Wrapping Up The Preseason for The Chicago Bulls


Well, it’s been an exciting preseason for the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls have looked good (and bad) at times under new coach Fred Hoiberg. The offense has looked more fluid than ever before, and while the defense needs some work, it hasn’t been completely awful either. The Bulls finish up their preseason schedule Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks in Lincoln, Nebraska, and then it’s on to the regular season.

ALSO AT PIPPEN AIN’T EASY: Report: Nikola Mirotic Paired with Pau Gasol for Season Opener?

Here are some notes from their first seven preseason games in 2015-16:

  • Joakim Noah is being demoted to the bench. I’ve had enough missed layups to make a movie of them. Nikola Mirotic probably isn’t the person I’d choose to replace him, as I believe that Taj Gibson should be Pau Gasol‘s running mate (at least to start the year). I’ve seen some improvement on the agonizing and dreaded pump-fake/stepback combo and his three-point attempts are looking less jerky. I have no doubt that he should start this year, but right now, Gibson is the better choice defensively and experience-wise. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to see how Noah operates as the leader of the new “Bench Mob” for the Bulls.

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To get away from piling on Noah…

  • I have mixed feelings on Jimmy Butler. His defense has been phenomenal. However, at times he’s been his old self (and by that, I mean last year), and at other times, he’s looked lost offensively. Some are saying this because Thibodeau’s system didn’t require open players to shoot and Hoiberg’s system requires open players to shoot, but I think the real issue is Butler’s mindset. We all heard the talk (from him and the media) about him playing as another point guard and getting some assists. I’m not opposed to that, but I believe that his desire for triple-doubles is limiting his scoring and shot selection.
    • If you watch how he plays, it seems like on one offensive possession, he’ll pass up wide-open looks and stubbornly try to feed it to Gasol or Mirotic in order to get a dime. The next time down the floor, he’ll shoot a contested step-back out near the three-point line to get some points. Hopefully when Derrick Rose gets back, Butler will settle down a bit.
  • Speaking of Rose, he reportedly might play against the Mavericks in limited minutes on Friday. I was excited when I read this headline, until I saw Derrick’s response to questions on his vision. “Right now, I see two of you.” His status isn’t looking good for Opening Night, but still, this could be Rose’s first healthy season since his MVP season.
  • I’m not sure I agree with Hoiberg’s decision to start Tony Snell. Doug McDermott seems like the obvious choice at first, but then you look at McDermott’s horrendous defense and the playing field becomes more level. However, Snell’s length on the defensive end gives him the edge, even though he can’t make a shot. For now, I’d try starting McDermott on Friday night and see how it goes. If he submits a Carlos Boozer-esque performance on defense, Snell may have to start until McDermott learns some defense (or Tony gets some confidence).
  • I wish the Bulls would run more of that three-man weave on the offensive end. It’s looked good when they’ve run it, and at times the offense gets stagnant when they overuse their traditional play. Otherwise, this should be a fun year for the Bulls.

Next: Report: Derrick Rose to play on Friday night vs. Dallas?

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