Sacrificing Defense for Offense? Giannis and Jordan Stand Alone, Rose, Tatum, and Other Bulls Bits

Social Navigation

Sacrificing Defense for Offense? Giannis and Jordan Stand Alone, Rose, Tatum, and Other Bulls Bits

Chicago Bulls

Not many people know this, but I used to play the violin and the bass. With fingers so smooth, I would dance across those necks like an insect on water. Meanwhile, my bow arm was so strong, the horse hairs couldn’t wait to escape. I wouldn’t exactly call my playing majestic, but it was certainly somewhere in the general vicinity of greatness (Michael: I’m only kind of sure I understand what’s going on right now).

Unfortunately, one day, the clouds darkened. While spreading some light mayo on a turkey and cheese sandwich, I sliced a fingertip. The cut was minimal in size, but mighty in impact. From that day on, I just couldn’t feel the fingerboard the same. Before you know it, I lost my scholarship to Juilliard, and I was out on the street. That is until Brett found me wandering around Wrigleyville, muttering thoughts to myself on the Chicago Bulls (fire Boylen, fire GarPax, I love Coby’s hair, etc.). 

(I’m lying, duh. I did play the violin and bass for many years, but I was aggressively mediocre. Nothing special at all. Anyway, this video is cool).

•   Defense wins championships, but offense wins championships. Wait. Eh. Actually, I like it. Over the last decade or so (in large part thanks to the Golden State Warriors kicking the 3-point era into high-gear) we’ve seen teams shift toward more of an offensive-minded approach. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, this is one of the many areas in which the Bulls have fallen behind. While they do have, what many would consider, a roster with several high-ceiling offensive players, they haven’t yet found a head coach or system that best utilizes that talent. With voluntary group workouts set to start in a couple of days, this should be the beginning of a new offensive focus.

•   Now, I want to make a couple of things clear. By no means does an offensive-minded approach mean the team should greatly sacrifice their effort on the defensive end of the court. After all, the best teams have a great balance of both. With that said, it seems as if the gap between a successful team’s offensive and defensive rating is growing a bit. For example, the Western Conference Finals bound Nuggets finished 5th in OFFRTG this regular season and 16th in DEFRTG. The Heat finished 7th in OFFRTG and 12th in DEFRTG. Last season, the Warriors made their way to the finals with a 1st-place OFFRTG and an 11th-place DEFRTG. In 2017-18, the runner-up Cavaliers finished the regular season 5th in offense and 29th in defense. Again, it’s not as if a good defense isn’t important, it’s just that it seems far more acceptable to have a great offense and average defense in today’s league.

•   Also, I want to address one point that may be an area of confusion – the Bulls were NOT an offensive-minded team last season. While we saw a much different offensive philosophy, executing on this end wasn’t Boylen’s priority. The former head coach was a defensive strategist, and that’s the role he worked in as an assistant in the past. He lacked any true understanding of what it takes to run even a semi-competent offense, and it’s likely one of the many reasons we saw this team vastly underachieve last season. The Bulls gameplan was “shoot 3’s and layups because the data says so,” and the creativity/knowledge needed to convert those looks at an efficient rate wasn’t there. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley both come to the Bulls from organizations where offense has been a strongly emphasized point of growth over the last several seasons. We should expect that to now be the case for the Bulls.

•   Impressive.

•   The official announcement will come later today, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is more than deserving of this second-straight MVP award. The Greek Freak finished the season averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block per game. He also led the Bucks to the best regular-season record in the NBA (yes, remember, this is a regular-season award) for the second-straight season in a row. He is now only the third player in the history of the league to win MVP and DPOY in the season, joining Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

•   He and Jordan are also the only two players to win a DPOY and multiple MVPs.


•    The NBA never fails to provide us with fun storylines.

•   Derrick Rose would’ve won a ring.

•   Beautiful.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.