Chicago Bulls: 3 remedies to return to playoff contention

Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

2. Improve offensive efficiency

Much has been made of the Chicago Bulls’ deficiencies on the defensive end of the court, and rightly so. They ranked near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories last season. That being said, they were equally as bad offensively.

The strange thing is, this team was supposed to be built around its offensive talent. With scoring threats like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls shouldn’t have struggled as badly as they did in 2018-19.

If the Bulls want to be in the NBA playoff race next spring, they cannot depend solely on defensive improvement. The offense is in need of some improvement too. Let’s just say, a lot of improvement.

Part of the issue was head coach Jim Boylen’s unimaginative offensive schemes. He eventually loosened the reins, but his tendency to insist on his guards walking the ball up the floor every possession not only slowed the game down, but it also killed any offensive flow.

The Bulls were 19th in pace, 26th in free throw attempt rate, 28th in efficient field goal percentage and 29th in offensive rating. So by the numbers, they were bad. Want more? They were 27th in 3-point field goal attempts, 28th in 2-point field goal percentage, and dead last in 3-point field goal makes. So, yes, to drive home the point, the Chicago Bulls were definitively one of the worst offensive teams in the league this past season.

The addition of lead assistant Chris Fleming from the Brooklyn Nets should help. Considered an offensive mind, Fleming’s Nets were top 10 in 3-point makes, attempts and percentage while they finished 11th in pace, 16th in true shooting percentage, and 19th in offensive rating.

The Nets weren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut on the level of say, the Golden State Warriors, but Fleming’s inclusion onto the Bulls staff should trigger more imagination on the offensive side of the floor.

Adding offensive-minded players will help, of course. Besides the already mentioned Redick and Green, the Bulls could consider free agents like Marcus Morris, Trevor Ariza or Thaddeus Young.

It can’t get much worse, and the numbers show that.