How the Bulls Can Overcome Their Lack of 3-Point Shooting
The NBA is changing, and it seems like the most successful teams are the ones who can spread the floor and shoot the three. This seemed to be the intended plan for Fred Hoiberg when he joined the Chicago Bulls as head coach last season, get the ball up and down the court quicker, and shoot more from beyond the arc. The Bulls personnel seemed to have the potential to perform this way, with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler taking the ball in transition and Mike Dunleavy being the go-to-shooter from deep. Obviously, the offense didn’t work out quite as planned, and Chicago missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
This offseason looked like it would be the perfect time for the Bulls to retool their offense and find pieces that complemented the type of offense that Hoiberg wanted to employ. Gar Forman even came out and said that the team wanted to get younger when they traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks, so it came as a surprise when the Bulls signed veteran free agents Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. Paired with the new face of the team, Jimmy Butler, the three don’t pose a real threat from three, shooting a collective 30% in their careers. So the question now becomes, how do the Bulls overcome their potential lack of three-point shooting? With their current roster, there are a few things that Hoiberg can do to help Chicago succeed in today’s NBA.
1. Give Doug McDermott minutes
With the absence of Mike Dunleavy, the time has come to give Dougie McBuckets substantial minutes as a sixth man or as a starter when Wade or Butler may need rest. In his third season, McDermott is primed to make a leap as an elite shooter in the NBA. He certainly showed in college that he can knock down a variety of shots and not just serve as a spot-up shooter, which could prove useful if Fred Hoiberg wants to use different lineups throughout the course of a game.
2. Play small
Nothing would suit Hoiberg’s plans to get up and down the floor than a smaller lineup, which has been a trend in the NBA the last few years. Rondo could run the point, with Butler and Wade attacking the basket and creating shots for others. McDermott and Nikola Mirotic could play as the “bigs” and stretch the floor with their combined ability to shoot from deep.
3. Play in transition
Especially in a smaller lineup, the Bulls could thrive in the transition game. Rondo is one of the best passers in the NBA, and with him running the point he could create a lot of assists in transition. Both Butler and Wade can bring the ball up the court and create for themselves or others in transition, and with McDermott or the relatively mobile Mirotic filling the lanes and spotting up for three Chicago could create a lot of points on the run.