Chicago’s problem is that it can’t put the ball in the hole

The Bulls have had an up and down season to say the least. In the ‘new NBA’ and the world of advanced stats, the Bulls and the mainstream media appear to have forgotten that it’s all about putting the ball in the hole. The Dunk Yard investigates.

It’s all about heart apparently

After getting blown out by the Clippers on Sunday (taking their record to 26-20), Pau Gasol came out and said ‘we’re not disciplined‘ – a line which Nick Friedell of ESPN took further in his column:

The Bulls’ single biggest flaw, aside from the fact that players such as Doug McDermott, Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic have not proven to be as good as advertised this year after being given plenty of opportunities, is that this group just isn’t as mentally tough as it has been in years past. Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has discussed the issue several times during the season and was again frustrated with the lack of passionate play at times on Sunday.

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has discussed the issue several times during the season and was again frustrated with the lack of passionate play at times on Sunday. To blame the issues on Hoiberg, the first-year head coach, wouldn’t be fair, because the troubles the Bulls are having with inconsistencies are the same ones that started to creep up last season in Tom Thibodeau’s final year at the helm.

The Bulls’ problem is they don’t seem to have any clue how to fix the problems.

Derek Rose (cue insanely loud alarm bells going off) was also at a loss to explain things:

If I could put a finger on it, I swear I would. I watch a lot of basketball, and the only thing I can think of is just that effort and sticking with the game plan.

Let’s see if The Dunkyard can help.

For a heartless bunch, the Bulls’ defence is pretty good

Firstly, given that the Bulls are ranked 7th overall in defensive efficiency, it looks like their effort and ‘mental toughness’ are generally ok.

Yes, the Clippers hammered them for 69 points in the second half of Sunday’s game, but these things can happen when you play the Clippers. Overall, Chicago is playing very good defence and that doesn’t happen without discipline, heart and sticking to a game plan.

It’s the offense stinks

On the offensive side of the ledger, the Bulls are ranked 26th in offensive efficiency and 26th in true shooting percentage (51.7%) – which clearly shows that the Bulls have a serious brick laying problem. Given that Fred Hoiberg was brought in for the purpose of taking Chicago’s offense to the next level, he should be taking a chunk of the blame. Of course, he’s not the only one…

A quick fix

What if I told you that you couldn’t win anything serious with a starting point guard guard who:

  • shoots 41.4% from the field;
  • has a true shooting percentage of 46.5% (ranked 67th out of 74 point guards);
  • consumes 26% of your team’s possessions when on the court;
  • assists on 19.1% of his possessions (ranked 62nd among point guards)
  • has a PER of 12.2 (ranked 57th among point guards); and
  • delivers the above stink for 32 minutes a game while running around with a generally disinterested and sorry look on his face?

You would scream out ‘no shit Captain Obvious’.

So why does Chicago seem to think it can achieve anything serious with a ‘brick first’ point guard running the show like this?

While it’s terribly sad to say, the fact is that nothing even remotely close to ‘MVP Derek Rose’, let alone ‘competent starting point guard Derek Rose’ is ever coming back. Just ask Penny Hardaway. While it’s not all Rose’s fault, the sooner they move him aside – and get cranking with Jimmytime – the better the team will be.

The Bulls’ first order of business ought to be a trade for a competent point guard before the deadline.