SI.com has posted its annual NBA preview articles on its website, and it has also put up its "Enemy Lines" feature -- where an opposing scout talks to Ian Thomsen and offers some analysis of the team in question.
The Bulls analysis is here.
On Kirk Hinrich:
A lot of times he just plays too fast. It's to his benefit to play fast, but he should play at operational speed -- a speed where he can still think and play. As a result, they do turn the ball over a lot as a team because Skiles tells them to push the ball and because Hinrich goes too fast at times.
He's the identity of their team. As a defender, he's tenacious. Some players don't respect him so much because they think he gets a lot of accolades as a white guy trying to guard, but he's an annoying defender. He beats you to spots a lot, he pressures the ball, he's longer than you think and he's more athletic than he's given credit for.
On Ben Gordon:
The best thing that can happen is when he goes to point guard, because while he's a good passer, he's not going to create for other people, and when he puts the ball on floor, it's for Ben Gordon.
They may feel the need to trade Gordon for a frontcourt scorer, but I don't think Hinrich is as good without him. Defensively their pairing works because they can put Gordon on the ball and Hinrich can guard the bigger shooter. Gordon is not a terrible defender, but he doesn't want to get in foul trouble .
On Luol Deng:
He's a hard guy to guard. It used to be he would only drive right, and that he was a spot-up shooter. But he's improved a different portion of his game every year. If he's succeeded in doing that again this summer, then he'll be as good as a lot of the top guys in the league.
For Deng to become a dominating scorer, the ball will have to get out of Gordon's and Hinrich's hands, and they'll have to space the floor as spot-up shooters; I doubt whether Gordon's mind-set is to be content as a swing guy or spot-up guy.
Despite the fact that none of the stuff is truly groundbreaking, I love reading scouts' analysis of opposing teams -- I'm making my way through all 30 teams...
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