As everyone knows, this season has had its ups and downs for the Bulls, and with just one game remaining, coming tonight against Atlanta, it's time to go through some of the wackier numbers for Bulls players this season, which includes Joakim Noah's passing, Kirk Hinrich's weird effect on winning and losing, and Nikola Mirotic looking like... James Harden?
First off is Joakim Noah's assist numbers. At 4.7, Noah remains an elite passer from the center position, having collected 312 on the year. Not since Vlade Divac from 2002 to 2004, has a center compiled over 700 assists over a span of two seasons. Noah is at 743 dimes in his last 147 games, beating out Divac's 706 in 161 games. Overall, Noah has struggled this season. His scoring is is down across the board as he's at career-lows in points per 36 minutes (8.5), free throw percentages (60.3%), field goal percentage (44.5%) and TS% (482%) - So Noah has relied on rebounding and passing, as both areas have similar rates as last year.
Let's move on to Hinrich. During the 66 games he's played, Chicago's record has been 37-29, meaning his absence has resulted in a winning record of 12-3. He's supposedly out tonight against Atlanta, so that record changes to either 12-4 or 13-3. Either way, Hinrich's absence, at worst, have the Bulls winning at a 75% clip, and at best 81%, both huge numbers.
When comparing that to players who have missed a similar amount of games, such as Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah, Hinrich is the lone player whose absence allows for a winning percentage above 75% - Butler (58.8%), Dunleavy (47.3%), Gibson (60.0%), and Noah (71.4%) are obviously a lot better players, and a lower winning percentage should be expected, which is why Noah's number is somewhat worrying. However there is a reason for this comparison, seeing as Hinrich is within five minutes played a game of both Dunleavy and Gibson, and even ahead of Aaron Brooks. At 1,610 minutes, Hinrich is within just 12 of Nikola Mirotic despite having played 15 games less. This, naturally, is a kind of way of saying his minutes peers have wielded better results, and as such, Hinrich's 11 minutes a night during April, would be a significantly better approach to his minutes in the playoffs.
Finally, there is the Rookie Of the Year runner-up (well, likely), Nikola Mirotic. Before we can get to him, let's talk briefly about James Harden. The Rockets All-Star has canned 206 three-pointers and 707 free throws this season, which is worth 1,325 out of his 2,201 points, or better yet, 60.2% of his entire scoring offense. For comparison's sake, LeBron James is at 42.2% and Russell Westbrook at 42.4% - and then there's Mirotic who's at 62.8%. Basically, Mirotic is playing much the same way as James Harden, as he has a free throw attempt rate of 45.7% and a three-point attempt rate of 49.8% - His 153 two-point field goals, worth 306 points, takes up just 37.2% of his total scoring.
Mirotic's non-two-point rate is even higher than that of Stephen Curry's, who is in front of Harden at over 61% and is doing it primarily from downtown as opposed to free throws.
It's unknown if Mirotic's small sample size of 822 total points will have a similar breakdown in the future, but given he's played 81 games and is sitting at 1,622 minutes on the year, it's plausible to expect at least a similar shot distribution in the future. Volume, however, always changes percentage effectivity, so whether or not Mirotic can keep up, or even advance, his scoring efficiency, is the question mark.