For the past few seasons, the Chicago Bulls’ complete and utter lack of shooting has been mind-boggling. Last season they were dead last in three-point attempts and makes. The season before, they were still dead last in attempts. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the team’s highest scorer lives and dies by the mid-range. When you factor in the fact that only one Bulls player managed to shoot 38% or better from deep and make at least one three per game last season, it only makes more and more sense.
What’s also interesting, is that the Bulls were 26th in free throws attempted. If you can’t shoot threes and get to the line it means that your offense simply isn’t working. No surprise, that Chicago was 24th in scoring last year. It was hard for them to get good shots, but how can we fix that?
Fortunately, Billy Donovan isn’t blissfully ignorant of these issues. He directly addressed the lack of free throws and offensive rebounding, suggesting there’s hope the Bulls make a genuine effort to improve in these facets of the game next season.
But it isn’t enough to hope these changes come internally. Adding a few genuine shooters to the roster would help a great deal. Chicago made a strong start in that direction by signing Jevon Carter (42.3%% and 1.8 makes per game) and Torrey Craig (39.5% and 1.3 makes per game). But you can never have too much shooting on the roster in today’s era of the NBA.
European star Andreas Obst would be a perfect free agent addition to address the Bulls’ shooting woes.
Considering the front office’s penchant for signing international talent, I was a bit confused that they didn’t pursue Andreas Obst — a sharpshooter who plays for Bayern Munich and the German national team. If Obst’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he led Germany to an upset victory over Team USA in the FIBA World Cup Semi-Finals. Contributing 24 points, including four three-point bombs, Obst looked even better than his NBA counterparts out there on the court.
He’s not just a spot-up shooter. He can curl off pindowns, run off staggers, and gravitate the defense’s attention. Andreas can also handle the ball a little bit. You won’t be able to run pick-and-roll with him, but if the defense closes strong on him, he can take one or two dribbles and get to the rim or take a shot off the dribble. He’s an okay finisher around the rim. Good enough to attract help defensively.
Last season, he shot 39.5% from the three-point line, while attempting an exceptionally high volume of 6.7 shots per contest. Considering that Bayern’s new coach Pablo Laso likes to give his players more freedom, those numbers can even go up. On top of that, Obst’s confidence is only bound to skyrocket after winning the World Cup.
It’s also important to note that Obst wouldn’t kill the Bulls on defense. He’s an okay defender, that can defend guards and small forwards on the perimeter, or even switch on a big for a few seconds. He doesn’t have great foot speed, but he has a strong body that can absorb the contact.
The Bulls’ top scorers like to operate inside the three-point line, so having an additional shooter on the court could be really helpful. Put him on the strong side, and opposing defenses won’t be able to help off him, which would open up driving lanes for DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. If you run him off screens, he will demand the defense’s attention, which again, would open more space for LaVine or DeRozan. By no means, Obst won’t be Chicago’s savior, but he could really help the team.
After the USA-Germany game, Steve Kerr said, that Andreas Obst was key to the game. And after such praise, he didn’t get any attention from NBA teams? I find that particularly strange, considering he wouldn’t be an expensive asset to sign. If used correctly, he could serve a J.J. Reddick-type role as a shooter for contending teams.
Today, he’s the best pure shooter in the EuroLeague, so why not give him a chance on the other side of the ocean? If the Bulls fail to fully address their greatest weakness this summer, they’re bound to pay the price once again during the regular season.