Trade To Windy City May Revive Jarell Eddie
At this time last year Jarell Eddie was one month into his contract with the Washington Wizards, a team he would stay with for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.
Given his shooting prowess in the NBA D-League, Eddie burst onto the NBA radar. Throughout 2015 alone, he had signed a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks, followed by a deal with the Golden State Warriors.
Shooting 44.2% from three-point range as a rookie in the D-League and an astounding 52.5% from deep prior to his call-up last year, it seemed like only a matter of time before a shooting-needy team made the call for the sniper this year.
To this point in the season however, Eddie has not been able to find his stroke and it seems like as time goes on things are getting worse before they get better. Currently hitting at just a 33.6% clip on over five attempts per game, his main strength has been neutralized.
Through seven games thus far in January, Eddie has seen his playing time drop to 23.1 minutes per game — down from 29.5 minutes/game during the season’s first month — and his three-point field goal percentage is down to a measly 29.4%.
With this sudden inability to connect from three-point land, the decision for the Austin Spurs to ship him off to the Windy City Bulls was made much easier, as did the fact that they were receiving an NBA veteran in Hollis Thompson in return.
Eddie has been in quite a season-long funk, but the change of scenery could be just what the doctor ordered when reviewing the makeup of both his former team and his soon-to-be teammates.
While Eddie has spent the entirety of his D-League career in Austin, the nature of the D-League makes it so that both teammates and entire coaching staffs can change from year-to-year.
With that, this incarnation of the Spurs is much different from that of his rookie year with the team. Operating right in the middle of the pack in terms of pace during his rookie campaign (99.2, 10th out of 18 teams), the Spurs are now the fourth slowest offense in the entire league, a style of play that is not all that well suited to Eddie’s strengths.
In addition to the relatively slow-moving offense, teams are able to key in on him due to the lack of shooters throughout the roster. Of players who have appeared in more than 15 games for the team thus far, Eddie is one of just two players that is averaging more than 2.5 three-point attempts per game (Patricio Garino being the other).
Compare that to his rookie season where he had fellow marksmen in Bryce Cotton, who converted on 44.8% of his 5.9 attempts per game and Orlando Johnson, who hit on 46.1% of his 3.8 attempts, and opposing defenses weren’t able to hedge towards Eddie on the perimeter.
In last year’s lineup, Eddie had much of the same supporting cast. With Johnson coming back, the duo was joined by Ray McCallum (who hit 37.5% of his 4.4 attempts per game) and it helped him thrive once more.
In making the move to Windy City, Eddie should be walking into an environment that is much more conducive to the success of his style of game.
The team is only three places higher in terms of pace (16th out of 22), but the roster makeup is mirrors that of the 2014-2015 Spurs more clearly than that of this year’s Austin lineup.
With NBA veteran Will Bynum recently joining the team as a well, he’s provided the spark that the Bulls have been missing all season long. Hitting on 41.2% of his 3.4 attempts from three-point range, he should pair well with Eddie much like Cotton and McCallum of the past.
Joining him on the wing would ideally be JJ Avila, the 25-year old D-League rookie from Colorado State that is connecting on 36.5% of his three attempts from distance per game. With the lineup of Bynum-Eddie-Avila, teams would have to pick their poison from beyond the arc, with no option standing as a particularly ideal one.
Once regarded as one of the best shooters in the D-League, Jarell Eddie has certainly fallen off this season. While his numbers have dropped even into this month, the move to the Bulls could be what puts him back on track.