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For the Chicago Bulls offense, both style and execution were much improved this preseason

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now will it carry over to the real games?

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

If Jim Boylen was an animated television villain and if this was the end of a Scooby Doo episode would ripping away his mask reveal that Fred Hoiberg was actually the one coaching the Chicago Bulls during the preseason....?

....because in five preseason games, the Bulls looked like they were doing that pace-and-space stuff better than they ever did it under Hoiberg.

Okay, again this is preseason. Grain or two of salt. Teams are half trying. But....

  • The Bulls percentage of assisted buckets, pace, and 3-point attempt rate were all significantly better in their five preseason games than they were across the duration of the 2018-2019 regular season. They were top 10 in the NBA in all three categories during the preseason.
  • The Bulls attempted 197 3-point field goals in five games (39.4 per game). They attempted more than 39 3-point field goals in a game once last season.
  • There’s been a real focus at getting shots up in the paint and from behind the 3- point line.

This isn’t necessarily here to prove that midrange shots are bad. So much of determining if a shot was good or bad is breaking down the nuances of individual shots: was the shot open, was there another shot available that was better, what did the shot clock read when the shot was taken, etc. All I’m saying with these percentages is that the Bulls are trending towards what the rest of the league is doing which is refreshing given it seemed like they were stuck in a different era of basketball for much of last season.

Nonetheless, the Bulls offense trended in the right direction in the preseason. When the games start to matter, it’ll be hard to reciprocate those preseason numbers but a young, athletic Bulls roster with a renewed commitment to the long ball should keep the offense humming louder this season than it has in a long time.