Bulls Urged to Address Missing Part of Scheme Next Season

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Brook Lopez #11 and Jevon Carter #5 of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Chicago Bulls need to make a better effort of scoring on the perimeter next season. Despite finishing the regular season ranked fourth in three-point efficiency, per NBA.com, they ranked 30th in attempts from beyond the arc.

They flipped the script in the postseason, ranking third in attempted threes but hitting on just 28.3% of their looks against the Milwaukee Bucks.

That is good for 15th out of 16 playoff teams.

If they want to continue being a threat next season, they will need to join the modern NBA in its affinity for the long-ball, writes Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz. Especially if they can maintain their level of efficiency, not doing so would be foolish.

Get With the Times

Chicago was the only team in the NBA last season that failed to attempt fewer than 30.0 threes per game. They did meet or surpass that mark 37 times during the season, per Stathead. Still, Swartz writes getting serious from deep has to be one of the three things they must do this offseason.

No team generated a smaller percentage of its total points from three than Chicago this season (28.6 percent). While DeMar DeRozan can iso teams to death on most nights, finding a better offensive balance would be beneficial.

We saw the impact the lack of shooting had on DeRozan in the postseason. The Bucks swarmed him. They held the one-time MVP candidate to 20.8 points per game, his lowest in the playoffs since 2015, on 48.1% true shooting.

Swartz does see room for internal improvement, though.

A healthy [Lonzo] Ball and Patrick Williams would help, but the Bulls should be on the lookout for another shooter in free agency to help make the offense a little less predictable.

Both Ball and Williams shot above 41% from deep to lead the team while Coby White knocked down a career-high 38.5% of his looks from outside. But the former two appeared in 52 games total while White could very well be on his way out this summer.

Outside Influence

Add a healthy LaVine, who shot 38.9% from three in a down year compared to last season, and standout rookie Ayo Dosunmu to the mix and the Bulls certainly have the potential to be better from deep from a volume standpoint.

Any significant improvement, however, will likely need to come via outside addition either through the 2022 NBA Draft, free agency, or offseason trade.

We have seen all types of hypotheticals revolving around LaVine. But there have also been others that could help the Bulls vary their attack. Most of those types of suggestions regard free agency.

Names like P.J. Tucker of the Miami Heat and Otto Porter Jr. of the Golden State Warriors have dotted the news.

Neither has proven to be very effective or a difference-maker in the Conference Finals.

The Bulls’ financial situation does complicate things a bit. But they will have the mid-level exception at their disposal. That is worth just upwards of $10 million, per Alex Kirschenbaum of Blog A Bull, and should allow them to snag one really good shooter or a couple of decent ones if they so choose.

Some combination of Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones, Orlando Magic wing Gary Harris, and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince would be ideal.

Jones could command more than that alone on the open market, though.

AK Knows Best

This is not something Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is unaware of. He noted in his exit interview that one of the areas he would explore improving the team was on the perimeter.

On top of the continuity disparity Karnisovas mentioned, the Bulls were just the fifth team to take fewer than 30.0 threes per game since 2019, per Stathead.

It did not help that center Nikola Vucevic struggled to be the third option going from 40% last season (38.8% in 26 games with the Bulls) to 31.4% this year, his worst mark since 2018.

He, perhaps more than most, missed Ball being out on the floor.

Health will go a long way for them on both ends of the floor. But Karnisovas is savvy enough to know that standing pat and banking on internal improvement is a dangerous game. One that rarely yields the desired results.

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