Gar Forman brought Fred Hoiberg in with the promise that the 11th-best offense in the league last year would be revolutionized and a championship contender would be born. Forman's promises have been met with skepticism by many, but there are legitimate reasons to get very excited for what could potentially be one of the best offenses in the league next year. Here's what people are saying about what to expect.
On Drag Screens and Early Offense
Hoiberg has talked about his love of drag screens and how he plans to use them with the Bulls a lot. Drag screens are not completely foreign to Bulls teams - there are videos of previous Bulls coaches using them for Rose floating around the internet, but it sounds like Hoiberg is going to make these plays a staple of the Bulls' offense rather than something that gets thrown in from time to time.
Hoiberg's implementation of drag screens represents a fundamental difference in philosophy from Thibodeau's sets. Thibodeau, who was reportedly much more controlling of the Bulls' offense, would get his point guards to walk the ball up slowly and wait to set up a play. Thibodeau offenses were always near the bottom of the league in pace. Drag screens, on the other hand, require players to run up the court and get to their spots early, creating a lot of possessions and speeding up the game.
As a very basic primer, drag screens are part of secondary transition breaks. The main idea is that everyone is running down the court to get into the offense early before defenses are completely set. The 2 and 3 have already run to the corners on the initial transition, and a trailing big man sets a screen early in the shot clock to get the point guard running towards the rim.
Hoiberg's emphasis on drag screens and transition are all part of a commitment to getting more early looks in the clock and putting constant pressure on defenses before they have time get set.
You can watch how Hoiberg's mind works on these plays. Here he is explaining how he uses drag screens:
Quick vs. Fast Offense
Matt Moore of CBS Sports illustrated a distinction between quick and fast offenses and how Hoiberg can use this idea to help the Bulls:
There's a difference between playing fast and playing quick, and it's an important one. The 7 Seconds or Less Suns played fast, getting to the rim in transition constantly, always looking for fast-break opportunities. The old Don Nelson Warriors teams played fast, shot fast, scored a lot and lost a lot.
Playing quick, on the other hand, simply means getting into sets quickly. Instead of walking the ball up court, then dribbling off another ten seconds, it means getting into a set with a healthy amount of time (17 seconds or more) on the shot clock. You don't have to take the first shot that comes to you, but there is an emphasis on shooting earlier in the clock. If nothing is there, you have the time to patiently run through mutiple options. The Spurs are sneakily phenomenal at this.Tony Parker will zoom up the floor after a made basket and get the Spurs into a set early, which gives them more time to hunt down the right shot.
Last year, the Bulls were neither fast nor quick.
Moore goes on to point out that the Bulls struggled in getting shots late in the clock because it took them too much time to get into their initial sets. Hoiberg did not have the same problem at Iowa State:
Under Hoiberg, the Cyclones were well known as a team that ran quick action. The Bulls, by contrast, wound up with a shot with under four seconds on the shot clock 12 percent of the time last season, the 6th highest mark in the league. The Cyclones obviously had another 11 seconds on the clock, which skews this, but they wound up shooting with less than four seconds on the clock just 2 percent of the time, which was the third-lowest rate in Division 1.
Last year, the Bulls were forced to get a shot up way too often with the clock winding down. With Hoiberg emphasizing transition and secondary transition sets, we should see more quality looks and less poor desperation shots.
The main takeaway is that Hoiberg will change the Bulls' offense to be faster and more quick-hitting. Derrick Rose will be taking advantage of his speed, zooming up the court, and we'll see a lot of early action pick and roll from a trailing big man to get Rose moving towards the basket with plenty of time on the clock.
Opening the lane up for Rose
Over at Today's Fastbreak, Kelly Scaletta had a fantastic explanation on how high pick and rolls and drag screens will open up the floor for Rose next year.
Scaletta used this nice video example on how Hoiberg used high pick and roll in summer league:
There are two noteworthy things here. First, see how far out everyone was, including Portis when he set the pick. Second, see how no one was in the paint for either team. Vander Blue was easily able to get to the rim.
For a guy like Rose, who can burst through the seams quicker than you can say seams, this is an easy two points.
Whether it's through a drag screen or high pick and roll, Hoiberg will situate his players to maximize space and give Rose room to operate in the lane.
More Breakdown of Hoiberg's Playbook
For fans looking to get into the nitty gritty, much of Hoiberg's playbook from Iowa State is available online with explanations on how each play works.
Tyler Pleiss did a good job of breaking down some of Hoiberg's pet plays at ISU with video clips over at Bulls Zone.
Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown also made a video series of what Hoiberg's plays would look like under the Bulls' players.
Lastly, you can just hear from Hoiberg himself on what plays he likes from his coaching video series.