Offense Struggles, Defense Surprises, Round 2 With Boston, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Offense Struggles, Defense Surprises, Round 2 With Boston, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

I love me some pinstripes, but I’m surprised the team has yet to announce their new city edition jersey for the season.

Looking at the leaked photos, though, I guess that might be for the better.

  • The last thing I want to do is spend more time talking about Kyrie Irving. But the NBA has left me almost no choice. In the wake of the Brooklyn Nets officially suspending Irving on Thursday night, the guard took to Instagram to share a written apology. Irving stated that he is “deeply sorry” for his recent actions, which included promoting a film with intense antisemitic rhetoric via his Twitter.
  • As much as I’d love to believe that Irving fully understands the harm he caused the Jewish community, I can’t. He had numerous opportunities to apologize and reaffirm that he does not hold antisemitic beliefs. Instead, only after a suspension that is said to be without pay did Irving magically comprehend his errors and express “deep” remorse. How convenient, right?
  • Anyway, the Nets’ suspension stated that Irving will miss “no less” than five games and have to “satisfy a series of remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct” before rejoining the team. Exactly what that looks like is currently unclear, but I think it’s fair to question whether or not the unpredictable Irving will satisfy those requirements any time soon. Regardless, I don’t think this man will ever understand the damage he continues to cause with his platform.
  • The Bulls are making some progress …
  • I’m still pretty darn shocked at just how inefficient this offense has been to start the season. Buckets shouldn’t be hard to come by for a team with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic leading the way, yet the Bulls currently sit a lackluster 22nd in offensive rating. Even worse, their effective field goal percentage ranks just barely ahead of rebuilding teams like the Thunder, Pistons, and Rockets. The good news is that I think it’s only a matter of time before these three all-Star-caliber players push things back in the right direction (especially with LaVine playing more frequently), but there is no question the offense has been an early-season disappointment.
  • Meanwhile, the Bulls are actually creating quite the identity for themselves on the defensive end. The team currently ranks 6th in the NBA despite playing one of the tougher schedules to start the year. They’ve held opponents to just the 8th-fewest points in the paint per game and forced teams into the 2nd-most TOVs per game. The fact this side of the ball has been able to carry them without Lonzo Ball is one of the biggest surprises thus far.
  • To be clear, I should mention that this impressive defensive rating is largely thanks to the success of the team’s bench. While the starters have actually fared better than expected, the second unit has pummeled opposing benches on a nightly basis. For example, the three-man combo of Caruso, Dragic, and Drummond holds an 89.8 DEFRTG. That’s pretty darn good!
  • Javonte Green is also coming off that bench, and I’ll direct your attention to one of my latest posts to understand just how great he’s been:
  • The Chicago Bulls’ absurdly tough schedule continues! Ten days after beating the Celtics in a surprisingly 120-102 blowout, Chicago will look to do it again on the road and on national television. What helped the team pull off the emphatic win last time was a monstrous 60-45 victory on the glass, as well as a 46-34 advantage in the paint. Nikola Vucevic feasted with 18 points and 23 rebounds, and there shouldn’t be any reason he can’t dominate like that again tonight.
  • Chicago also held Boston to just 37.0 percent shooting from the field. I find it pretty darn hard to believe they can do that again, especially on the road, so it will be up to the star players to have an efficient night and the role player to hit their open 3s (Celtics outscored Bulls 54-30 behind the arc last game).
  • I love some good news!

Author: Elias Schuster

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