Denzel Valentine doesn’t know how his rookie season should be judged exactly.
With the Bulls closing in on the halfway point of their regular-season schedule, the first-round pick [14th overall] has played in just 23 games, averaging 11 minutes per contest and putting up 2.7 points per game.
Blame bad ankles – specifically the left one that has been sprained twice since the start of training camp, but also blame a logjam of talent at the positions Valentine plays in both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade.
To Valentine’s credit, he’s very realistic about his role this season.
“It is what it is,’’ Valentine said. “I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to have a good [season]. Obviously I want to be in there playing every night, you know, 20 or 30 minutes like any player would, but that’s not the case that we needed this year. But I’m glad our team is going on a winning streak right now, glad to be a part of that, and if they need me I’ll be ready and confident.’’
Valentine was asked if it was difficult to go from the face of the Michigan State basketball program the last few seasons, to just a face sitting on the Bulls bench, and replied, “It is in essence, but I’m playing behind two All-Stars and great players. This is a great league, so I mean I can only control what I can control. My time is going to come.’’
That time didn’t come on Monday, as the 6-foot-6 guard/forward missed his third consecutive game after reinjuring his ankle last week against Charlotte.
The unfortunate part of the latest setback was Valentine was actually putting together one of his better showings, scoring a career-high nine points in that game, before the ankle gave way.
According to coach Fred Hoiberg, however, Valentine should be ready to go Tuesday in Washington.
“My mindset is just keep going every day and try and get better,’’ Valentine said. “I’m just going to continue to work and wait out my time.’’