Projecting the Chicago Bulls offense this year is tricky. With the new signings of Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Bulls have put themselves in a tough spot. On the positive, you have two guards in Jimmy Butler and Wade that are great isolation players and can get into the lane. Both can also play off the ball and slash to the hoop with ease. They also have a solid post player in Robin Lopez, who can play off the pick and roll. Rajon Rondo averaged 11.7 assists last year. Those all look great.
But the negatives stand out as well, and have been commented on all offseason. Butler, Wade, and Rondo are all not quality three-point shooters with the latter having a career three-point shooting average of 28.9%.
Chris Pickard over at Nylon Calculus looked at how Rondo can help the Bulls in key areas offensively. Specifically when it comes to the Bulls actual shooters: Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. Pickard did a great job of explaining of how we view Rondo as a playmaker by explaining the likelihood of an assist by made shot.
With visual context, it’s clear that although Rondo is an assist machine, his impact doesn’t necessarily match up perfectly with McDermott and Mirotic, which is specifically noticeable in either corner three; two regions where McDermott and Mirotic shoot often. This is to say that McDermott and Mirotic makes from these regions will not have an increased likelihood of being assisted — corresponding to a more effective shot — while Rondo is on the court
So it make sense why the Bulls went out and got a guy who averages double-digit assists in Rondo (with Derrick Rose, the Bulls didn't get much ball movement), but the problem being he doesn't do it efficiently. The idea that he won't exactly help out the two guys on the Bulls who can actually shoot threes is concerning.
Amidst all of this gloom, there may be some hope for the Bulls in terms of fixing their spacing issues. In terms of his own three-point shooting, Rajon Rondo has improved these past couple of years. After shooting a dismal 24% during the 2012-13 season, Rondo's three-point average has risen all the way to 36.5% last year. Although we still have more to see from Rondo in terms of shooting, things are looking upward for him. This sentiment was also reiterated by The Athletic’s (and former BaB contributor) Will Gottlieb
If Rondo somehow becomes a consistent three-point shooter then it will add a much-needed dimension to the Chicago Bulls offense. But as of right now, there are a lot of questions surrounding this signing. How he will fit in the locker room and how he will mesh with Fred Hoiberg are going to be things to look for as well. This Rajon Rondo deal is a gamble by the Bulls and the numbers suggest that.