If you ignore "getting a superstar" as a goal, the Bulls had two glaring holes that a balanced team would not have; interior scoring and three point shooting. Their first two signings reflected the team attempting to fill those holes by adding Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver. I'm quite happy with Boozer on the inside. In fact, a front court of Noah, Boozer, and Gibson is well rounded and quite potent on both ends of the floor.
However, does Kyle Korver really solve our three point shooting woes? As a team last season, the Bulls had 1066 three point attempts (29th) at
33% accuracy (28th). It's not hard to see why Derrick rose struggled
to find room to operate at times.
I believe I stole the idea from BrooklynBulls on realgm (though it was so long ago, I may misremember), but it's interesting to look at the players coming and going to see what type of three point shooting the Bulls have left:
Leaving the team in terms of shooting:
Kirk Hinrich 104/280 (37.1%)
Brad Miller 37/132 (28%)
John Salmons 73/192 (38%)
Jannero Pargo 38/138 (27.5%)
Flip Murray 28/90 (31.1%)
and some scrubs who combined for 9/45 (20%)
Total: 289/877 (33%)
Remaining on the team from last year:
Derrick Rose 16/60 (26.7%)
Luol Deng 32/83 (38.6%)
James Johnson 15/46 (32.6%)
Total: 63/189 (33.3%)
Coming to the team in terms of shooting:
Kyle Korver 59/110 (53.6%)
CJ Watson 45/145 (31%)
Keith Bogans 70/198 (35.7%)
Ronnie Brewer 8/31 (25.8%)
Total: 182/484 (37.6%)
Total of holdovers + arrivals; 245/673 (36.4%)
If everyone on the team performs comparably to last season, the Bulls will have 400 attempts less than last season and 347 less than the lowest in the NBA last season. So this brings up a couple questions:
1: Do the Bulls need three point shooting?
To answer the first question, we saw how much less space there was last year for Rose to drive in, and how that could cause the Bulls to really struggle in the half court offense. Carlos Boozer is also going to have a much harder time operating in the post if there isn't a guard on the floor to keep defenders honest.
If the Bulls can't knock down shots from outside, then teams will pack the paint, and the Bulls will need a whole ton of precise passing to find open shots. However, the one advantage the Bulls will have is that one extremely deadly shooter probably does more for spacing than multiple mediocre shooters, and the Bulls did add that one extremely deadly shooter. Teams really aren't defending 33-35% shooters at the hip anyway, so having larger, but inefficient volume doesn't really do anything for spacing.
As such, while Kyle Korver is on the floor, I think spacing will be improved from last year even if there isn't much more in the way of shooting available. Korver is a guy that teams can't leave at all, so a skillful placement of him in a play should open up far more space than we saw last year and allow for the room we need Derrick to operate.
Still, it's an imperfect solution, because Korver is unlikely to play more than 25 minutes a night and could easily end up playing 15-20. When he's not in the game, the Bulls really have no one at all who's even a mild thread based on last year's numbers.
2: Outside of Korver where will the shooting come from?
Things may not be quite as hopeless as they appear on the surface. Tom Thibodeau discussed Luol Deng taking more attempts from the three point line particularly out of the corner. I think we're going to see Luol Deng's three point attempts rise to at least two per game. I think his percentage may dip below 38% he had last year, but I expect him to still maintain a 35% clip on increased volume.
C.J. Watson also struggled somewhat from the three point line last season at 31%, but two seasons ago shot 40% on similar volume. Watson certainly has a chance to become more of a goto shooter with the Bulls as well, though the problem is that unless the Bulls go small with him and Rose playing together, he's unlikely to get enough playing time to make a big impact with his shooting.
Keith Bogans can also provide enough shooting to help keep teams honest when playing the two guard, especially if his role is to knock down the corner threes.
The real culprit to the Bulls problem is that most teams get shooting from their guards. While there were initial reports about Derrick Rose shooting the three better, we saw him struggle mightily with the international three, so it's hard to feel confident that he's going to provide a boost in terms of NBA three point shooting this season.
The Bulls will also play Ronnie Brewer considerable minutes, and he's most definitely not a three point shooter either.
In order to really have this problem solved, the Bulls need either Rose or Deng to step up their three point shooting in terms of volume while still hitting 35% or better. Luol Deng seems like the more likely candidate given he had the better year last year and is more likely to play in an off the ball role to get the open three point shots.
If both struggle the Bulls face the daunting task of finding efficient scoring in the half court against defenses that pack in the paint.