest of his skills and potentially even earn a role as a starter with the young franchise, although head coach Fred Hoiberg has implied that his lineups will be determined through preseason.

The 23-year-old averaged 5.1 points per game last season but underwent surgery on his left ankle at the start of the summer. The second-year Bulls forward is still working his way back into shape.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Count Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy among those who believes that getting rid of the NBA Draft altogether would address the tanking issue, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports.
  • The Pistons have assigned assistant coach Aaron Gray the task of focusing on the skill development of big men, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. Rex Walters, formerly the head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, will hold a similar role with the backcourt.
  • The Bulls will be cautious with seventh-overall pick Lauri Markkanen‘s injured back. The club won’t rush the first-year big man back to the court, Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago writes.
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