Sean Kilpatrick has shown the Bulls he can score in bunches and he hopes that will be enough to secure a roster spot next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Kilpatrick is averaging 13 points per night in five games since signing with Chicago last week, including a 19-point fourth quarter in Tuesday’s win over the Hornets. His deal pays $6.2MM over three years, but nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.
“He fits well with what we try to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not afraid of any moment. He’s hitting big shots. He competes at the other end as well. He’s getting to the rim. He’s getting to the free-throw line. We’re spacing the floor and he’s driving and attacking.”
There’s more news from Chicago:
- Second-year guard Denzel Valentine underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and expects to recover quickly, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Valentine, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games, is focused on regaining the starting spot he lost when Zach LaVine was activated, telling reporters that he has earned a bigger role and should “definitely” be a starter heading into next season. ‘‘I think I can be a consistent player at this level,” he said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Be somebody they can rely on, somebody who defends, makes shots, makes plays for others, plays the game the right way and is a competitor. So I definitely think I’m a starter in this league.’’
- Kris Dunn is also focused on next year after a toe injury ended his season in mid-March, relays Sam Smith of NBA.com. Dunn played 52 games in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 assists, and believes he can become one of the league’s best at his position. “I’m trying to be an elite point guard,” he said. “I have the intangibles for it. I’ve got the work ethic. It’s all about putting it together and doing it the right way. I want to be an elite point guard, but a guard who wins games. That’s the big thing for me, try to make everyone better.”
- Bulls’ two-way player Antonio Blakeney has been named Rookie of the Year in the G League, tweets Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. The former LSU guard averaged 32.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games with Windy City. He has appeared in 19 games with Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per night.