It wasn’t a typical venue for the Bulls, but they showed the same struggles that they have in the previous preseason games. Playing in Omaha, Nebraska against the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls struggled on both ends. It was the last one in preseason for Chicago, but Fred Hoiberg did play a lot of his main rotation guys. He also staggered Dwyane Wade’s minutes, something that would benefit Chicago and something Wade himself wants.
Here are three things to take away from the loss.
Backup point guard race may be settled
[note: it was revealed Friday afternoon that Spencer Dinwiddie was waived -yfbb]
In this final preseason game, Hoiberg may have revealed his plans for the backup to Rajon Rondo. Out of all the four candidates (MCW, Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant, and Spencer Dinwiddie), Carter-Williams was first off the bench in his Bulls debut and played the most minutes. And then Hoiberg had this to say post-game, via our own Tyler Pleiss who was credentialed at the game.
Something interesting from last night when asked about the backup PG situation, no mention of Dinwiddie from Hoiberg. Talked about how well Jerian had played and Canaan especially with Wade, yet you could say Dinwiddie outplayed both during preseason.
Canaan and Grant played a combined 12 minutes. Dinwiddie didn’t even play. At this point, the most likely to get cut is Dinwiddie, as despite his decent play in Summer League his contract is non-guaranteed. Canaan’s outside shooting ability will earn him a spot as a third string, and Grant is a candidate for D-League.
Chicago’s offensive woes
To say the Bulls didn’t shoot well is putting things lightly. They were very bad: 29 of 95, which calculates out to a paltry 30.5%. It was even worse from the three-point line (18.2%).
Taj Gibson was the only starter to shoot higher than 50% from the field, going 5 of 10. But other than him, it seemed nobody in Chicago could make a single basket. Especially the “3 Alphas”, who went a combined 9 of 37 from the field. There were times where Chicago couldn’t even hit the rim during an offensive possession.
Wade with the rare double-airball pic.twitter.com/wwIUvy7iS8— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) October 21, 2016
The spacing issues and three-point shooting ability has been a concern for quite some time.
You can't put Rondo weak-side for spacing reasons, but having him on the ball-side is worse. Butler has no room for a drive here. pic.twitter.com/9PJYA2IW9P— Mark Karantzoulis (@MKarantzoulis) October 21, 2016
Jimmy Butler scored a team-high 18 points and Doug McDermott pitched in 16 points. But Chicago is going to need more production from its other players if they want to be competitive. Clear weaknesses in the Bulls offense at the moment include shooting the ball and wondering where they are going to get their secondary scoring from. With Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine not playing, the bench struggled in scoring and the lack of depth was exposed there.
Kyle Korver shows up the Bulls defense
In a battle against Doug McDermott for the prize of the best Creighton player on the court, Kyle Korver won. The sharpshooter showed off his three-point talents, knocking down 4 of his 8 attempts and shot overall 60% from the field and added 6 assists. The Bulls new system allows a lot of three-pointers and it showed with Atlanta attempting 25 from deep. But with Korver being the only true three-point threat, the Hawks only shot 32%.
It's not a good sign for the Bulls to be giving up so many three-pointers. With the way the NBA is changing and with the three being a way more popular option for offenses, giving up a lot of looks from there is not a smart idea at all. Hopefully, the guards start closing out to shooters quicker and it probably happens in the regular season.