Our old pal Kevin Ferrigan, posting on the Bulls again:
Chicago’s struggles in the last seven games come down to one thing, really. They simply shot the ball from deep even worse than they have done on the year and their opponents have shot very well. During this 2–5 stretch, the Bulls have shot 24% on 129 three point shots, compared with 31.5% on the year, as a team. On the other hand, their opponents’ shot 39.6% on 154 threes, compared with those opponents shooting 35.8% from deep for the season.
That’s the sort of thing that tends to even out over the course of a long season. Chicago isn’t this bad at three point shooting, and their opponents aren’t thisgood from three. If both the Bulls and their opponents just shot to their season averages from deep, the Bulls would have seen a benefit of 15 net points over those 7 games. That’d be worth another expected win over those 7 games and the Bulls would have simply been 3–4, which is the roughly .500 team that they appeared to be preseason and their 11–10 record now shows.
As Ferrigan details further in that post, the Bulls started the season unreasonably proficient from three given the personnel. And now they’re all the way down to the worst in the league from distance.
The remaining question is whether they’ll be that bad going forward. Butler’s been 6/26 in these last seven games, for instance. We can likely expect Wade and Rondo to remain pretty bad, but at least on low volume. But the supposed help from the bench in that department has been crushing. On the season: Mirotic, Canaan, Valentine, Grant are all individually sub-30%!
Save us, Doug McDermott? Ferrigan acknowledges the likely-returning-soon sharpshooter will help. Will Gottlieb (another BaB contributor of yore) went into things deeper at The Athletic. Though McD personally doesn’t assist much, his presence (in a small sample size this season) has done wonders for the team’s ball movement and spacing. Having a real threat opens up the offense, and has really helped Jimmy Butler produce as well.