It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls offense has a tough time generating good looks. That’s usually what happens when you have two ball dominant players in Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade that score the best in the paint and surround them with bad shooters on the floor. In the 4th quarter when Butler begins to wear down due to top heavy minutes, possessions often turn into a forced jumper or running into the paint full of defenders. And without Butler and Wade on the floor, the Bulls offense looks really ugly. It’s something that has been harped on in the offseason and will continue to be talked about until the Bulls fix it. They need to space the floor.
The Bulls currently sit dead last in the NBA in terms of 3-point percentage, shooting 31.1% from deep. They also are last in terms of 3-point attempts, shooting an average of 19.5 shots from the three-point line and they are a whole two attempts lower than the 29th ranked Detroit Pistons. It makes the offense easy and predictable for defenses, all you have to simply do is pack the paint and force Chicago to beat you from the outside. Something that they can’t do.
There is a small fix to this problem. It’s not the end-all solution but it’s something that can make the Bulls offense a whole lot better and something that can take the pressure off Butler, who is being run into the ground at the moment. That is getting Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic more three-point shots. When both of them are hitting their shots, Chicago’s offense flows a lot better and is a more balanced threat. But they need to start taking more shots for this to happen.
Mirotic and McDermott currently sit 1st and 5th respectively on the Bulls roster when it comes to three-point attempts per game. Niko shoots nearly five 3PA’s per game while McDermott shoots nearly three per game. Even though Mirotic is shooting 30.6% from three, he will get better if he starts taking the right shots. The same goes for McDermott, who needs to also stop passing up open threes.
With Wade and Butler being ball dominant players, both Mirotic and McDermott have to take advantage of every opportunity they get. Especially McDermott, who is less of a playmaker than Mirotic is.
When Wade and Butler drive into the paint and force defenders to collapse in the paint, it opens up space for shooters on the outside. Like we saw against Charlotte when Wade drove into the lane, he brought three defenders into the paint with him. That included big man Frank Kaminsky, who was guarding Mirotic on the outside. With Kaminsky in the paint, it forced McDermott’s man to either stick with him or rotate over to Niko. He chose the latter and McDermott made Charlotte’s defense pay.
This also applies to Mirotic, who can space the floor when defenders collapse in the paint and leave him open.
Mirotic has been hunting his shot early. He's 3/3, all on jumpers, including this corner 3 pic.twitter.com/Qw6td0SMwG— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) December 20, 2016
But Niko can also use his ability to take the ball to the net as well as pull-up and hit jumpers over smaller defenders. The real problem is inconsistency and decision making. He’s talented offensively but makes some really poor choices with the ball. Like when he gets the ball, takes two dribbles, and then pulls up from three instead of analyzing the options he has around him.
Yes, the point is for him to take more threes but they have to be smart ones. He’s not Steph Curry where him pulling up from 40+ feet is justifiable.
For McDermott it’s the other way around. Sometimes in games, you can find McDermott passing up open three point attempts in an effort to move the ball around or take it to the hoop. He should stop doing that. His biggest threat as an offensive player is his shooting from the outside, not his ability to drive into the paint.
McDermott has to pull the trigger on these 3's. pic.twitter.com/clKC9vRtt1— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) December 17, 2016
Although it’s nice to see McDermott try to expand his offensive arsenal, the Bulls don't need another guy who can drive into the lane. They need shooting.
The Bulls are going through a rut as of late and they need answers offensively. They can’t expect themselves to keep shooting lights out from midrange like they did in their last win against Detroit. They are going to need to get with the times and start shooting more three-pointers. That all starts with getting Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic more three-point attempts.