I'll give Chuggo credit, they didn't not go with all-optimistic win predictions


the range of outcomes from the 4 were 46, 40, 38, 35 wins

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Oct 24, 2023Liked by your friendly BullsBlogger

I don't watch preseason basketball as a rule, but after looking at cumulative stats, I see that Chicago attempted fewer three pointers than a team called the New Zealand Breakers and they couldn't get to the free throw line at a better clip than any of their peers; they were dead last in FTA.

I've been inspired more by heartburn than this.

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To be fair to Billy, he doesn't really have the power to enforce his vision on the team. Zach threw a hissy fit when Billy benched him for not following the game plan. The FO didn't clearly back Billy and just abdicated any responsibility.

This is a superstar league. If the FO won't back the coach, then the coach has very little power. Spoelstra was in a similar, but more serious, situation with Lebron. Riley and the Miami FO backed Spoelstra 100% giving Spoelstra the power to truly implement his vision on the team. That clearly worked well for them

The FO backing Billy's actions probably wouldn't work out as well as Riley backing Spoelstra, but it would be clearly committing to a vision and actively pursuing it.... something we know AKME is loathe to do.

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they gave him a contract extension!

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That's not a commitment to Billy. It's a commitment to no change.

It falls very much into their "don't rock the boat and don't seriously commit to anything" brand of management.

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It's like Donovan cribbed my post from a few days ago.

Anyway, I often wonder about the actual truth on the ground regarding what Donovan wants and what he gets out of players.

I've gotten the following opinions from others:

* Donovan doesn't actually want Zach to take more 3s. He's just a "cowardly" idiot who says whatever pops into his mind to blame Zach Lavine for any problem. He also wants Zach to drive to the basket more, and if Zach shot more 3s, Donovan will criticize his shot selection and failure to get to the basket.

To me, that's a purely rhetorical position. I don't think the people who expressed it actually believe it, they just like emoting about Zach and Billy.

* Zach doesn't actually want to shoot more 3s. He sees DeMar drive and get lots of shots, so he sees the path to getting lots of shots be to drive a lot too. He doesn't care about winning and doesn't care that he's the best shooter on the team, because that's not what he wants his role to be.

I also don't think that opinion is supported by any evidence. If nothing else, Zach was getting more accolades and recognition when he was shooting a greater proportion of his shots from 3.

* My opinion is something like this. Last year, the other spot up options were fucking terrible. So if you spot up Zach, the opponent was just going to stand there and guard him. Zach's best 3 point shooting came playing with guys like Lonzo, Coby, and Lauri, who were threats in their own right. The best quote I've heard in years was Donovan pointing out that just by themselves, Zach/DeMarr/Vuc got them the 24th ranked offense.

That quote indicates that he understands these guys cannot, by themselves, generate an even above average offense. They simply aren't that good that you can plug in a couple of offensive zeros at the other two positions (Ayo, Pat, somewhat Caroso) and expect to get anywhere.

These other two guys have to create some gravity themselves. Even in 20-21, Coby did that offensively. His defense was trash, and he couldn't hold onto the ball against pressure though. We'll see if he can this year. Carter seems like a 6'1" 3 and D guy rather than a PG. If he's playing the "point"... it'll really be Zach or DeMar doing it... which isn't what we want.

And... this plays into the fact that the Bulls, while they generate assists, aren't the kind of pinpoint passers with great vision who hit guys on the move. Nor do they move without the ball particularly well.

So, the action we can take to shoot more is to put in more competent shooters. But even then, it's not gonna be perfect because we do't have a really high level distributor or off the ball movement.

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Even in 20-21, they were shooting less three pointers than under Boylen, and were about league average in attempts. After that, it collapsed.

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Well yeah, that's my point. In 20-21 they were league average because they typically played lineups lots of Coby/Zach/Lauri/Vuc lineups. Thad was not a shooter, but he was a non-zero offensive player.

If that team was trying to win and healthy, they'd play


4 guys who can shoot well and one guy who can do other stuff offensively.

The Bulls the last couple years have mostly been


So you've replaced Lauri, one of the best shooters in the league, with Caruso, who's a marginal shooter at best. And you've replaced Coby, a guy who creates some gravity, with Ayo, who teams feel free not to guard at all.

People focus on DeMar, but the what really changed is the Bulls lost a ton of shooting from the other spots, and made the conscious decision to go defense first and play a bunch of offensively deficient players.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

With the tax so close, it seems possible we'll see the departure of hometown favorite Cash Considerations from the roster. The simplest way to stay under the luxury tax line is to send off a more-than-minimum player and some cash to a dumping ground like Washington. Dalen Terry is easily the sore thumb here, I can see why they maybe don't want to do that and so the Bulls might actually just sell off a piece from the rotation like Drummond. Which seems totally in character — cheaping out now for some vague promise of future flexibility.

Also shout out to Summer League hero Javon Freeman-Liberty who stuck with the Raptors on a 2 way and seems like he has a path to breaking into the depth chart: https://twitter.com/Raptors/status/1716582433691197572

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I'd think a contender would just take Drummond to play him. I don't agree, but people seem to think he can still contribute. Perhaps the Griz now that Adams is out all year

Anyway I believe they don't have to do anything to stay under this year. Waiving Jones is proof enough.

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It is interesting to sort of strategize what injuries would do to the roster. They have an array of backcourt options, all of which are sort of defective. They have no big men after Drummond (Sanogo seems entirely too small for the type of game he has). Terry Taylor, as mentioned, is a freak on the glass but is probably shorter than Zach LaVine. (Torrey Craig, btw, is listed at the same height as Zach LaVine.)

The Bulls are in win-now mode but the roster isn't, it's shaped more like a team that just executed a huge trade for a star player, lacking the star player.

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Too bad the Griz already traded Tyus Jones away.

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The Bulls needed 3 point shooting and a legit PG. They kind of addressed the first point (TBD since they got some better shooters but apparently nobody is shooting 3s) and elevated Coby after he previously showed he wasn't the answer at PG. So, hard for me to have much optimism here. 41 wins is my final answer, Regis.

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One time for your mind one time

yeah whatever

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Let me try to inject 'some' positivity (I know not the point of this post, but I'll do my best anyway):

A few (not many) positives I saw from the pre-season that may (no guarantee and could be negatively counter-balanced by all the negatives you rightly pointed out in your piece above) mean improvement on last year:

1) Coby White seems to have taken another leap forward. And he looks more like a potential legit playmaker/distributor.

2) Very limited sample size but it seems like Caruso worked on his jumper this offseason, he looked much more comfortable shooting the three without hesitation (and with good results from what little I saw).

3) Slightly more quality depth with the signings of Carter and Craig.

I think that's about it though.

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Agree with all of these. As I said on the previous article, I think this team is marginally better than last year's team. The problem is last year's team was uncharacteristically healthy, which is unlikely to happen again. If it does, they probably end up with a few more wins this season than they had last season. If they are hurt more, they likely end up with a few less wins.

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