So far this season, Hoiball has had its struggles, a mixture of being a new system and not having a roster built to execute said system. But in the midst of all the noise regarding Fred Hoiberg's offense, there has been a surprising, yet positive development in the early goings of the Chicago Bulls' season. Joakim Noah and Doug McDermott are creating a functional duo off the bench.
On the season, McDermott has made 62 field goals, and of those field goals 82.3% have been assisted, and of that 82.3%, Noah is responsible for 29.4%. In other words, of the 51 assisted field goals by teammates to McDermott this season, Noah is the leader in the clubhouse with 15. Where most of the action between these two comes from is out on the wing, initiated by Noah dribbling towards McDermott. From there, McDermott reads his defender, setting himself up for a backdoor cut, dribble handoff or dribble pitch.
The dribble action above, initiated by Noah seemingly happens each time down the court when he and McDermott are on the floor together. In the sequences presented above, each show an understanding between the two on how to create open looks. For instance, in the first clip, Noah perfectly puts his body in front of Minnesota's Tayshaun Prince, providing McDermott just enough time to come off the screen, take a rhythm dribble to convert on the three. The second clip shows McDermott do an excellent job of setting up his eventual three point field goal. He makes a hard cut towards the basket, which Indiana's Glen Robinson III bites on with the threat of a backdoor pass. With Robinson already behind the play, Noah creates even more separation with another great screen for McDermott.
In what was a broken play, Noah and McDermott are still able to convert on a give-and-go. As Noah comes up to set a screen for McDermott ends up passing the ball to him at the same time. Although there seems to have been a slight miscommunication on the play, Noah seals off McDermott's man, San Antonio's Manu Ginobili while simultaneously passing the ball back to McDermott. The play results in a floater by McDermott, a high efficiency shot for him this season.
Not all the scoring is being done by McDermott, as last week's contest against the Denver Nuggets showed a new development to the tandem. The play begins once again with dribble handoff action from Noah to McDermott. Noah essentially slips the screen, and McDermott doing a very good job of keeping his dribble alive, finds Noah rolling to the basket with perfect pocket pass.
And finally, here we have a backdoor play from the two. McDermott has barely crossed halfcourt when he frantically motions to Kirk Hinrich to reverse the ball to the trailing Noah. Realizing that he has Charlotte's Marvin Williams guarding him, McDermott effectively sets up the back door play with Noah delivering a precise bounce back for the reverse layup.
These are only a few of the instances that the Noah and McDermott two-man game has been effective. Nevertheless, when on the court together, the chemistry between the two palpable. As Hoiball still searches for it's footing, we can at least take some solace from the bench pairing of Noah and McDermott.
All stats via NBA.com/Stats