How long will it take to build chemistry?

How long will it take to build chemistry?

Richard Hamilton finally returned from injury against the Rockets, playing with a rather bulky looking shoulder pad on his right arm. He didn't play particularly well. He'll need time to shake off the rust, but more importantly, the Bulls will need time to learn to play with Rip too.

The Chicago Bulls haven't had much health this year. They've had to juggle the roster around and have gone to the third string PG for significant minutes. The Bulls have mostly played 13 deep this season with even their 11-13 men playing fairly significant roles for the team.

As they approach the playoffs, roles are going to change as are the rotations on the court at any given time. Guys who were comfortable playing big minutes with each other will need to get comfortable playing with other guys. Guys who played a big role will go back to waving towels. Shots will shift from some players to others, and the offensive and defensive balance will be altered.

Obviously we all like Derrick Rose shooting more than John Lucas and C.J. Watson. We like him taking over rather than watching Luol Deng try to create off the dribble in a key situation. The offense will be vastly improved with Rose's return. There's no doubt that the Bulls desperately need him to win a title.

Hamilton is another story. He's not necessarily conclusively better than Brewer or Korver. He probably is, but he doesn't have the chemistry with his teammates that those guys have. He's a more versatile scorer and creator, but he's less efficient than both of the other guys and while he's a solid fundamental defender, he's no Ronnie Brewer on that side of the ball.

Assuming his body holds up, he'll take more shots per minute than the guys he's replacing at lower efficiency, but he'll also loosen up the defense with his movement and create more quality looks with his passing. Rip Hamilton can do a lot to help this team, but it won't be automatic. It will take some time for him to get used to playing and his teammates to get used to playing with him.

Unfortunately, the Bulls don't have much time, and the balance will be upset again when Rose comes back and the pecking order changes once more. Chicago still holds a tenuous grip on the #1 seed in the east, but how far they can go will depend how quickly they can build that automatic trust. How quickly can they reshuffle the deck and come up with four aces?

Hopefully Derrick can return soon, because when he does, it's still going to take some time for Chicago to get on the same page and play their best ball. A healthy Bulls team can win a title this year, but only if they're in peak form and on the same page. They still have a chance to get to that point, but the window is shrinking.


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  • Solid questions, Doug. But Korver and Brewer, despite the excellent chemistry on the floor with whoever else is out there, are not enough to win the title. We need Rip to get this rhythm back, develop chemistry, stay injury-free (!) and play like a decent SG starter. We saw some tantalizing glimpses of a real NBA SG early in the year with Rip, and we have to hope that he can provide a lasting vision throughout the playoffs.

    And, oh, yeah, Rose needs to be on the floor and ready to be dominant again.

    Meanwhile, Houston gave us a pounding, especially at the two positions where we have trouble defending: PG and PF. Boozer helped Scola look like LeBron, with 18 pts, 12 boards, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals! Scola's a good player, but he's not THAT good.

    And Gragic reminded Bulls fans what it's like to have a legitimate back-up PG. Kyle Lowry had been playing at almost a DRose level this year, but then went down to this bizarre bacterial infection, but Houston didn't skip a beat with Gragic playing like a more athletic Steve Nash so far.

    Imagine how much better the Bulls would be if they'd solidified the back-up PG position, trading away CJ and getting a Beno Udrih or Jerryd Bayless type of player ... ah well, worries for next year!

  • 1. Rip's shoulder brace looks heavier than him. I wonder how the Pistons won consistently with two twigs(Rip and Prince). That said, it was good to see him back. One thing which I am not sure of is Rip's passes(not just yesterday).. He goes for the home run pass a lot leading to turnovers. That's where the rhythm/chemistry is required for the guys to know when to jump harder for a pass. If you observe, every time Ronnie Brewer shoots...Taj is taking off to get the offensive rebound as he knows that ball almost has no chance of going in.
    2. Hopefully, CJ is hurt. Otherwise, he is taking the wrong time to get into a slump. He is playing himself out of a contract with a lot of 10 min backup PG available. Actually, JL3 looks more confident than him.
    I hope the Bulls can get Jason Kidd next year to teach some tricks to Rose and also facilitate a little better to keep them in rhythm of the game. The Bulls offense with CJ is take 20 sec and brick to expect Noah/Taj/Boozer to get the offensive rebound.
    3. Korver has to just shoot and he should not be allowed to dribble around to pass. That is going out of his comfort zone.
    4. Noah/Deng look like they need an all-star break from Thibs. Their focus is in and out of the game.

  • When Hamilton first played with the team he clicked in like an interchangeable part. Hopefully he can do the same again. Of more concern to me is can he shoot for a decent percentage say 43% or bettter. And stay injury free of course.

    Really it just all boils down to Derrick being healthy. If he's very near or at 100% or say 90% then the Bulls could be a threat. Derrick is saying he's ready for contact practice. The groin is not like a predictable injury such as a thumb or a fracture. He may feel better, then play, and reaggravate it and then everybody will be mad and blame the staff or Derrick. If it is meant to be it will be. Hopefully they are smart enough not to play D-Rose until he's pain free.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    yeah that's a good question.let's suppose Rip will be healthy all the playoffs, but can he shoot the ball well ? He almost didn't the whole season. He must have lost his shot. It would hurt the team during the postseason if he can't make shots although being healthy.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Rip did fit so well especially in the first pre-season game. It was before his shoulder injury. But, as deewaves says below...can he shoot well with this injury?
    And agree about Rose. It is not like even Rip's injury where you can put padding to reduce the impact of a hit. I also wonder if Rose will be very tentative with his cuts and scared of re-injuring. Will we ever see the explosive Rose this year?

  • Shut it down this year and get Deng and Rose healthy.

    Sign an all-star or potential all-star free agent shooting guard for next year in free agency.

    Try to move Boozer and maybe even Noah.

    The Bulls aren't beating the Heat or Thunder in 7 this year.

  • In reply to Sluggers:

    the bulls dont have any money for FA this year it is all locked up in rose, deng, boozer, and noah

  • Off topic: Milwaukee picking up Ellis and Ekpe Udoh for the chronically injured Bogut is an interesting move for them as they are now clicking offensively. That said Ellis, Jennings, and Udoh's numbers field goal percentage and efficiency wise are not good. Still, it will be interesting if they make the playoffs if they can scare somebody. I don't know if Skiles still has their ear though; defensively they're ranked 18th.

  • i like the Bucks move, getting ellis has transformed that anemic offense into something of a high tempo team. The Bulls simply cannot ignore the 1000 pound elephant in the room(shooting guard that can score) because I feel this is part of the reason Rose is hurt, over extending himself because our shooting guards suck. Pau Gasol is in decline and the Lakers are looking to rape teams as they usually do so forget that. I wouldn't get rid of Noah since he is a nice piece to have next to a scoring powerforward like Bosh or Aldridge, 4s can can score, have size and play some defense. For the Bulls I would try to do 2 things, get Hinrich for cheap or a better backup pg and try to get Eric Gordon who most likely doesn't want to sign with the Hornets longterm. Get rid of Watson,Brewer and Korver to make space for these moves. Stop being cheap and zap Boozer's contract at the end of next year when Mirotic? arrives or to resign Taj Gibson when his rookie deal expires.

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