David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bulls have a problem with their backcourt: Derrick Rose is not in it. With the former MVP still attempting to come back from knee surgery, the Bulls offense is anemic.
In terms of points scored per possession, they are 25th in the NBA. Fortunately, they also allow the fourth-fewest points per possession (ESPN).
The current backcourt—Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli—gets its scoring by piecemeal. Hopefully, one of them gets hot on any given night.
But none of them have strong shooting percentages (Hinrich is the worst at 37.8 percent), and Robinson has the highest scoring average at 11.9 points per game.
The defensive focus has to be on the Bulls' stellar frontcourt of the resurgent Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.
The guards can be challenged to knock down their jumpers. Belinelli and Robinson can be very streaky, and Hinrich has lost his shot altogether.
This team needs Derrick Rose back if they want to make noise in the playoffs, but he didn't sound very encouraging when he spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today on Feb. 13:
I'm not coming back until I'm 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready.
He also talked to local reporters that day, saying: "I really don't know. I'm feeling good, but like I said, if it's where it's taking me a long time and I'm still not feeling right, I don't mind missing this year" (via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com).
If Rose is unable to return this season, the Bulls aren't a threat to make it out of the second round anyway.
But with or without him, the secret to destroying the Bulls lies in running on them. An up-tempo attack can get them out of their comfort zone and avoid their stifling half-court defense.
They struggle to score, and opponents should pack the paint against them.