Despite the ever present quotes of, "Gotta play better" and "Still not there yet" etc, etc, the Bulls finished the season strong with an 18 - 2 record (or 21 - 3). I wanted to take a look at some of the individual and aggregate numbers behind those last 20 to gauge what kind of momentum the Bulls have going into the playoffs.
The most eye-popping number is clearly Derrick Rose's shooting efficiency in the last 20. This graph gives a great visual representation to it, but it was 53% True Shooting for the first 61 and and 59% for the last 20. Given that efficiency played such a large role in the DRose MVP debate, it should be noted loudly that he 'answered' that critique just as squarely as the free throw attempts critique earlier in the season.
Overall, there were few Bulls that didn't improve their TS%. Boozer dropped, but we all knew he had been struggling offensively, and Kurt Thomas dropped, but his volume is too low to say that he's been playing poorly. Chicago overall had a TS% of 53% for the first 62 and 56% to close out the season. Also note that Kyle Korver ended the season in a 3pt% swoon and Taj Gibson's final 20 games has been more than solid. Given the struggles of Noah and Asik, praise needs to be shouted from the roof tops for the greatest backup PF/C in the league.
The Bulls finished the season as the 11th ranked offense in the league at 108.3 ORtg, better than the Magic and Celtics and trailing only the Heat and Knicks in the Eastern Conference. It gets a little harder to argue that Derrick Rose was the leading scorer on a mediocre offense (as yfbb pointed out numerous times, stupid argument) when the Bulls ended as the third best offense in the East.
|Player||Before 3/7 (first 62)||After 3/7 (last 20)|
Another thing I like to look at is Total Rebound Percentage (don't know why, just like it).
Its clear that Omer and Noah both really fell off rebounding the ball, and you could see that when they played, but Carlos and Taj seem to have been fully healthy over the last 20 games and you can see it in the rebounding numbers, topped by a 22 rebound performance in the Knicks game for Carlos. Noah seems to be on the right track after struggling with his ankle injury, but Omer is a huge worry for me. The graph of his fall from rebounding dominance shows that his worse stretch of the year was the final games of the season.
Rebounding overall has been the dominant feature of the Bulls all season and its manifest in the rebounding differential numbers.
Rebounds Rebound Differential whole season ? 5.74 First 62? 5.4 last 20? 6.8
Knowing how consistent rebounding is and how it transfers effectively across situations, leagues, and matchups for me its the biggest reason for optimism of all.