WARNING: stats ahead, eye-test zealots take shelter.
NBA.com writer John Schuhmann gave the Bulls his treatment as part of his stat-heavy season previews. As they’re reflective as opposed to predictive, a lot was on how the 2016-17 Bulls couldn’t shoot.
As we know at lot of those players are gone, but heading into this new era there are some revealing individual metrics.
Robin Lopez Is Really Good At The One Dimension He Plays On Defense
Lopez contested 1,307 shots last season, most in the league. The three guys who contested the most shots (Lopez, Rudy Gobert, and Lopez's brother Brook) were the same three guys who blocked eight shots in a game this season.
Lopez committed just 2.4 fouls per 36 minutes, the lowest rate among seven footers who played at least 1,000 minutes.
Robin Lopez is a perpetually underrated defender. I’ll fight you over that. Do people hold it against him that his game is still stuck in the 1990s? Nah, it’s probably because teams put him in high pick and rolls and he can’t defend guards in space.
But, as a stationary, big-body swatter under the rim few are better than the Bulls current crazy-haired center.
Can Kris Dunn Can Run an Offense?
Kris Dunn was one of three rookies (minimum 25 games played) who recorded assists on at least 30 percent of his possessions.
This is impressive, but look at the other side of it and you will see that Dunn committed a turnover on 20.8 percent of his possessions last season.
So far this preseason, Dunn has nine assists and five turnovers. So it’s very much an open question as to whether he can he run an offense.
There are many layers to “running an offense” and Dunn needs to improve in a variety of areas before he can earn the label of an offensive floor general. He needs to shore up his dribble in the pick-and-roll, make better decisions with the ball, and add another dimension to his game to make himself less predictable offensively.
Denzel Valentine is allergic to contact
Rajon Rondo would be so proud.
Denzel Valentine attempted 18 free throws last season, just six for every 100 shots from the field. That was the lowest free throw rate (FTA/FGA) among 33 rookies who attempted at least 200 total shots. He took 72 percent of his shots from 3-point range, the third highest rate among that same group of rookies.
During the preseason thus far, 11 of his 13 shot attempts have been behind the 3-point line, and he still hasn’t attempted a free throw. His shot selection has also been suspect at times (this video is from last season).
Denzel Valentine drills the stepback... off the side of the backboard pic.twitter.com/px2WPVon3o— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 9, 2017
In the 3-point happy offense that Hoiberg has implemented, Valentine will probably continue to carve out a niche role by just shooting threes. However, if the Bulls expect him to become anything more than just a niche role player, he needs to expand his offense.