Do The Chicago Bulls Have Great Team Chemistry?


Do the Chicago Bulls have good chemistry under first-year head coach Fred Hoiberg?

The answer to that question would be a resounding maybe.

But, there is hope… sort of.

The Bulls lost to the league-leading Golden State Warriors a week ago, but last Friday night was a masterfully-played effort that reminded many of what this Bulls team can do when operating on all cylinders. The Bulls moved the ball, hit timely shots and defended with a fervor worthy of a top-tier team.

So, just who are these guys who can on one hand play the defending champs on the road to a stand still, but lose to lesser teams on a frequent basis?

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On paper, the Bulls are talented, deep and experienced. But, are they capable of greatness, or at least a conference title? I suspect they have a puncher’s chance, but questions linger regarding chemistry, sacrifice, leadership and closeness?

During the annual circus road trip, comments surfaced first from Bulls center Joakim Noah expressing frustration over what he feels is a lack of confidence and opportunities with his role in the teams new pace-and-space offense.

Noah’s comments were followed by others from starting center Pau Gasol. “I don’t think we took advantage of the size mismatches,” Gasol said. “That’s my opinion, especially when the Warriors go small. They’ve got an advantage on the other end because they are going to spread the floor, but then you have to punish them on offense.”

“That’s what we didn’t do. I think you have to play to the strenghts of your players and the weapons. You have to maximize them. If you don’t do that, you’re not being very smart.”

From a strategic standpoint, Gasol is right. Trying to go small against the Warriors is tantamount to a basketball death wish.

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  • The Bulls did seem to enjoy a size advantage down the stretch against the Warriors (although one has to wonder just how committed Gasol was to punishing people in the post when he seems to really enjoy his role standing on the elbow and firing away jumper after jumper).

    When used properly, the pace-and-space game (a form of what’s going on in San Antonio and Golden State), opens up driving lanes (and hopefully free throw opportunities) with the constant threat of three-point shooting.

    The key is in constant ball movement leading to penetration and open shots. What differentiates motion-type offenses from set offenses is in the decision making and who will make those decisions.

    When ran correctly, motion offenses are difficult to defend because multiple players are capable of making the right play based on where openings are in the seams of the defense or in the exploiting of a match up advantage.

    Challenges facing this Bulls team are in developing the trust and sacrifice needed to make this new offensive system work.

    Can it be done? Of course, but comments like those from Gasol and Noah are troubling not because of what was said, but because both players decided to air their frustrations to the media.

    Were they crying out for help, and if so, to whom? Fans, teammates, GarPax, Mayor Rahm Emanuel? Who knows?

    But inquiring minds want to know, were Gasol and Noah simply venting some minor frustrations with the teams new offensive approach or were they publicly challenging their new coaches leadership and direction for the team?

    Answers to those questions will be revealed over the course of the season, but one thing is certain: new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg will be around for awhile.

    Next: Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay his pending fine

    Can this team put aside personal agendas and pull together in the spirit of their new offense or will moves have to be made to revamp a team that was basically put together to mirror the hard-nosed and deliberate style of their former coach Tom Thibodeau?

    Only time will tell.