Despite the strong play of “3 Alphas”, particularly Dwyane Wade, this preseason, the offensive system that the Bulls will run given their personnel is still suspect. The lack of three point shooting and spacing it provides has been an obvious point all offseason.
So Instead, the Bulls should use Butler and Wade in post up situations.
Playing in the post won’t be a new thing for Dwyane Wade. The Miami Heat used Wade in the post 10.5% of the total plays that they ran for him and it has something that he has done for a while. According to NBA.com, Wade scored 0.85 points per possession (PPP) in post up situations last season. He shot 41% from the field in those situations and was in the 57th percentile among NBA players. With his finishing around the rim plus his ability to draw fouls, Wade can be a problem in the post. He can pump fake a defender into a shooting foul or use his fadeaway shot to create separation between him and his man. Like in the clip below, Wade uses his craftiness and quickness to his advantage.
Wade initially was going to receive the ball from Hassan Whiteside but couldn’t find an opening. So the ball was reversed to Josh McRoberts on the right side and he found Wade in the post. As soon as he caught the ball, Wade used a quick fake out move to the left and got his defender Sean Kilpatrick to jump to that side. Right when Kilpatrick moved, Wade spun the other way and had an easy left handed layup.
While the post was a mainstay in Wade’s offensive arsenal, the same can’t be said about Jimmy Butler. Although Butler scored 0.86 PPP in the post, he only was in post up situations 5.7% of the time. But his game is suited for it. Butler is great at finishing in the paint and has shown the ability to finish after contact. Last season, 30% of Butlers total shots came at the rim. With Butler spending a lot of time near the basket, whether it’s via a drive to the basket or a baseline cut, he can develop a solid post game.
Chicago has experimented with Butler posting up in the past and this preseason. In the clip against the Minnesota Timberwolves last year (shoutout to our own Tyler Pleiss for the video), Butler was able to beat Andrew Wiggins in the post for and one. He was able to back down Wiggins into the middle of the paint and force Ricky Rubio to come help. He then spun back to the right and finished off the glass even with Rubio fouling his right arm.
He has also shown that he can hit a fadeaway jumper from the block like Wade can. Butler got some separation from Jared Dudley and used it to get off a shot.
Against Indiana last week, the Bulls gave the ball to Butler in the post whenever he was matched up against Monta Ellis and Jeff Teague. Using the size to his advantage, Butler was able to get some good shots in the paint from those match ups. If Butler has the size advantage over an opposing defender, then there is no reason as to why the Bulls shouldn’t try him in the post.
Chicago could also use their latest acquisition, Michael Carter-Williams, as a potential candidate to play down low. At 6’6, MCW will have some size advantages against smaller point guards. Given his lack of shooting (25.5% career three-point percentage), Carter-Williams needs to take advantage of a size mismatch whenever possible. We saw him do that against Chicago whenever he was guarded against Aaron Brooks. As soon as Milwaukee set up their offense, they went right to him in the post. At his size and length, MCW could be another option for Chicago in the post. But he will have to learn how to be more effective in the post considering the Bucks didn’t use him there a whole lot.
MCW ranked in the 5th percentile in post-ups last year. He was a lot better two years ago, but he's not a finished work down there. https://t.co/Y8d3kDTU8Q— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) October 17, 2016
The Bulls will be looking for new creative ways to get good looks on offense. With the roster they are given, Fred Hoiberg will be forced to adjust his offensive system to fit the personnel. He can’t exactly shoot a lot of threes considering his three best players don’t shoot very well from deep. Using his guards in the post where they can use their size and quickness against defenders could be a good idea for Hoiberg