It isn’t new news that free-agent center Joel Przybilla is on the Chicago Bulls’ radar. Since the lockout ended, rumors of Przybilla making his way to Chicago have been rumored and discussed. It appears we may be getting closer to having an answer.
Bulls.com reporter Sam Smith discussed the Przybilla rumors in his latest mailbag:
The Bulls have worked him basically since the lockout ended and I’ve heard they continue to talk to him. It seems more now a question of whether he wants to play, which he is not sure about. He has moved back to Wisconsin and is a family guy and one of those rare players who apparently can live without the game. He knows the Bulls want him.
What Smith’s comments indicate is that the Bulls are still very clearly in the race for Przybilla, but what I wonder is why? I’m not entirely positive Przybilla presents a significant upgrade over the Bulls current backup center Omer Asik.
Przybilla has been a great backup center in the league for a number of years, no doubt about that, but I believe that his time has passed.
Last year, he struggled with injuries while bouncing between the Portland Trail Blazers and Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats.
Przybilla ended the year averaging only 1.8 points and four rebounds per game.
Those that have followed Przybilla’s career know his scoring has never been one of his strong points. He averages four points per game for his career.
The 7’1″ Milwaukee-resident has always been about rebounding and defense including averaging 6.3 rebounds per game.
Always a prolific shot blocker as well, Przybilla is your prototypical backup center.
The point though isn’t really to give a career background on Przybilla but rather look at what he would present to the Chicago Bulls.
If the Bulls were to sign the free agent, he’d likely take minutes away from the 25-year-old Asik and at this moment there’s no evidence that Przybilla is an upgrade over Asik.
Asik stands at 3.3 points per game this season and stellar 5.6 rebounds per game.
While Asik has struggled as of late, the upside of Asik far outweighs any possible benefits of Przybilla.
Even with some of his struggles, Asik still presents a great backup center option for the Bulls. Last season, Asik was a member of the Bulls’ most efficient five-man unit alongside Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson (plus-77, 145.8 minutes).
All said, Przybilla doesn’t present a significant upgrade over Asik at the backup center role.
While it’d be nice to have another asset, taking minutes away from Asik at this point in his development would not be a wise move for the Chicago Bulls.