When a team experiences the player-personnel overhaul that we saw with the Chicago Bulls during the offseason, it’s natural to see and hear people discuss lineup combinations with all the new parts.
The Bulls are obviously going to play small, much like they did at several points during their 94-88 win over the Detroit Pistons on opening night on Wednesday. That said, it’s interesting to see some of the mega-small lineups some NBA analysts are suggesting for Chicago.
This Suggested Bulls Lineup Has Patrick Williams at Center
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale holds nothing back with this admittedly alternative lineup. Favale unveils his idea for a super-charged small-ball lineup with some spirited explanations for the grouping.
Favale likes this group as a gadget unit of sorts:
- Lonzo Ball
- Troy Brown Jr.
- Zach LaVine
- Javonte Green
- Patrick Williams
Here is his explanation for why this grouping would be intriguing and perhaps effective.
Since we’re all friends, I’ll let you in on a little secret: This would also be my ideal small-ball (and five-out) combo for the Chicago Bulls. Brown has more variance in his ball-handling bag than Alex Caruso, and Green, while far smaller than Derrick Jones Jr., has shown he can tussle with bigger bodies. This quintet is nevertheless too off-the-walls to demand it become a staple. Brown over Caruso could be a discussion if the former’s shot heads in the right direction, but running out sub-6’5″ players (Green) to guard 4s isn’t yet the standard. With all that in mind, who the capital-F cares? We need to see this fivesome in action, playing at a whirlwind pace. If nothing else, the fun factor should be through the roof.
This is an interesting team for sure, but I have some questions and suggestions.
A Few Tweaks Would Make This More Passable
If Favale substituted Alex Caruso in for Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson in for Williams, we might have something to work with here.
Caruso is an overall better offensive player while sacrificing nothing on defense. Williams is a better offensive player than Alize, but the latter is arguably the second-best rebounder on the team. While still small, those two changes sacrifice no pace or defense while also keeping the same level of offensive potency.
About Last Night…
During the Bulls’ opening-night triumph, they didn’t play very well offensively. LaVine proved he’s ready to be just as good–if not better–than he was last season. LaVine exploded for 34 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a blocked shot. He cemented himself as the true leader of this team while Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan both struggled to find themselves on offense.
The one area where the Bulls were really good was on the defensive side. They maintained their tendency to use active hands to force turnovers. The Bulls had eight steals and they forced 16 turnovers. Unfortunately, they committed 17 of their own and only shot 43% from the field and 30.4% from three. Thankfully, the defense showed up holding Detroit to 40% from the field and a woeful 20.4% from beyond the arc.
It was a grind-it-out victory and one that the team probably wouldn’t have captured with last season’s roster.
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