The Bulls lost their preseason opener to the Wizards last night, but while I know we're all despondent over the fact that there will be no preseason championship banner, the result obviously means absolutely nothing. That doesn't mean preseason isn't important, and there are some things we can learn. Ricky looked at a few of the key questions for the Bulls heading into this preseason, and I want to revisit those after this first contest.
Where did Rose shoot from?
Rose finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Here's his shooting chart:
So that's four shots in the paint and two at the rim, with both of those being makes. Rose really struggled to finish during the regular season last year and at the FIBA World Cup, so it was nice to see him with a couple strong finishes against Washington.
Out of his three outside shots, only one of them was what I would term a "bad" attempt. His first three, a make, was in rhythm off a nice dish from Jimmy Butler. The second three attempt was a more contested look with time left on the clock, which is one of those I'd rather Rose not take. The long two he missed was a forced shot at the end of the shot clock, so we can't really blame him for that.
In addition to his seven shots, Rose also took two free throws and made both of them. Overall, I can't really complain about Rose's offensive performance, and he also was strong on the defensive side of the ball.
Who were the first subs off the bench?
As suspected, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson were the first two off the bench. Hinrich came in for Rose, while Gibson came in for Joakim Noah. Whether that's just a preseason thing or a sign of things to come remains to be seen.
Doug McDermott followed shortly after, checking in for Mike Dunleavy. McDermott showed some nice things in his debut, displaying his lightning quick release on a couple nice jumpers. He ran a bunch of the pindowns the Bulls used to run for Kyle Korver and Rip Hamilton, and we saw the effect the threat of him shooting can have on a defense.
The rookie was quiet in the second half and still clearly has a lot to work on, but we saw a glimpse of his elite shooting ability and some quality effort on the defensive end. He's a bit of a spazz out there, although it was fun watching him not get torched by John Wall in isolation and at least doing a respectable enough job staying in front of the speedy point guard.
Nikola Mirotic and Aaron Brooks were the fourth and fifth off the bench. Brooks replaced Butler to give the Bulls a dual point-guard look, while Mirotic subbed in for Gasol. Brooks offered a bit of that instant offense in the mold of D.J. Augustin/Nate Robinson/John Lucas III, although he faded a bit as the game wore on.
Perhaps the most notable thing about the rotation was the absence of Tony Snell. The second-year man didn't play in the first half and didn't enter the game until garbage time in the fourth quarter. When in the game, he barely looked like an NBA player, with one made jumper mixed in a host of sloppy plays. This is not a good sign for Mr. Snell.
Similarly, Cameron Bairstow received a DNP as camp signee Solomon Jones played ahead of him down the stretch. Bairstow has guaranteed money in his deal and Jones doesn't, but the Bulls do have the roster space to potentially keep both.
Who closed the game in the frontcourt?
This question really didn't apply, as Thibs went with all reserves (Solomon Jones-deep reserves) to close out the game. Mirotic was the one bright spot in the fourth quarter, knocking down a string of threes and generally playing super aggressive.