The Chicago Bulls (6-8) spent all offseason trumpeting continuity in the face of sweeping changes in the Eastern Conference. Roughly one month into the regular season and they might already be paying the price for their decision.
They are 11th in the East after their 126-103 loss to the visiting Denver Nuggets on November 13.
The Bulls were coming off three days of rest while Denver had played six games in the last 10 days. Yet it was the latter group that looked fresh offensively while the former appeared to be sleepwalking. Denver shot 60% from the floor and 48% from downtown compared to 49.4% overall and 29.3% from deep for the Bulls.
Bulls Missing Link
“The Lonzo [Ball] thing is the worrying part,” an Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney. “If they’re going to be a good team, he needs to be on the floor. But the biggest thing is, they’re not as bad as their record.”
That may be the case – the exec also said they were not as good as their record for most of last season — but their underlying numbers are underwhelming.
Bulls are now 24th in ORtg. 29th in 3PA per game. 22th in TO%. 20th in OREB%.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) November 14, 2022
The about those stats is the Bulls are built to be an offensive team. They were expected to be at least a little porous defensively with their lack of two-way players. But the trio of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic are supposed to keep this team afloat while they sorted through those anticipated defensive issues.
And, for the most part, two of the three are delivering in many ways.
LEAST efficient ISOs among qualifying players:
1. Jrue Holiday: 0.53 ppp
2. McCollum: 0.57
3. Randle: 0.58
4. Maxey: 0.59
5. Herro: 0.65
MOST efficient ISOs:
1. Zion: 1.28 ppp
2. Kyrie: 1.27
3. DeRozan: 1.25
4. Dame: 1.24
5. Brunson: 1.24
6. LaVine: 1.23
7. J. Grant: 1.21 pic.twitter.com/k37iJ0IJaC
— NBA University (@NBA_University) November 13, 2022
So, why do the Bulls have a minus-0.3 net rating this season, per Cleaning The Glass?
“Lonzo makes them run like an offensive engine. He gets the ball to shooters where they …read more