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?
Free throw attempts
Most of the key players
I'll take it.