October 27, 2016

✖︎ Post-Game Thoughts: Bulls Season Opener

The Bulls came out and executed a pretty good game plan in their season opener hosting the Boston Celtics. However, scheduling was on their side as the Celtics had their own season opener the night before.

Besides scheduling, there are two other things that went the Bulls way, that may not end of being reliable sources of offense for the rest of the season. First, the three point shooting from Wade and Butler. If they are actually able to keep it up (both shooting 4 of 6 from three) and be legitimate threats from deep, one of their biggest weaknesses is greatly reduced. Second, Gibson’s play on the offensive side. We already know Gibson is one of the best defensive Power Forward’s in the NBA, but if he can continue to play long minutes and execute his jumper in the open space consistently, the Bulls might actually have an option in the low post.

Even though it was only one game, we got a pretty good glimpse into how this team and offense are going to work together with the limited pieces that they have.

Rondo is going to be the floor general. Both Butler and Wade are going to have to fall into roles where they are playing off the ball more and they seemed to be okay with it through the first game. 1 for 9 from the field won’t cut it, but hopefully he will start to pick his spots a little more effectively and finish at the rim.

Butler is going to be the number one option throughout the course of the game but he needs to let the game come to him instead of chasing 1 on 1 matchups. He did a pretty good job at not forcing the issue and letting shots come his way within the much improved Hoiberg offensive scheme tonight. Hopefully that trend continues moving forward.

Wade is going to be Mr. 4th Quarter. He played a pretty good game overall, but his energy and intensity greatly amplifies in the last five minutes of the game, regardless of hitting that big three with a minute left. I think they will monitor Wade’s minutes heavily and make sure that the can be unleashed in the fourth quarter.

The last thing that was notable from the Bulls season opener was the small ball line up that Hoiberg used a few times, including the closing minutes of the game when it was still close. Gibson as the big with Butler, Wade, Rondo, and Michael Carter-Williams. I will be interested to see how and if this line-up is used against teams that aren’t as small as the Celtics.

Overall, it was a decent game from the Bulls. They still had quite a few lapses on the defensive end and went stagnant in the middle of the fourth quarter, where the reverted back to what their offense looked like last year. The only other negative for me continues to be the play of Mirotic. I actually thought he did better, not relying on the three and getting to the basket, but he is still abysmal on the defensive end and continues to make dumb mistakes on both sides of the court. Even if we ignore his poor shooting from three tonight (1 of 6), I just don’t think he is worth having on the court.

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