The Chicago Bulls' Offense Came Into Shape During the Preseason

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The Chicago Bulls’ Offense Came Into Shape During the Preseason

Chicago Bulls

Preseason stats are … well … preseason stats. Not only can they struggle to tell the full story due to key players clocking limited minutes, but they also evaporate the moment the regular season begins. Simply put, it’s hard to read much into the numbers when the games don’t count. But that doesn’t mean we can’t read at least a little, right?

The Chicago Bulls entered the preseason in search of a new offensive identity. While last season’s method worked out well (at times), the lackluster showing from Nikola Vucevic and the indefinite absence of Lonzo Ball forced the coaching staff to tweak their approach. The goal now is to run a much more free-flowing and random attack. This means more five-out sets, prioritizing off-ball movement, and putting relentless pressure on the paint. The Bulls did all of that over their four preseason games, and they did it pretty freakin’ well.

Chicago held the second-best offensive rating in the preseason, and they did it while operating with the fourth-highest PACE (number of possessions per 48 minutes). They averaged the 3rd-most points in the paint per game and the 2nd-most fastbreak points. To no surprise, their ability to generate these high-percentage shots also resulted in the best effective field goal percentage of the preseason (59.7).

Again, in the grand scheme of things, these numbers mean less than shoes to a snake. But it does give us an idea of how the Bulls want to play when the real games start next week. With a roster full of athletes and talented offensive-minded players, the plan is to enter every possession in attack mode. The Bulls want to get ahead of the defense in transition, cut hard to the rim in the halfcourt, and attack off the dribble when the opportunity presents itself. In other words, space the floor, find the open lane, and go.

Some highlights to wet your whistle …

Now, what this offensive game plan seemingly doesn’t include is a significant uptick in 3-point shots. After failing to add much shooting this offseason, it seems like the Bulls aren’t going to pretend they’re someone they’re not. Chicago shot just the 3rd-fewest 3-point attempts per game during the preseason (the team did at least knock them down at the 6th-highest rate). And while it makes sense for this version of the roster to not force the issue from long range, there is no question that the lack of reliable shooting remains an issue.

Still, for a team that became stagnant on the offensive end during the second half of last season, it looked like they successfully started to reinvent themselves in the right way during the preseason. Let’s hope we can say the same when the ball drops next week.

Author: Elias Schuster

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