Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Bulls Review: C.J. Watson
By Nick Friedell
Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future. Let's take a look at a player that appears to have filled the Bulls back up point guard position ...
|C.J. Watson gave the Bulls an offensive boost off the bench in his first season in Chicago.|
2010-11 salary: $3.1 million
Season recap: Watson struggled to adjust to Tom Thibodeau's system early in the season and was frustrated with his lack of playing time behind Derrick Rose. But he bounced back to become one of the leaders of the Bench Mob and provided needed offense off the bench. He was also very durable, playing in every regular season game. Thibodeau would have liked him to be more consistent, but Watson played well, for the most part, in his first season in Chicago.
Season highlight: With Rose sidelined because of a stiff neck, Watson came to the rescue in a Nov. 26 game against the Denver Nuggets. He scored 33 points and almost led the Bulls to a surprise road win. For one night, it looked as if Watson had turned back the clock to his former Golden State days. He got the shots that he wanted and was a focal point of the offense, a role he usually thrives in.
Season lowlight: From Nov. 27 (after Rose returned) to Dec. 15, Watson was just 8-for-35 from the field and struggled to find consistency on the offensive end. Again, a lot of this probably had to do with the minutes adjustment. After averaging almost 28 a year ago, Watson hovered around 12-13 a game all season.
Final grades: Regular season -- B- | Postseason: C
Notes: Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer noted during the year that it was Watson who came up with the "Bench Mob" moniker. As the season rolled along, Watson and the rest of the group settled into their roles nicely. Obviously, he would have liked to have played more, but Watson enjoyed the kind of cult following that the group established and played steadier once he got accustomed to his minutes.
I don't have any regrets. I'd rather win than lose any day ... I want to win. I don't want to lose. I want to get a chance to experience the playoffs and hopefully go further, deep into the playoffs. I never want to lose a game of basketball. It's all about winning.
-- C.J. Watson before playing against his former team, Golden State in February
What's next?: Watson has established himself as the backup point guard for the Bulls. Thibodeau gained more trust in him throughout the year, although Watson didn't shoot the ball in the postseason as well as he would have liked. For the Bulls, he fills the role that they need -- a player who can come in and spot Rose for a few minutes when he needs a breather. Watson should improve a little more next season and will continue to provide a solid boost off the bench.