The Chicago Bulls are a contending NBA team. They also have some potential glaring holes on their roster. That was apparent last season as injuries continued to knock key players out and force the Bulls to give minutes to players like *shudders* Matt Thomas.
Building a roster is not an exact science, and it is never truly finished. For example, as of right now, the Bulls have one two-way contract still available. Rookie Justin Lewis has one, and Malcolm Hill and Makur Maker seem to be in the conversation for the other. There could, though, be another name to add to the mix as the Atlanta Hawks recently waived guard Sharife Cooper.
Sharife Cooper Was A 2021 Bulls Draft Target
As the Chicago Bulls entered the 2021 NBA Draft, they had a second-round pick and a need at guard. We wrote about Cooper, fresh off of playing just 12 games as a freshman at Auburn, as an option for Chicago prior to the draft. Of course, Ayo Dosunmu fell out of the first round, and the Bulls wisely selected the University of Illinois product with the 38th overall pick.
Cooper went to the Hawks 10 picks later. The 6-foot-1 guard never really saw the floor. Then, in Summer League this year, Cooper struggled mightily again. That’s not what you want to see from a second-year player you are hoping will take a leap against lesser competition. Take a look at the stats.
As a freshman at Auburn, Cooper was electric when he was on the floor. He put up 20.2 PPG and 8.1 APG despite not shooting the ball well. However, Cooper is obviously a project who has always struggled as a shooter. Here’s what we wrote about Cooper before the 2021 draft:
“Cooper is 6’1″ and doesn’t really jump when he shoots…Beyond shooting, Cooper turned the ball over a lot. 4.2 turnovers per game won’t cut it, even when dishing out eight assists each night.”– Really Smart and Cool Guy — Rob Wegley
Cooper as a Prospect
Sharife Cooper is just 21 years old and had scouts talking about him as a potential late first-round pick in last year’s draft. At this point, Cooper is not going to step onto the court and help a team win meaningful games. Instead, he’s someone a team can hope to develop so he can meet his potential as a true lead guard down the road.
Now, when I think about a two-way deal, I think about a player who can step onto the court and contribute right now, albeit in minor ways. For example, Malcolm Hill—who held down a two-way spot with the Bulls last year—has a decent outside shot and can play tough on defense. Makur Maker, also a project, can still step onto the court and bother players in the post, grab boards, and score a little.
As such, Cooper coming to the Chicago Bulls on a two-way deal doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. However, getting him on the Windy City Bulls and seeing how he develops could be a solid move.
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