Bulls Star Called Out in Highlighting Team’s Biggest Flaw

Getty Billy Donovan

The heat is on the Chicago BullsNikola Vucevic.

The criticism hit a fever pitch after the team’s 118-92 loss to the Miami Heat on the road on Saturday, December 11. Vucevic was outplayed by Heat backup center Dewayne Dedmon, who was only playing because Miami was without center Bam Adebayo.

Dedmon had 20 points and 12 rebounds. It was his first 20-10 game this season and his first since the 2018-19 campaign. Meanwhile, Vucevic, a former All-Star, could manage just 10 points and 8 rebounds in an embarrassing performance.

This wasn’t just a one game skid for Vucevic. He’s averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. Both averages are well beneath his recent production.

Since the 2018-19 season, Vucevic has averaged 21.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and shot 37% from three-point range. Let’s hone in on that three-point shooting. It was the focus of a recent article from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley. 

Is Vucevic the Bulls Most Responsible for Limited Three-Point Attempts?

According to Buckley, the Bulls’ biggest flaw is their lack of three-point shooting volume. Essentially, Buckley believes the Bulls need to shoot more threes and he called out Vucevic as one of the main problems.

Buckley gave some love to the Bulls’ primary offseason additions: DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball. He also mentioned some of the Bulls’ signature wins this season.

Buckley wrote: “Chicago has mostly enjoyed a loud start to the season: loud scoring stats from DeMar DeRozan; loud defensive disruptions from Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso; loud, double-digit victories over the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Still, the Bulls need to increase the volume in another area: three-point shooting.”

Buckley digs deeper into the three-point analytics examining the root of the Bulls’ sparse long-range attempts. Buckley continued:

“Percentage-wise, Chicago is killing it from deep (37.1, fourth overall), but the club doesn’t make many threes (10.9 per game, 28th) because it doesn’t take many threes (29.3, 29th). That’s partly inevitable with a DeRozan-led attack, but if the Bulls could squeeze more out of their spacers—Nikola Vucevic has more to give than 1.6 triples per night—then DeRozan would have even more room to operate inside the arc.”

With Vucevic only connecting on about 34% of his threes, it’s tough to say that he should be the guy shooting more.

Lonzo Ball Can Help Increase the Bulls’ Three-Point Volume

While Ball did shoot 12 threes in the loss to the Heat (connecting on 4 of them), there are times when he passes up on some open looks. Ball is sometimes too unselfish.

He has made himself one of the game’s best three-point shooters. He is connecting on 42% of his long-range attempts which makes him more than viable from deep.

Ball should have the green light whenever he has even a sliver of space to let it fly from deep. For the most part, he seems to be a willing shooter. After all, he is shooting 7.3 of them per game, which is good for 6th in the league.

Ball’s 42% accuracy is the second-highest among players who rank in the Top 10 of three-point attempts per game. The Bulls need more attempts from their best shooters, and Ball is the team’s best at this point.

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