One of the biggest problems with a compressed season is the lack of practice. The only time available is the morning shoot around between games, the games themselves, and the rare days off between games. However, with the total amount of travel, injuries, and frequency of games, the Bulls haven't been practicing on most off days.
The Bulls finally get a chance to practice with two consecutive off days, but they'll need to do it without Derrick Rose lending the practice somewhat less helpful.
The Bulls biggest problem is how to score on a defense that traps Derrick Rose and forces him to give up the ball. If everyone is healthy, I'd play a bunch of Watson, Brewer, Butler, Taj, Omer against Rose, Hamilton, Deng, Boozer, Noah. Force a bunch of traps on Rose with combinations of players and see what the first team offense can do.
However, given we don't have everyone healthy, subbing in John Lucas for Derrick Rose and taking two defenders out of the play but forcing him to give up the ball might simulate the same action. The key is that the other four offensive players on the court need to know how to beat the remaining three men.
The next thing I'd spend considerable time on is pick and roll execution. Particularly with both Noah and Boozer on the floor. The key will be to find a way that Noah's not clogging up the lane if Boozer slips the screen or if Rose drives, but makes himself available for a quality shot if his defender leaves him.
Despite last night, Noah and Boozer have struggled to coexist on the floor, and the Bulls will need to spend considerable time trying to force what might be square pegs into round holes. However, with 135 locked into the players and Boozer being completely untradeable, Thibodeau has little choice but to make the best of it.
The pair will certainly hurt each others rebound numbers, but there's no reason they shouldn't play well offensively next to each other if the Bulls find enough time to work on it. Combine Boozer's missed training camp, alternating injuries, shortened training camp this season with a lack of practice this year, and the pair have still spent relatively little time together on the floor.
I'm sure Thibodeau will spend plenty of time drilling defensive fundamentals, but to be quite honest, the defense looks outstanding so far. Granted, much of the great defense [defensive rating of 96 has only happened three times since the advent of the three point line] is also due to poor offense due to the lack of training camp [three teams are on that pace or better this year].
Still, the Bulls offensive rating [106.4] is two points less than last year's 108.3, but given that the league average is five points down from last year, the Bulls can hardly complain.
Practice will also open up what's been a rare chance for Jimmy Butler to get some meaningful learning time. Hopefully, some coaches are working him hard before and after games to get him some individual work, but the life of a rookie outside of the rotation doesn't offer much room to improve outside of practice.
Finally, the biggest factor going is the Bulls integrating Rip Hamilton into the offense and learning his tendencies and how to work with them. Rip should play a large role in defeating the Derrick Rose trap with his decisiveness and basketball IQ, but the team will need to learn to work with him.
Of course, Chicago will need to be careful with Rip, because if his sore groin flared up at all, they can't afford to have him re-aggravate it in practice and miss more game time. Particularly if Derrick Rose is out for any stretch of time.
What will us fans do without the Bulls for two days? I guess we'll have to pretend it's a normal season until the weekend.