Bulls offense runs amok on Memphis

The Chicago Bulls stomped the Memphis Grizzlies in preseason game number two, even hitting triple digits in the win. Of course it's worth noting Memphis fielded something closer to their D-League team for most of the game.

Okay, the ACL's not a problem, but the shooting?

Through two games Derrick Rose has attacked the lane, driven to the hole, taken the physical contact, and looked like the same Derrick Rose we saw last time he suited up for the Bulls.

Except that shot? The one that's supposedly much better? If anything he looks scared to shoot the jumper, his elevation on it looks off, and his accuracy with it has been abysmal on the few he's tried. Even his free throw stroke has been poor as he's hit just nine of 15 attempts.

It's a minor complaint and likely not a long term concern. While I'm still mostly just basking in the joy that he looks like a beast physically, Rose needs to at least hit jumpers / free throws at similar rates to his last few playing seasons with Chicago.

One great thing for Rose is he looked outstanding defensively. He fought over screens and did an excellent job overall. I think that might be as much a test of his ACL as anything he did on offense.

Taj Gibson has been the best Bull through two games

Gibson quietly regressed last season. With Omer Asik gone and no front court depth, most fans had Gibson pegged to play 35+ minutes a night. Instead Gibson just averaged 22 per might, saw his rebound rate dip, his offense dip a bit, and just felt less reliable than in the past.

He still brought great help defense, but he just didn't seem as effective as in the past overall and certainly wasn't the major minute player who took a step forward that Bulls fans were hoping for.

Could he become that player this season? Gibson's killing it in preseason so far. He's knocking down his jumper consistently, rebounding well, and has been the Bulls best player overall by a good margin.

Hopefully Taj can carry over the excellent start into the regular season.

Still no Noah

I'm not going to raise it as a concern yet, let Noah sit out all preseason if you need to, just get him healthy. As I noted on my podcast, groin injuries are particularly aggravating for their rate of recurrence after having one.

It's not what we'd like to see, but we need Noah to finish healthy a lot more than we need him to start healthy, particularly in preseason.

Jimmy's got the drive, but does he have the jumper?

Butler still looks way too hesitant on the perimeter to me. He's playing well, but the Bulls need him to shoot more jumpers and knock them down. I suppose the contra point would be if he can't knock them down then he's playing within himself and doing the best he can.

However, if he can't knock them down, the Bulls offense is going to have some long term struggles. Chicago had 43 free throw attempts last night which is amazing. However, they only shot nine three pointers.

In theory, as long as a team gets to the free throw line, they don't really need the outside shooting, however, I have serious doubts they can continue the free throw binge in the regular season and significant fears they won't improve the shooting much.

Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng, I'm looking at you two specifically here.

Kirk's been a baller

Watching Kirk Hinrich in preseason reminds me of watching an overly competitive dad in a father son game. It's like he only has one speed of pure hustle, and I'm sure that's one of the reasons coaching staffs have always loved him.

I think we all know what to expect from Kirk over the course of a season. Tons of hustle, some inconsistent shooting, an injury or two, and plenty of grittiness. So far Kirk looks really sharp, and hopefully he can keep it going and stay healthier with a more limited role this season.

Tony Snell is still finding his way

So far he looks pretty passive which was one of the red flags on him during draft day. He can bring some defense and has room to fill out his body, but his shooting looks incredibly uninspiring for a guy dubbed as one of the best shooters in the draft. I don't see that at all.

I'm not going to sweat the rookie for playing poorly in preseason but with what he's shown so far I'm sure not penciling him in to play any important minutes this season either.

Erik Murphy isn't much better

Murphy was picked in the "really unlikely to be an NBA caliber player" portion of the draft, so if he's not an NBA caliber player we shouldn't be surprised. He hasn't shown me anything that makes me think he is, and if his salary wasn't 400k less than the veteran rookie minimum, I'd suspect the Bulls would cut him and move forward with two veteran free agent big men instead.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they do that anyway. It's been assumed that Murphy would make the team, but I'm not 100% sold on that yet.

Dexter Pittman looked okay in very limited minutes

It was under five minutes, but Pittman did a solid job making his case for the 5th big in the short time he had. Looking, well, big. He was pretty active scored a couple of times, pulled down some boards. We'll need to see more of Pittman before coming to a conclusion on him, but he's off to a decent start in his campaign to make the roster.

Marquis Teague looks solid again in limited minutes again

Marquis Teague didn't play much, but he comported himself well in the minimal time he did play. He doesn't look quite as in sync with the offense as he could, but he's also not really playing with the best units out there either, and I can't say the offense has really looked in sync much yet at all anyway.

I'd still like to see Teague get some more burn with better players around him to see how he looks.

Bulls are 2-0 and have played well, what's to complain about?

Rose's knee
Free throw attempts
Most of the key players

Noah's out

I'll take it.


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  • I was going to say that Memphis really didn't put too much into this game but it's good that you brought it up Doug. For all of the morons that wanted Rose to come back last year should see now why he didn't. Even tho Rose looked good through the first two pre season games, he still needs a lot of work as far as getting his legs under him and his timing back. As i said earlier the Bulls scored a lot of points cause Memphis didn't seem too interested in the game. Butler now that he's a starter will have to grow into his new role so i look for him to be just fine. It waz nice to see Boozer have an ok game even tho Memphis wasn't into the game. Hopefully it will get him going. Hopefully Hinrich can stay healthy this season...(wishful thinking), along with Taj playing the best out of everyone, Dunleavy and the rest of the bench can have a very good yr. Oh...and im sure Deng will be his normal inconsistent self as far as scoring goes. On his non scoring nights he should concentrate on his rebouding and defense because he does do pretty well in those areas so he can raise his trade stock up more cause at this point he don't have much value in the trade market to be a two time all star which is very sad. And some fans wonder why he shouldn't be paid a lot of money from the Bulls. That's another story that's old news, hopefully he will have a good season tho. And i agree that Noah should sit out the entire pre season cause a groin injury is no joke. One slight wrong move on the court and he could make the injury worst, I personally know from past experience, not a good feeling at all. Im sure the next game against the Wizards in Rio will bea much more competitive game. Should be distracting after the game as well with all of the beautiful women walking around down there too.

  • Rose will eventually find his (shooting) rythme, so no worries there. He's too much of a competitor to be accepting of mediocre shooting. Otherwise, he looks really good out there. I had forgetten how fast he truly is...wow.

    I'm not too worried about Noah. Maybe I missed some of the technical reporting on this injury, but it sounds more like soreness in the groin than anything else. His lack of playing is probably more of a preventative measure.

    Hinrich, Dunleavy and GIbson look pretty solid out there. This may end up being the best bench group in the Thibs era (barring injuries of course). I'd be interested to see Hinrich and Teague on the court together. Teague, Hinrich, Dunleavy, GIbson and Muhammud. That;s a solid bench.

  • The outside shooting does concern me but I'm thinking it might be related to Thibodeau's new offense which has alot of player movement bunched up in the middle and not many spot shooters set to fire away. I think they will be ok but would like to see 20 attempts and some set shooters, especially at the corner 3.

    The Bulls have looked really good outside of the shooting part and slowly they are rounding up into midseason form. I would like to see more of Teague and Pittman. I think these two need more minutes to see how they look. Pittman does seem to have some low post presence about him and he's husky. He would be great to throw at a Dwight Howard type with the physical play. Nazr has done a good job but we shouldn't rely on an aged veteran. Snell and Murphy have not looked too good on offense but at least they hustle on defense and don't have the bonehead James Johnson rookie mistakes. They need to play with more aggressiveness and confidence. I think they have looked ok. Jimmy Butler has looked solid but he needs to shoot the ball or else the Bulls are back to square one, trying to find a shooting guard to space the floor for derrick and move Butler to small forward. It's still early and we'll see how things unfold but so far not bad at all, alot of the things the Bulls do well have been highlighted from the defense, rebounding, player movement/passing and getting to the line, something they haven't always been great at in the past. They need to marry these great abilities with better outside shooting to challenge the elite teams.

  • The Bulls might have only attempted 9 3-pointers, but how many 21 footers did they hoist up? I saw at least a couple from Deng, and Jimmy had 2 or 3. Did the Bulls re-hire Vinny as the offensive coordinator or what?

  • Doug, I thought your evaluation ok Eric Murphy was a bit harsh considering he was drafted so low. He played hard, he kept balls alive on the boards. Sure he has a ways to go especiallyon defense but most players in their second preseason game do. I think he has a chance to be Austin Croshere like one day or Scal.

  • 1--I will wait on the 3-pt. shooting analysis. As a player begins the pre-season and works to get into playing shape, I think the last thing that comes is the long shooting touch. Get in playing shape first.

    2--All these free-throw attempts we are getting..,sure like to see it when the real season starts.

    3--The other teams are taking more outside shots than us.., but we're winning and scoring 100+ points. hmm..., Think maybe we are building our Offense from the inside out.(Hard way)

    4--I choose to evaluate Snell and Murphy starting the 40 game mark. Wait to see their minutes(or lack of) and their accumulation of practice time. (I'll bet those two could write a book already, comparing THIBS to their College Coaches.0)

    5--I hope starting Naz will get him off to a much better start in the real season..,hope Noah is getting healthy.


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