Chicago Bulls' Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses
They're a great rebounding squad, but no so great when it to comes to shooting the ball.
Chicago has played solid basketball this season, currently holding the Eastern Conference’s sixth–best record (40-33).
That’s not a bad record at all, seeing that alpha dog Derrick Rose hasn’t played a single minute due to a torn ACL. Other key members of the Bulls have also missed time with injuries, such as Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich.
Let’s take a look at three of the Bulls’ main strengths as well as three of their weaknesses.
One thing the Bulls do well is dish the rock. You definitely can’t label them an unselfish bunch.
The Bulls are also tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for seventh in assists per turnover.
With Derrick Rose sidelined, Joakim Noah has played like a point guard, producing a career-high 4.1 assists per game.
It’s pretty cool to see a 6’11” guy dish the rock like that, right?
Weakness: Backup Center
The Bulls desperately need a center to back up Joakim Noah.
Chicago’s roster included a great reserve big man last season in Omer Asik, but management allowed him to leave as a free agent during the summer.
The Bulls went out and picked up Nazr Mohammed to replace Asik. Unfortunately, the Chicago native hasn’t quite worked out, contributing 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds a night.
Due to Mohammed’s ineffectiveness, Noah has been forced to play nearly 38 minutes per game, which is way too much.
6’9” Taj Gibson often receives time behind Noah. He, of course, is better suited at power forward, though.
Strength: Free-Throw Shooting
The Bulls have done an admirable job from the foul line this year, shooting 78 percent (eighth-best).
Five members of the team are shooting over 80 percent, with the oft-injured Richard Hamilton leading the way with 88 percent.
Daequan Cook has chipped in with 86 percent, while Marco Belinelli is shooting 85 percent.
Free-throw percentage may not be the sexiest stat in basketball. Yet, being able to get it done from the charity stripe gives you a chance to win ballgames.
Weakness: Three-Point Shooting
Chicago ranked fourth in three-point percentage last season. This season, though, has been a totally different story, as they rank 24th in the league from downtown.
The offseason loss of Kyle Korver has a lot to do with Chicago's poor outside shooting. Korver, who the Bulls traded in July, is now shooting lights out as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulls are shooting just 34 percent from long range and average a measly 5.1 three-pointers made per contest.
No doubt about it, the Bulls could surely use a Korver or Steve Novak in the lineup to stretch the floor.
The Bulls are holding opponents to only 92.5 points per game, which ranks third in the Association.
While Joakim Noah serves as a superb shot-blocker, the team also possesses a slew of perimeter defenders like Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler.
It’s quite possible that Noah will take home Defensive Player of the Year honors this year.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau preaches defense on a daily basis. And it’s clear that the Bulls have bought into his system for the third consecutive season.
As long as Thibs is in town, expect Chicago to be an elite defensive ballclub.
While the Bulls are a top-notch defensive team, they struggle mightily to put the ball in the basket. They rank dead last in scoring with 92.9 points per game.
The absence of Derrick Rose has obviously hurt. A healthy D-Rose is capable of dropping 30 points on a given night, possessing the ability to get to the rim with ease.
The former MVP averaged nearly 22 points last season and 25 during the 2010-11 campaign.
Guys like Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have stepped up in Rose’s place. However, their contributions aren’t good enough to make Chicago a dangerous scoring threat.