Friend of the blog Nate Duncan has a roundup on new coaches Billy Donovan, Scott Skiles, and our very own Fred Hoiberg.
As you'd expect, the grade is average, with the offense looking regressed but the defense back to as good as ever. There's some interesting details in there about just how it's getting done though.
Watching Chicago, it generally fails to execute with any precision. Even the very simple 1/3 PNR with Rose and Butler - a late-game staple dating back to the Thibodeau regime -usually has three guys just chilling off the ball with no movement and little spacing.
Other than Joakim Noah, Chicago's screen-setting also has been miserable. Mirotic rarely makes contact on his ball screens, while the next screen Rose sets this year will be his first. Only three percent of the Bulls' offensive possessions come via off-ball screens, per NBA.com. Too often, Chicago's perimeter players merely exchange rather than actually screening for one another on the secondary break, which was supposed to be a stable of the Hoiberg system. McDermott is really the only player who makes quick decisions and cuts without the ball.
Hoiberg and lead assistant Jim Boylen have crafted a solid unit on that end. Despite never forcing turnovers and struggling on the defensive boards, the Bulls rarely foul and allow opponents only 45.3 percent eFG shooting, which is second in the league.
The Bulls allow relatively few shots from three and at the rim, and contest such shots at a high rate. One-time sieves like Pau Gasol, Mirotic, and McDermott have improved their effort and execution.
The conclusion is what we've written here a lot. The team isn't playing as good as it's record, but there's potential from improvement that could make up that difference.