In the wake of Kris Dunn‘s MCL injury, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago suggested that it was time for the Bulls to spin the point guard roulette wheel again. While he acknowledged that Cameron Payne, Shaquille Harrison, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Tyler Ulis were all options, Schanowski argued that Chicago’s best option at the point might be Zach LaVine, who is most effective with the ball in his hands.
In the Bulls’ first win of the season on Wednesday night, LaVine did handle the ball most in crunch time, but before the game reached that point, it was Payne who enjoyed a breakout performance. As Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago details, Payne followed up a poor first half by making seven 3-pointers in the second half, good for a career-best 21 points.
“It was a huge night for Cam, huge confidence booster,” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You know, Cam works as hard as anybody on this team. It’s great to see that hard work pay off and it’s a confidence booster, something he can build on.”
Payne has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency since being acquired by the Bulls at the 2017 trade deadline, but Wednesday’s showing was a step in the right direction, and he should get more opportunities in the coming weeks, with Dunn expected to be sidelined at least another month or so. Payne will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, so he’ll have a chance to improve his stock if he keeps playing well.
Here’s more from around the Central division:
- Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver isn’t concerned if his playing time is cut back or if his role is unpredictable from game to game, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I think we’re trying to figure a lot of things out across the board,” Korver said on Wednesday. “Trying to find lineups that work, trying to find a fun style of play. There’s a lot of new here and it hasn’t been that long yet. This is a great job for me, whether I’m playing or not, so I’m going to come every day and work hard.”
- Korver’s comments came prior to the Cavaliers‘ fourth straight loss on Wednesday night, a game that didn’t impress fellow veterans Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays. “We need everyone in this organization that gets paid by the Cleveland Cavaliers to make sure everyone is here to fight and no one has quit yet,” Thompson said after the Cavs were blown out at home by Brooklyn.
- When an NBA team hires a new head coach, it has a ripple effect on that club’s G League affiliate. In an interesting piece for MLive.com, Peter J. Wallner takes a closer look at how the Grand Rapids Drive, led by coach Ryan Krueger, will work to implement new Pistons coach Dwane Casey‘s philosophy at the NBAGL level this season after growing accustomed to Stan Van Gundy‘s system and style.