I was reading through the Friday Bullets on TrueHoop and noticed this link to nbaplaybook.com. It disects a sequence from last night's game against the Cavs that resulted in a tip by Jo on a Derrick drive. While this typically deserves a FanShot, I thought I'd use it to illustrate my thoughts on the Bullsoffense in these situations. These breakdowns by nba playbook are great and I've been meaning to disect/post my own breakdowns, but have been too lazy.
The illustration focuses on Derrick, Jo, and the Cavs defenders, but I'd like to point out my frustrations with how the other players on the Bulls are positioned on this play (courtesy of the 4th picture).
I have a few problems with the scenario above. First, count how many Cavs have collapsed on Derrick - I count 3 (including Parker who's assigned to Kirk on the perimeter). Now... if three defenders have turned their attention to Derrick and a fourth (Z) is trailing the play, you'd think the Bulls could generate an easy bucket out of this. However, how many Bulls players are within an easy pass of Derrick - I count none. You could make a case for Jo trailing the play, but since Derrick is ahead of him, he'd have to guess that Z hadn't recovered effectively from the initial screen. This should be a strange circumstance to everyone b/c take a look at the paint - there's no one in it, b/c the Cavs are protecting "it" from Derrick.
Now....Kirk does the right thing (which is to move), but goes in the wrong direction..IMO. When you watch the play, Kirk moves up the floor, but I think he should have faded to the corner. If he does this, Derrick will have a line of sight to him for a direct pass instead of having to twist for a pass behind him. On the other hand, one could argue that moving up will force Parker to chase him, but that's fine. I feel he should force Parker to follow him to the baseline corner. The corner three is statistically the best area for a 3pt shot and Kirk will be open (on a night when he shot well) if Parker chooses to help on Derrick instead of staying with Kirk.
Conversely, Lu and Taj represent my greatest frustrations with this alignment. Moon is effectively guarding both of them. The traffic around Derrick will make a cross court pass to Lu virtually impossible. So much so that Moon might have enough time to recover back to Lu in the event a pass is attempted. As for Taj, he has allowed Moon to bury himself in his lap, so he aint going anywhere.
For anyone who watched the game, there were a few times where Lu cut to the basket as penetrators got the attention of Cavs defenders and wound up with good looks at the basket. That's exactly what he should have done on this play. IMO...as the sea (painted area) parted, Lu should have been dashing to the paint where he'd be much closer and in perfect position to receive a pass from Derrick. Remember, Taj is already positioned at the basket, so Moon's first priority is to negate an easy dunk/layup attempt. Further, Lu is found of catching kick outs just inside the 3pt line. If Lu insists on taking 2s, why not take them much closer to the basket?