Derrick Rose continues to improve, Pau Gasol continues to impress, Dunleavy or McDermott will add the shooting Chicago needs to space the floor. What will determine if the Bulls are simply good or great on offense will be what they get from the other two guys.
Teams will double Rose. They'll double Gasol. They'll stay with the shooter. That means there's going to be a ton of space for whomever is left on the floor to work with. Those two guys will be Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler.
The goal of any defense is to make the weak link beat you. Those are the Bulls weaker links.
Joakim make a big impact on offense last season
We know he's not a dynamic scorer, but last season Tom Thibodeau proved you can run an offense through Noah effectively with his array of other tools.
He continues to improve at hitting that wide open mid range shot when teams dare him to shoot it which means he can't be left entirely open on the perimeter.
He has enough athleticism and ball handling skills to make a drive to the basket against a recovering big man and is one of the best big men passers in the NBA for when teams lose someone on a rotation/recovery towards him when he's fed the ball.
In short, we saw last year that when teams didn't respect Noah, he could make the offense go. Yes, teams could shut him down if they game plan around him, but no one will have that luxury against a healthy Bulls squad.
Was it the toe?
Jimmy Butler looks like a beast this preseason. His speed and activity are tremendous, and I wonder if that turf toe injury was bothering him all last year. Butler's another guy who probably needs a half step head start on a defense to have a big impact offensively.
However, as the 4th or 5th option, he should get that half step pretty routinely. When Butler gets some space he's a dynamic finisher. He draws contact at the rim regularly to get to the line and can finish inside.
When teams don't box him out carefully he's a monster on the offensive glass as well. After a 1/7 7 point performance in the preseason opener where he still got to the free throw line for eight attempts, Jimmy Butler has gone back to back with 18 point games on 7/9 and 6/8 shooting.
He's had 20 free throw attempts across the three games so far and his totals are now 14/24 from the field for 43 points. That's some pretty bad ass offensive production. He's yet to hit a three pointer yet, but he also hasn't taken many of them.
In short, he looks a lot more like 2012/13 Butler than 2013/14 Butler which is a great thing for Bulls fans. If Jimmy can simply knock down the corner three with some consistency and do what he's doing now then Chicago should become awfully difficult to stop.
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