Central Notes: Valentine, Kennard, Porter, McConnell

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic analyzes why Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine, largely hampered by injuries so far in his NBA career, has yet to earn a role in the rotation during the 2019/20 campaign, his fourth season in the league after being taken in the lottery (14th overall) during the 2016 NBA Draft.

Mayberry notes that while Valentine has put up some large numbers in the G League for the Windy City Bulls, his defensive struggles during the preseason are likely keeping him from earning a rotation spot under head coach Jim Boylen, who says a strong showing down in the G League won’t help Valentine earn playing time in the NBA.

With additional insight on Valentine, Eric Woodyard of ESPN notes that when asked why the 25-year-old is out the rotation, the Bulls’ head coach told him, “Because I said so,” while Valentine told ESPN that he “feel(s) like (he) should play.” As such, Valentine’s role and his attitude toward that role will likely remain an interesting storyline to keep an eye on moving forward.

There’s more news out of the Central Division tonight:

  • The bevy of injuries that the Pistons had to deal with to start this season has a silver lining, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, and it’s the way shooting guard Luke Kennard has responded to the team’s reliance on him. And while whether Kennard keeps starting remains to be seen, head coach Dwane Casey says he’s going to remain a focal point of the rotation either way. “He’s still going to get starter minutes… He brings value to the team. Luke’s a very valuable part of what we’re doing.”
  • The Bulls plan to keep Otto Porter Jr. on a minutes restriction whenever he returns from the soft-tissue injury in his left foot, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Scott Agness of The Athletic points to the positive development of the team’s bench, and backup point guard T.J. McConnell in particular, as a key reason for the Pacers‘ turnaround after a disappointing 0-3 start to the season. “I think T.J. is leading that (second unit), and they’ve had a good rhythm,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re starting to learn each other and build a chemistry. They’re coming out and playing hard.”
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4 thoughts on “Central Notes: Valentine, Kennard, Porter, McConnell

  1. Kennard for most improved.
    Pistons have a new big 3 with Griff Drumm and Kenn.

    Just need to get rid of Reggie Jackson and Khyrai Thomas and a second rounder for Goran Dragic. Dragic is a good leader and facilitator just what they need. Jackson suits that scoring sixth man role Dragic has been playing lately

    • Curtisrowe

      This will be the only time the words “Kennard” and ” “Big 3” will ever be mentioned together.

  2. x%sure

    McConnell can stop things working for the other team, coming off the bench… the perfect “tool” at PG. I could tell the impact on the Cavs, just in timing, in games against IND & PHL lately.

  3. Skip, Tampa

    Dragic for Jackson, 2021 1st unprotected then maybe and a very long shot maybe at that.
    Now Waiters for Galloway, 2nd unprotected could work. Waiters is actually a pretty good backup PG as well. Think Casey is the right coach to turn him around.

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