Through the first two months of the season, the Bulls had one of the best offenses in the NBA. Through the Nuggets game on New Year's Day (when Mike Dunleavy got hurt), the Bulls had an offensive rating of 106.2, per NBA.com. That mark would be good for eighth-best in the league.
One of the reasons for the improved offensive output was the improvement in three-point shooting, despite Derrick Rose's struggles from deep and Doug McDermott being a non-factor. The Bulls ranked 26th in three-point makes per game and 24th in three-point percentage last season, and they were second-to-last in three-point makes per game in 2012-13. Even with Kyle Korver around the two years prior to that, they never ranked that highly in terms of makes per game.
We saw signs of that changing this year. Through Jan. 1, the Bulls were 14th in the league in three-point makes per game (7.6) and ninth in three-point percentage (36.7 percent). While not exceptional, certainly an improvement.
Since then, the numbers aren't pretty. The number of three-point makes per game has actually stayed the same, but the Bulls are shooting just 33.9 percent on threes, which is 16th in the league during that span.
Let's compare the individual numbers through Jan. 1 and after Jan. 1:
|3PM through Jan. 1||3PA through Jan. 1||3P% through Jan. 1||3PM after Jan. 1||3PA after Jan. 1||3P% after Jan. 1|
The consistently hot three-point shooting of Brooks was basically the only thing propping up the Bulls' outside shooting in January. Rose also showed some improvement and had a four-game stretch of 18-of-32 shooting from long range, but he has gone only 5-of-31 since and has seen his overall three-point shooting percentage plummet back under 30 percent.
The regression of Hinrich and Mirotic has been stark, and Snell's percentage with the uptick in playing time has also been dreadful. When your wings and stretch 4 are shooting sub-30 percent from three, you're going to have a bad time.
That kind of poor shooting leads to stuff like this:
"Spacing" when you have Kirk and Snell on the court at the same time: pic.twitter.com/XkzxCmqwR5— Trenton Jocz (@TrentonJocz) January 31, 2015
Opposing teams just don't give a crap about defending the likes of Hinrich and Snell on the perimeter, and that kills spacing. It leads to clogged driving lanes, which in turn hurts drives by Rose, Butler and Brooks. The problem is made even worse when Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are on the floor together to kill spacing.
It's odd to me that McDermott hasn't gotten a chance to show anything since he was activated a few weeks ago. I know he's still likely working his way back into shape and was largely awful before his knee surgery, but I don't see the harm in at least giving him a chance if the other guys are sucking it up.
The overall point here is that Dunleavy has been sorely missed, and we still have no idea when he'll return from the weirdest ankle injury of all-time. He's hoping to return against the Rockets on Wednesday, but he didn't practice today, so that's not a great sign. And oh joy, take a look at this:
Derrick working on pull-up threes with Andy Greer.— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) February 2, 2015
Sigh. Be well, Mike Dunleavy.