Rookie Tony Snell finds his playing time fading

Written By BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter Posted: 05/08/2014, 03:54am

WASHINGTON — There’s a reason free agent Ronnie Brewer’s name has found its way onto the Bulls’ radar: It’s because rookie Tony Snell’s has faded.

After Luol Deng was traded in January, Snell averaged 19.2 minutes in the next 13 games. In February, he averaged 5.8 points and 18.5 minutes and earned some praise from coach Tom Thibodeau.

But in back-to-back games at the end of that month, Snell had some serious defensive lapses and entered March closer to Thibodeau’s doghouse than to his rotation. Since March 2, Snell has averaged 9.5 minutes.

‘‘He’s been up-and-down, like most rookies,’’ Thibodeau said Saturday. ‘‘We’re looking for him to be a little more consistent. He’s had some games in which he shot the ball well and some games where he hasn’t. Just concentrate on improvement.’’

Snell, who was selected 20th overall in the 2013 draft, downplayed the idea that he had hit the rookie wall that’s often talked about at this point of the season.

‘‘I still feel good,’’ Snell said. “I’ve been taking care of my body. . . . You hear from guys how you have to be ready for a full NBA season, but you have to experience it. You’ve got to go through this yourself because you don’t know how your body is going to feel. It doesn’t matter what guys tell you.’’

All that Jazz

It didn’t take forward Erik Murphy to find a new home after the Bulls waived him Thursday. He was claimed Saturday by the Utah Jazz.

Murphy, a second-round pick in the 2013 draft, appeared averaged 2.6 minutes in 24 games with the Bulls.

‘‘I thought he did a great job for us,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘I think people have recognized that in the league. I know I’ve gotten a number of calls about him. I think a guy with that skill set is going to have a very good future in this league. He can shoot. He’s a lot tougher than people realize. He’s smart. He’s driven. He plays with energy every day, and those type of guys always get better. I’m happy for him.’’

So was Snell.

‘‘We came in together, so I was glad to see he found a new team,’’ Snell said.

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