Before the Bulls first preseason game on Tuesday I wanted to concentrate on how the starting unit did against their Grizzlies counterparts. As in, before the game turned too much into preseason nonsense.
For the first 7 minutes of the game, the starters (with Jerryd Bayless in for an injured Mike Conley) did match up with one another, with the Grizz coming out on top 15-12.
This won't come off as well as I wish it could, I'm not even a homeless man's Sebastian Pruiti. But I do have some barely-legible notes I took down of their offensive possessions and will try to reconstruct it from the PbP and the ESPN shot chart. How's that for analysis!
- Turnover on a really weirdly-forced pass from Noah to Deng. Noah was trying to get it across the lane AND over Deng's defender's head.
- After 20 seconds, Hinrich has to hoist a 3 and it front-rim-bricks.
- Possession starts with a Boozer post-up that is lazy and goes nowhere. Noah gets the ball up top and makes a nice drive and a layup.
- Deng and Booz are on the right-side, not much space is created and Deng misses a fadeaway on the baseline.
- Hinrich pushes the ball off of a Grizzlies made basket and goes all the way to the rim to draw 2 FTs
- Bulls run again, this time off of a long miss, Deng gets 2 FTs
- Hamilton now takes off after a missed Griz jumper, makes a layup
- Bulls running again when Hinrich blocks Rudy Gay's reverse layup, but Boozer misses a 4-footer because he sucks (dunno guys, those were my notes)
- Bulls set up their standard play where Rip comes off of the baseline screens, he immediately dumps off to Noah who is blocked.
- I wrote "mishandled play", which takes 18 seconds off the clock, Deng bricks a 3. (Bulls would score on offensive rebound)
- Rip misses a PUJIT
- Bulls get the ball to Boozer, who turns/faces and misses badly on jumper
- Deng gets a rebound and runs himself into a missed PUJIT. (Stacey King gives the dreaded 'too many jumpers' declaration)
- Hamilton with a legitimately nice take of his own man while the Griz frontcourt is slow to recover, makes reverse layup.
- That play when the Bulls were running of a Grizzlies turnover and Noah was blocked by the rim on the dunk attempt and fell down.
Overall they weren't terrible, and the Grizzlies do have a fairly good defense. But when the Bulls had to actually slow down and go against a set opponent, things rarely went well. They of course did much better when they could run, a trait that was to even more of a degree in the 3rd quarter when the Bulls forced a ton of Grizzly turnovers.
Some of that is to be expected: for one, every basketball player is better in transition. Hinrich is actually a pretty good fast-break PG and showed it on Tuesday. He is aggressive (dare I say VDN had a point about 'thrust') and can make quality decisions. I don't think the starters are that apt be a great running team, though. Noah is tremendous for his position, but: Hinrich can't really attack the rim (and thus why he's not a great half-court PG), the same with Rip (though he can get out and run, it's often for a long-two), Deng/Boozer aren't really suited for it at all.
However it's all relative: even if they're not great at it, they pretty much need to run because their half-court offense may be much worse. That's concerning as a season-long strategy given the Bulls lack of depth and literally every starter having injury concerns, and thus they'll have to try to get some of their suggested 'inside-out' play in the offensive set going as well.
This post isn't to say we should just dismiss transition opportunities and offensive rebounds as inadmissible: that's important too. But I'd like to see a better performance in this other area. The Cavs are pretty horrendous defensively, so look for the first half-quarter tonight and see if the starters can get something better going.