The Bulls will fight an uphill battle on offense all season long

This augments yesterday's thoughts about three point shooting, because as I considered it, I realized this team is really behind the eight ball to deliver a consistently good offensive performance. To understand why the Bulls will struggle to become a good offensive team first requires an understanding of what makes a good offensive team.   We're not talking about points per game.   Points per game is meaningless.   What's important is offensive efficiency and points per possession.

Last season, the league average was 108.3 points per 100 offensive possessions.   That's the equivalent of shooting 54.15% from the field.   As we well know, there are extremely few players who shoot that high a percentage from the field, and those that do usually take very few shots a game.

In fact, the league average was 46% from the field which is a far cry from that 54%.   How do teams overcome that gap?   Easy.   Three point shooting and getting to the foul line for three point plays and higher percentage two point plays.   As a team, you can also raise your FG% if you have a dominant player who can shoot a very high percentage for the team on a high volume of shots (most commonly seen from big men who play at the basket). 

The problem is the Bulls have none of these things.   They're likely to finish last in the NBA in three points made, and unlike last year, their low volume of threes is accompanied by a low percentage of makes as well. 

They don't have anyone who's drawing a ton of fouls at the basket.   We hoped Derrick Rose would become that guy, but so far he hasn't.

They don't have a dominant big man (that's sure been well documented over the years).

In order for the Bulls to become effective on offense they need to acquire one of the above, or hope to improve in those areas with the present roster.   Derrick Rose could still generate a ton of fouls, and he also could shoot a very high percentage from the floor despite not being the dominant low post guy.   That's their best bet.  Luol Deng and Brad Miller have at least some three point potential if given open looks from the corner which may not be out of their range.

The next thing they can do is develop an efficient fast break oriented offense and count on their defense and rebounding to create enough opportunities for easy points for the offense that they operate in the half court less frequently.

Otherwise, they'll rely on ball movement, spacing, and offensive execution in an attempt to shoot two point shots at a much higher percentage than the rest of the league.   Something which is complicated by the fact that opponents don't need to spread themselves out to defend the Bulls due to the lack of three point shooting.

Unfortunately, the odds of these things occurring with enough frequency for the Bulls to become a better than average offensive team (or even escape the bottom 10) don't look very high.   Thus, I predict the Bulls will struggle mightily all year on the offensive end of the court.

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  • What about inserting James Johnson into the rotation? He can knock down some treys.

  • I don't know about college but he looked decent in the preseason knocking it down. But I'm also thinking maybe that second unit thats lacking scoring could use him?

    Like when Vinny goes with Hinrich, Pargo, STARTER, Taj, Miller maybe thats a great time to use JJ instead of Deng or Salmons in with bench players? I don't know just an idea.

  • I read before the season that Rose worked on his 3pt shot in the offseason yet I have watched him pass up a few open looks already. He must not be comfortable with that shot still. Hinrich needs to pick up the slack on 3s for the team and Salmons needs to worry less about getting up 3s and let the shot come naturally. It's strange to me that Hinrich's 3 ball never really improved in the pros. He shot over 50% from 3 in college but sits at 38% from the pro line. If the Bulls could break out more in transition it would open up better 3pt opportunities for them on top of layups, dunks, FTA, etc.

  • Doug-

    You nailed it. Our only legitimate chance at winning games is by the following:

    "The next thing they can do is develop an efficient fast break oriented offense and count on their defense and rebounding to create enough opportunities for easy points for the offense that they operate in the half court less frequently."

    If we can do that consistently, and out work teams, we may have a shot. It worked against San Antonio...

  • Doug and Dmband,

    No team in the league gets all their points off of fastbreaks. I agree that is crucial to their offense, but they need to address their shooting woes first. Until they do that, they will continue to struggle.

  • I, like many, predicted a struggle for the Bulls this year, when I knew Gordon would be gone last year and we would be counting on Rose to take a huge step forward. Simply put, Doug is right, there aren't any high volume, high efficiency sorcerers on the team and unless Rose starts getting fouls or Deng starts knocking down 3s it doesn't look to hopeful.

    The problem is,I honestly think there is a better chance Noah begins to average 15-16 points at a good efficiency then Deng starts knocking down 3s, even side 3s. As a kind of side note the Bulls offensive efficiency will continue to be dragged down more than it should be if Pargo continues to play, his current EFF is 1.33. I know it's only been 3 games, and it's bound to go up, but really 1.33...thats 12 minutes of a game of pure garbage which we could be without.

  • Im certainly not saying we can score all of our points on fastbreaks. But the bottom line is, that is going to be our best bet for scoring points in bunches. As with any team, any sport, you have to play to the strenghts of your personnel (as Doug pointed out above). We've got young, fast, energetic team, with no real outside threat that still struggles in the low post. Thats not gonna cut it in a half court game.

    Guys, lets face it, I hate to be a downer, but its very important we manage expectations for this season.

  • This Year and Next Year

    Doug you're right. The Bulls will suffer this year because of mediocre 3 point shooting primarily. Let me name it and call it the Gordon Vacuum(as in, he's not here and there was no replacement at all).

    As many predicted during the slow times of August, this is just a transitional year to 2010 and free agency.

    There's the problem. Even if we get my favorite of Chris Bosh, he's not going to open up the floor with 3 point shooting. That's not what any good power forward does.

    If we get Dwyane Wade, we get a slasher who shoots worse from 3 point range than the streaky Hinrich. Kirk is a .378 lifetime 3 point shooter while Wade is .283. Also, if you look at Wade's stats he wasn't a 3 point shooter until last year where he tripled his 3 point attempts.

    So a power forward won't space the floor in 2010 and neither will Dwyane Wade.

    So this year the young Bulls will suffer because of the Gordon Vacuum. In 2010 the Bulls have hard choices.

    Neither a Chris Bosh nor a Dwyane Wade upgrade will resolve 3 point shooting problems next year. And I don't think LeBron is coming to Chicago anytime soon.

    I'm rambling today but you get the idea.

    Our Bulls will do our

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Actually, both Bosh and Wade would help our team 3-pt shooting a ton. The teams that shoot threes the best are the teams that have dominant offensive players, inside or out. They draw attention, dish it out, guys get wide open looks from the arc. It's Basketball 102...right after Pick-and-Roll.

    Most NBA players are decent enough shooting the 3, if they have room. That is the problem with our guys. You're not going to make many when you consistently have a hand in your face.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    Did I fail Basketball 102 :)

    Perhaps I did. I was too busy establishing position down low, blocking out people for rebounds.

    Hope you're right Dan and that I'm wrong about Bosh or Wade improving open 3 point looks and shooting.

    Our young Bulls will have a long season, but they will improve. I hope it's fun to watch.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Moreover, everyone needs to relax. It's been 3 games, including 2 tough ones on the road. Celtics are a nightmare matchup for us and we've never had anyone that can stop Wade or his playmaking for the Heat. The lack of shooting thus far has been frustrating, but it will not remain. It's not like they forgot how. Rose has played tentavively so far and that will change soon too, helping everyone. Once he kicks it up, things will start to go a bit better. They are a 45 win team, just not many of those 45 come in the opening 15 games.

    Once they beat the short-handed Bucks tonight, they'll be 2-2. Which is not bad for opening against SA, Bos, Mia, Mil.

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