After last night’s performance by the Chicago Bulls, it’s easy to point fingers. However, I’m here to graciously remind everyone, this isn’t any one person’s fault … it’s everyone’s fault! There! Do you feel better?
All jokes aside, we’re witnessing a collective failure here in the early season. And I thought it would be therapeutic to talk through some of the coaching and player problems on my mind:
- Luke Kornet was knocked out clean (metaphorically speaking this time) by Bobby Portis. After three-straight underwhelming defensive outings for Kornet, questions were raised about how soon we’d get a look at second-round draft pick Daniel Gafford. On NBC Sports Chicago, Will Perdue even asked Bulls Inside K.C. Johnson prior to the game:
Possibility we see Daniel Gafford as the backup big tonight?
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) October 28, 2019
- According to Johnson, Boylen said the Bulls targeted Luke Kornet for his defense when asked about the big man’s struggles (and Coby White was drafted for having the coolest hair), though Kornet’s defense has never been the appeal of his game in the NBA (literally just read his pre-draft scouting report). While the guy can block an occasional shot or two, he can’t guard along the perimeter. Kornet is averaging a 111 defensive rating through his first four games, so if he isn’t hitting three-pointers (which he isn’t (2-11)), then he shouldn’t be on the court. To most of us watching, Kornet hasn’t earned any extended playing time, but that’s exactly what we’ve seen over these last two games. He had a combined 16 minutes in the Bulls first two performances … he had roughly 16 a game these past two. Why?
- The three-guard rotation of Arcidiacono, Dunn, and White needs to go. On paper, it may look like one of the better backcourt trio options to throw on the court, but it isn’t getting the job done. When those three are out there, it most likely means the Bulls have one true scorer available, and he’s a rookie. Plus, statistically speaking, this has been one of the worst three-man combinations when it comes to getting to the free-throw line. According to Basketball Reference, when these players are on the court, the Bulls have a -12.8 in free throw attempts. If you’re playing with a lead/trying not to blow games, getting to the line can be a pretty big deal.
Last few possessions of that quarter were really ugly. Coby airballed his last shot, barely touched it before that. Wendell was just standing in the corner or dunker spot while Arch and Dunn tried to initiate.
— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) October 29, 2019
- In theory, things should be all right on the defensive end, but nothing is looking clean. Honestly, why not try Shaquille Harrison out at small forward? At least he’s bigger.
- Things that shouldn’t have happened: White receiving only 16 minutes and being out for the final 10:14 of the game. I don’t care if he’s a rookie, he’s been one of your primary scorers to start this season. You needed buckets? You need Coby White.
- How Jim Boylen didn’t yell at his team to feed Wendell Carter Jr. the ball will remain a mystery. As I pointed out in bullets, Carter Jr. came back into the game at the 4:19 mark and didn’t get one shot up despite being 7-9 from the field. Instead, as we saw against the Hornets, Boylen let Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen run the show. Yes, this is their team, but that can’t trump game plan or the hot hand.
- Kris Dunn was way too aggressive offensively in yesterday’s game, going 1-6 from the field. While five misses may not seem like all that much, they can hurt real bad in a game like this. Dunn tossed up contested shots and went out of his way to drive to the hoop. Let’s hope those statements about playing whatever role the team needs weren’t hallow.
- Markkanen is 5-27 from behind the arc to start the season. His first game with two three-pointers came last night. If the shot isn’t falling, he needs to find other ways to help out. Getting to the free-throw line is something he’s more than capable of doing, but has failed to take advantage of. Like last year, we’ve only seen brief moments of aggression and pounding the paint. He has to learn how to help the team in other ways.
- He said it, not me:
“I’m trying to focus on rebounding. I think the main thing is to be aggressive and attack. Not just settle for jump shots and try to get some rim. I watched the film, there’s a lot I can do better.” – Lauri Markkanen pic.twitter.com/aWV2FUyOTO
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 24, 2019
- The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry said it best himself in his Rapid Reaction to last night’s game: “Can’t blame a lack of ball movement solely on Bulls coach Jim Boylen. It’s clear he’s preaching it. Immediately after Porter made his first shot, Boylen could be heard on the television broadcast belting, “Keep sharing it. Keep sharing it. Keep sharing it. Good job.” The Bulls have tuned out almost everything related to their supposed offensive game plan when the game is on the line. LaVine takes over and settles for questionable shots. Remember this against Toronto?
This hurt my eyes. https://t.co/MLfPeqMVmA
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 27, 2019
- We saw a similar possession last night when LaVine dribbled at the top of the court and eventually popped a three. It’s not all LaVine’s fault, just watch as the rest of the players on the court just stand there. I’ll turn to someone else’s words again to help me out. Kendall Gill on the Bulls Talk Podcast said: “Real players without the coach telling them, know what to do, and that’s what I’m waiting to see.”