Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen needs to have a better Giannis Antetokounmpo defense strategy on Nov. 18 than just putting him on Ryan Arcidiacono.
One of the worst decisions in terms of matchups so far through 13 games for the regular season from Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen was to put a point guard to defend the reigning NBA MVP and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. In what actually amounted to a fairly close 124-115 defeat earlier this month to the Bucks, the Bulls were helpless on defense whenever Giannis got the edge down low.
So far this season, Giannis has a player efficiency rating of 33.7 to go along with 30.1 points per game, 14.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. Those numbers are improved even from where he was at during his MVP season last year.
Although he was somehow a net negative presence on the floor in the first matchup between these two teams, Giannis finished the game with 38 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block. The Bulls did send him to the free-throw line a whopping 20 times, which is still a season-high for him.
For much of the game between the Bulls and Giannis and the Bucks the first time around this season, Boylen either had 6-foot-4 point guard Kris Dunn or 6-foot-3 point guard Ryan Arcidiacono covering Giannis. That’s no formula for success against the team that is running away at the top of the Central Division standings this season.
The plan should be simple for Boylen and the Bulls on Nov. 18, place a more capable defender on Giannis which should then place more pressure on the rest of the Bucks rotation to shoulder the load on offense. Boylen could have someone like center Wendell Carter Jr. cover Giannis when he’s working down low, or small forward Chandler Hutchison when he’s closer to the perimeter.
Not having small forward Otto Porter Jr. in the lineup tonight is going to hurt the Bulls in defending the “Greek Freak”. But that shouldn’t halt the Bulls from putting their most effective lineups on the floor to take care of facing up against Giannis first.
The Bulls come into this game against the Bucks with a record of 4-9, coming off a rough 117-111 home loss at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets. Meanwhile, the Bucks come in with a record of 9-3 coming off an impressive 102-83 convincing victory over the division foe Indiana Pacers.
The Bucks are 8.5-point favorites at tip off, which comes at 7 p.m. at home at the United Center. It’s hard to see an outcome where the Bulls top Giannis and the Bucks with the way they’re through the Central Division right now.