I've been arguing for awhile that the Bulls should start Ronnie Brewer over Keith Bogans, but this argument was really that I thought it was time to stop playing Bogans with the realization that the Bulls would not start Korver.
However, in preseason, I said the Bulls needed to start Korver and almost a quarter through the season, I feel stronger than ever that it's the right move.
Why do the Bulls want to bring Korver off the bench?
Look, Tom Thibodeau is a really bright guy. This isn't some conspiracy, and I don't believe he's stubburn or a moron. He's shown a lot of flexibility and smarts as head coach, and I'm writing a blog, so there's a pretty good chance he's right.
The reason the Bulls want to bring Korver off the bench is they need offensive punch with the second unit, and they look for Kyle Korver to provide it. If Kyle Korver is in the starting lineup, then you lack a pure offensive player to come off the bench and provide a spark.
So why do I disagree with this?
Korver really isn't that type of player. The Bulls are trying to push him into a Ben Gordon like role, but Korver isn't Ben Gordon. He doesn't create his own shot, and the Bulls run him off of multiple double screens in order to try to get him open with the second unit. These plays frequently have no good second option and result in a very poor look on the (frequent) times that Korver isn't able to break open with enough space to make his shot.
On top of this, the plays we do get Korver the ball frequently result in shots he can hit, but extremely difficult shots. Shots where he's sprinting off a double screen, catching, turning, and shooting all in one motion while going from a sprint to a stop. Korver's an elite enough shooter that this shot is in his repertoire, but it's certainly the lowest percentage shot he's going to shoot.
Also, while running these double baseline screens for Korver with C.J. Watson handling the ball up top, the Bulls are not taking advantage of the space that Korver can provide. They aren't opening up the lane for someone to penetrate, because he's not playing with slashers.
In summary, Korver's forced to take the hardest kind of shots in his arsenal and the team isn't taking advantage of the space he provides.
Okay, but Bogans/Brewer are still going to play, why does it matter where Korver's minutes come from?
When Korver is on the floor with Derrick Rose, the Bulls aren't running nearly as many double screens for him. He's typically floating around the perimeter looking for a hole outside the three point line. When delivered the ball, he's typically shooting an open spot up three point shot.
This shot is a much easier, much more efficient look for Korver. Also, because the defense needs to always account for his presence and the defense needs to account for Boozer and Rose, the pressure put on the opposing defense is severe. They will frequently lose him, or they will open up a lot more room for Derrick to drive or Boozer to operate in the post.
It's a win/win when Korver/Rose play at the same time, because they complement each other. Rose gives Korver easier looks, and Korver gives Rose more room to drive. It's my opinion that all of Korver's minutes should be with Derrick Rose on the floor, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to start him.
Hold the phone though, what the hell happens to our offense when Rose/Korver go to the bench?
The beauty of the situation is that the Bulls are presently misusing C.J. Watson. Watson can create his own shot, but frequently he's just standing behind the three point line dribbling the ball waiting for Korver to come off a double screen.
Pushing Korver out of the minutes that Watson plays and asking Watson to run some simple pick and roll with Taj Gibson gives the Bulls a viable offensive set to use on the bench to utilize their two best offensive reserve players.
We saw what C.J. can do against Denver, that wasn't a fluke. It's the type of game he's capable of having when he's allowed to create for himself and become a high volume player. C.J. has the skillset to play the shot creator role off the bench much moreso than Kyle Korver, and starting Korver will push C.J. into the role he's best at and most comfortable with.
Alight, you sold me on the offensive end, but I'd want a frontal lobotomy after watching a Rose/Korver defensive unit
Korver's going to play 30 minutes no matter what. His defense is going to be what it is for those 30 minutes no matter what. The Bulls have already acknowledge that they're going to live with those short comings, as they should, and they live with them in the critical moments of the fourth quarter.
The best way to minimize his defensive shortcomings is to get the most out of his offensive strengths, and that's by playing him with Rose where you improve Rose's game and Korver's game.
On top of that, while defense is important, perimeter defenders are highly overrated. Perimeter defense is created by having great interior help defenders which minimizes the responsibilities of your perimeter defenders. If your perimeter defenders know that they just need to honor a jump shot and force someone to the baseline, they can cover a much more athletic player fairly easily.
Korver's played solid positional defense and generally hasn't had an issue playing in that role. Yes, there are times where he gets blown up on a play, but you don't see teams going isolation on Korver over and over again, because doing that on an player is unlikely to work in the long run. The help schemes team's employ are too sophisticated.
I know it's not going to happen, and I know Tom Thibodeau is a bright guy, so he's certainly got his reasons, but starting Korver is the right thing to do.