After making the most obnoxious title to a blog ever, I want to talk about why this is such a good idea. After all, each year a new idea comes up that has fan trimbling of excitement (Tyrus Thomas taking jumpshots, anyone?).
But this is legit cause for optimism. In the NBA, perception is often far away from reality. For example, Joakim Noah and Anderson Varejao does not play the same way, just because they have long fluffy hair. Another example, which is the entirely point of this thread, is Kyle Korver and the idea that he's just a spot-up shooter.
While Korver is an excellent spot-up shooter, he's always been able to dribble his way into a shot as well as move without the basketball. Surprinsingly, head coach Tom Thibodeau is the first coach to actively try running plays for Korver that requires these abilities. At age 29, Korver will have the most responsibility he's ever had offensively in his career. So far, it looks like the right call. Yes, averaging 16.3 points in just over 24 minutes per night in preseason means as much as me calling Jessica Alba in an attempt to talk her into marrying me. In other words, no one takes it seriously.
But what cannot be ignored here is how Thibodeau has used Korver. Not only has he made him run off back screens, curls and let him cut. He's also given him freedom to run a play which Richard Hamilton from Detroit found a lot of success with. Immediately after coming off a hard back screen, and arriving at the baseline of either side, Korver receives the ball and the post player makes a hard cut towards the basket. Hamilton made this play famous, since the defensive attention directed at him, frequently left Ben Wallace open for alley-oops. So not only is Korver now in scoring position, he's also in a position to be a playmaker. So far, not much has been made of that play, mostly because Carlos Boozer has been injured, and the gelling process is still active. But that's a play the Bulls can go to in the regular season. There are very few ways to defend it, all of which requires a double-team.
Arh, the double-team. The most beautiful word for an unselfish team that passes well. Korver will have the following options off that baseline cut:
- Hit the cutter
- Make an entry pass to Boozer for a set play
Realistically, this play can involve as many as three players. Deng can make a strong cut towards the basket using a V-cut. Boozer can fight for position, and Korver can decide between the three previously mentioned options. Having several ways to execute one play gives a team the element of surprise, and it often develops a fear of throwing out their big man defenders from the basket.
Assuming Luol Deng continues to shoot this well from three-point range, the play can also be used with him moving without the ball. The downside to this is the fact that he doesn't have the same quick release that Korver does, which decreases the time-frame of executing such a play.
As for the Ray Allen part, there is simply no denying that Allen's off-ball movement created him the vast majority of his three-point attempts. Since losing a fair chunk of his athletcism from his younger days, Allen can no longer be relied upon creating his own shot off the dribble on a consistent basis. Korver has never been great at putting the ball on the floor, but he can do it. He's practically what Ray Allen is now: A player who can be used to bait defenses, run off screens and burn teams who doesn't defend the three-point line well.
It's important to note that the new schemes are not going to bring the same scoring volume to Korver, as it does to Allen in Boston. Basketball is about opportunities, and by having a player who demands defensive attention due to his movement off the ball, it opens up driving lanes, attack positions and the ability to push the ball down low for close shots. If the Bulls can get away with Boozer getting a 5-foot shot, it'll always be prefered over a 17-footer from Korver.
What's good to know is that Korver can step in and add that scoring presence when necessary. Thibodeau can rely on Korver's quick release and shooting ability to carry the Bulls through stretches, where offense is hard to come by. With Derrick Rose lurking on the wings, and the athletic Joakim Noah always hustling his way to results, the Bulls should have the necessary tools to build the best offense they've had since the Michael Jordan era.