The Chicago Bulls’ playoff outlook is bleak as they prepare for game five of their first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks. The team lost games three and four in Chicago by an average of 27 points per game.
The Bulls were already shorthanded in this series as they were playing without Lonzo Ball. The team got more bad news on Tuesday and Wednesday when they found out they will be without Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso for game five.
The Bulls have already struggled offensively in this series scoring only 94.0 points per game. LaVine and Caruso have combined for 25.6 of those points in this series. The loss of those two players will put a lot of pressure on the rest of the team Wednesday night.
Lack of Three-Point Shooting
One of the Bulls’ biggest struggles this season and in the playoffs is their inability to hit three-point shots. The team just doesn’t have a true consistent three-point shooter on the roster and it’s hurt them all season.
In a new article from Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, he discusses the one fix that every playoff team desperately needs to make. For the Bulls, he unsurprisingly says they need to add three-point shooting.
The Bulls produced the worst offensive rating among all playoff (and play-in) teams across their first four games of the first round, and a lack of long-range weapons was a major contributor to that woeful performance. Efficiency is a bigger issue than volume, as Chicago is 10th among 16 playoff teams in three-point attempts per 100 possessions but 15th with a 28.0 percent accuracy rate.
You could see this problem coming during the regular season. The Bulls actually shot 36.9 percent from distance for the year, a top-five figure, but they took two fewer threes per 100 possessions than the Washington Wizards, who ranked 29th in long-range frequency. After the All-Star break, everything came to a head, as Chicago slipped to 21st in accuracy and remained last in volume.
This will have to be an offseason free-agency fix. Lonzo Ball’s return to health in 2022-23 should help, but the Bulls simply need more players who can generate threes at high volume—ideally ones who can also hit them.
As Hughes said the return of Ball will help some, but they’ll have to do more. They can try to address it in the draft and in free agency.
The first chance the Bulls will have to add three-point shooting will be in the upcoming draft. It might be hard to address this need in the draft because of the Bulls having the 18th overall pick and this draft not being deep on shooting.
The dream scenario for the Bulls here would be if Kanas wing Ochai Agbaji, who shot 45.6% from three this season, fell to them. It’s unlikely though since Agbaji shows up in the lottery in most mock drafts. Two other shooters the team could look at are Caleb Houstan of Michigan(35%) and Johnny Juzang of UCLA(36.8%).
The other option for the Bulls would be to sign a shooter in free agency where they’ll have some options. A few players they could try to sign include Anfernee Simons(40.5%), Malik Monk(39.1%), Robert Covington(37.8%), and Bruce Brown(40.4%).
It’s a sold market for three-point shooters this summer and the Bulls will have chances to add some. The team will just have to figure out how to make the money work.