Three-point shots were the ultimate undoing of the Chicago Bulls in their latest loss to the Miami Heat, with a grand last-minute miss from Denzel Valentine sealing their fate in South Beach.
Down five with less than a minute remaining, the fourth-year forward put up a 30-foot shot that fell well short of the basket. It’s already being dubbed by many as the worst shot of the season.
Bulls commentators couldn’t believe Denzel Valentine took this shot 😬 pic.twitter.com/Sc7hrZSoR5
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) April 25, 2021
He followed it up with a foul on the other end, capping off another heartbreaking loss for Chicago.
The Bulls are now 25-35 on the season, tied with the Toronto Raptors for the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference.
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“It Was A Bad Shot”
To Denzel Valentine’s credit, he had hit three shots from behind the arc prior to his big miss. He was arguably both the making and undoing of the Bulls’ failed fourth-quarter comeback.
Valentine recognized the poor nature of his shot when speaking to reporters (via NBC Sports) after the game:
I had made three in a row before that. It was a bad shot. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have taken it. I would’ve come down and got something we wanted. But I just got kind of lost in the game and kind of wanted to hit the shot. We had 55 seconds left. If I had come down and got what we wanted, it would’ve cut it down to three or even two. It was definitely a bad shot. Just got to make sure next time it doesn’t happen again.
At the end of the day, it’s a lesson learned for the 27-year old wing:
I just had one goal. It’s good and bad sometimes. I wanted to make the play and hit the shot. I guess I was just feeling it. It was a bad shot. Hey, it is what it is. I’m a competitor. I’m going to be confident, play my game no matter what. I just know for next time.
But it may be his last learning experience in a Chicago uniform.
Valentine’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it’s unlikely as of now that the Bulls would have interest in bringing him back for 2021-2022.
The 14th overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft is averaging 6.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
A Fitting Moment
With Denzel Valentine’s tenure on the Chicago Bulls headed for its close, it seems fitting that he would have such a moment during a key stretch in their season.
At no point in his career thus far have things been stable for the former lottery pick. That’s in part thanks to injuries, that have derailed any slight progressions year after year.
Valentine’s played in just 223 of 371 possible games since being drafted in 2016.
In one 30-game stretch from 2017 to 2018, he averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while knocking down 41 percent of his 4.4 three-point attempts nightly.
Chicago went 12-18 in that span, in what will likely be viewed as the peak of Valentine’s career in Chicago: one 30-game stretch where the team almost went .500.
And the low points of his career, well, they’ve looked a lot like that shot against the Miami Heat. One inspired fan dedicated an entire thread on Twitter (@DMFrank_) to Valentine’s worst moments:
Denzel Valentine is the worst player in NBA history. A thread: pic.twitter.com/OZDc9rWvc5
— dustin. (@DMFrank_) April 25, 2021
The “worst player in NBA history” might be a stretch, but Denzel Valentine didn’t look like the G.O.A.T. on Saturday night.
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