Chicago Bulls’ Three-Point Shooting Will Worsen Next Season

Nov 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) looks to pass the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) looks to pass the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls front office has undermined head coach Fred Hoiberg’s offensive vision with their choices in personnel this summer.

One of the lone bright spots of the 2015-16 Chicago Bulls offense was their three-point shooting.

Under rookie NBA head coach Fred Hoiberg, the Chicago Bulls made 37.1 percent of their three-point field goals last season, good for third in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs respectively.

The strides the Bulls made in this area could be reversed next season because of the players the team signed in free agency.

The offensive system that Fred Hoiberg has developed for this team relies heavily on floor spacing and elite three-point shooting. That is why some of the moves the Bulls have made this summer are questionable.

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In the last week, the Chicago Bulls did the unthinkable: they convinced two top free agents to sign in Chicago. Point guard Rajon Rondo signed with the team on Sunday for $28 million across two seasons with partially-guaranteed money for the second season. Veteran guard Dwyane Wade followed suit on Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year, $47.5 million contract.

From a three-point shooting standpoint, these players, as well as a number of other moves the Bulls made this summer, will likely hurt the teams overall production rather than help it.

Rondo and Wade were a combined 32.2 percent (69/214) last season from three-point land.

To clear salary cap space for Wade, the Bulls parted ways with two of their best 3-point shooters. The team traded Mike Dunleavy (39.4 percent), and Jose Calderon (41.4 percent) to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers respectively on Wednesday to make room for Wade to sign.

At the end of June, the Chicago Bulls shipped shooting guard Justin Holiday to New York in a trade that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks. Holiday’s 43.3 percent three-point field goal percentage was the second highest on the team last season.

The Bulls failed to re-sign guard E’Twaun Moore who had a team-leading three-point field goal percentage of 45.2 percent last season.

The Bulls have formed a “Big 3” by signing Wade and Rondo to play with incumbent star Jimmy Butler. The problem is there is very little three-point shooting skill in this group.

Wade, Rondo, and Butler were a combined 31.7 percent (133/419) from three-point land last season. Furthermore, all three players love to have the ball in their hands.

According to, Butler and Wade finished 16th and 24th respectively last season in shot attempts per game, while Rondo finished ninth in the NBA in true usage percentage, which is a quantitative measure of meaningful involvement in the offense.

This could cause the offense to stagnate, as each player essentially takes turns trying to run the offense and shoot the ball. A stagnated offense isn’t conducive to the free-flowing, side-to-side movement nor the three-point shooting focus that Hoiberg hopes to see materialize.

Furthermore, the projected starting lineup has little talent in terms of three-point shooting. As previously mentioned, Wade, Rondo, and Butler are ineffective long-range shooters, while new center Robin Lopez is a non-factor from three-point land.

Veteran big man Taj Gibson should also be part of the starting lineup. However, that probably won’t happen, as Hoiberg will opt to start Nikola Mirotic at the power forward position because he would represent the only competent floor spacing, three-point shooter on the starting unit.

Mirotic shot 39 percent from three-point range last season. After returning from an appendectomy, he shot at a 43.6 percent clip in March on three-point shots and a 46.9 percent clip in April. Inconsistent long-range shooting has epitomized his short career with the Bulls.

The Bulls could get some help in the long-range shooting department from the bench. Doug McDermott shot at a 42.5 percent clip last season from three, while Bobby Portis had some good moments from long range as well.

The Bulls’ first-round draft pick Denzel Valentine improved his three-point shooting every year at Michigan State culminating in a 44.4 3-point field goal percentage during his senior year in college.

The losses of guys like Mike Dunleavy, E’Twaun Moore, and Justin Holiday and the additions of Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade will make it difficult for the Bulls to reciprocate the three-point shooting success they had a season ago.

Why did the Bulls make all these moves when Hoiberg’s offensive system relies so heavily on floor spacing and great three-point shooting?

After the front office expressed so much confidence in Hoiberg when they chose him as the replacement for Tom Thibodeau last summer, it is shocking to see the degree in which they have undermined him in their choices in personnel this summer.

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Rondo, Wade, and Butler aren’t the players that the Bulls want running Hoiberg’s pace-and-space offensive system. Their skill sets aren’t conducive to what Hoiberg is trying to accomplish offensively.

The Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau because the front office thought that Hoiberg’s revolutionary offense would turn this team into championship contenders. Now, they have sucked the life out of that offensive vision through their recent choices in personnel.

The Bulls signed players this summer based on name recognition, without consideration for how well they would fit in with the current players on the roster and the coach.

It doesn’t make sense, but the Bulls as a whole don’t make sense. How Gar Forman and John Paxson still have jobs makes the least sense of all.