After signing a deal with the Bulls this offseason, forward Mike Dunleavy had back surgery and has yet to play. Dunleavy recently had a setback after seeing a specialist, and will be out for another 4-6 weeks. This means that the Bulls have been without the swing man for the first three months of the season. He is now expected to be back in the lineup either this coming weekend or very soon thereafter. But now the question is; should he start when he does return?
There are obviously several approaches the Bulls could take in this situation. They could start Dunleavy when he returns or they could start Doug McDermott or Tony Snell.
At the age of 35, who knows how many seasons Dunleavy has left in him. He’s a great competitor, and brings a lot of intensity and savvy to the Bulls’ lineup. Given his age though, it would make a lot of sense to sit Dunleavy for the rest of the season; even after he’s cleared to play.
McDermott and Snell may not be putting up huge numbers this season, but they are very capable players. They’re also only in their second and third years, respectively. Both players have had their fair share of good games for the Bulls, and eventually one or the other will be the starting small forward for the team; there is no doubt about that. So why not let that position battle start this season?
Dunleavy is great, but there is no reason to risk his health for the rest of his career for half of a season; not when we have two very capable young small forwards waiting for their opportunity to shine.