Scouting Report: Chicago Bulls

Saturday, January 4, 2014
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

What a contrast of styles in a 24-hour period.

After the Hawks spent more than two hours chasing opposing shooters off the three-point line, trying to slow down transition offense and playing at a rapid pace, Atlanta now gets the team that averages the fewest points per game in the NBA and attempts the third fewest threes.

Don’t sleep on the Bulls though.  They got leading scorer Luol Deng back on Thursday in a convincing win over Boston, and though they’re still missing Derrick Rose, they’re finally fully healthy otherwise.  Deng not only provides a scoring boost, but he plays terrific defense and can guard any position on the floor, outside of perhaps center.  I imagine he’ll start on DeMarre Carroll, but I’d expect him to be guarding Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and maybe even Jeff Teague at times tonight.

Chicago has one of the best all-around frontcourts in the game in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.  Boozer is more of an offensive weapon, as he plays well around the basket, does a good job getting to the free throw line and is similar to Al Horford in that he can stretch defenses with an ability to make shots from 18 feet.  Noah can score too, but his specialty is protecting the rim and attacking the glass.  He’s averaging better than a block and a steal per game, and he’s also a very good passer for a center, averaging 3.5 assists.

Jimmy Butler is another big guard who the Bulls like, and he’ll be a tough cover for Korver.  He can be explosive at times in his ability to get into the lane, but he also shoots it decently from the perimeter.  Overall, the Bulls aren’t a great shooting team, but Butler can knock them down if left open.

Chicago also has a deep bench with three-point shooting specialist Mike Dunleavy, energy big man Taj Gibson and newly-acquired point guard D.J. Augustin.  They’re .2 Augustin PPG away from having eight guys average double figures, so they’re a dangerous team even when the first unit exits.

For the Hawks offensively, breaking down their defense and forcing them to rotate is a good start.  The Bulls are a great on-ball defending team, but they aren’t the quickest bunch, so it’s best to make them move on the defensive end.  Attacking the basket and moving the ball will force rotations, which should lead to open shots.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/NBAE/Getty Images

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