Bulls' offense still a 'work in progress'

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Bulls' offense still a 'work in progress'

With their star player sidelined until at least halfway through the season and seven newcomers on board, there were bound to be some growing pains offensively for the Bulls.

And while Tom Thibodeaus group has averaged 89.3 points through six preseason games, improvement can be seen from a team still learning each other and their tendencies.

The Bulls raced out to a 51-40 lead last night in an eventual 94-89 win over the Thunder. And while things began well for Chicago, a sluggish end to the third quarter carried into the fourth quarter, allowing Oklahoma City back into the game.

Indecision and passed-up shots plagued the Bulls offense, which shot less than 38 percent from the field after halftime.

Youve got to know you job; know your job and do your job and youll be fine, Thibodeau said. When youre taking your shots and youre making the right plays, youre gonna live with yourselves. Its the indecision that gets you into trouble.

The Bulls played at a noticeably faster pace against the Thunder in the first half, something Thibodeau said his team may do this year to play to the teams strengths. But both the primary and secondary breaks he plans on using require control and spacing, something he noticed was lost in the second half.

We have to stay disciplined, we have to have the ability to run late to try and get some easy scores, Thibodeau said. When we do that well be efficient offensively. But when we break things off and we make things up, its hard to read and react off that. So we just have to stay more disciplined.

Often times were initiating, also, when we havent gotten to our spots yet. So usually with offense, if it doesnt start right its not gonna end right; so we have to make sure were starting it right.

Part of that, veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton said, is the offensive unit still learning both Thibodeaus schemes and their new teammates.

Were playing well in spurts, Hamilton said of the teams offense. I think guys are still learning each other. With our seven new players, guys are still trying to learn their roles and things like that. So I think were getting a little bit better each and every day. I think were nowhere near where we want to be. I think its still a lot of room for improvement.

Hamilton even includes himself in that group. After arriving in Chicago as a free agent last summer, there was no acclimating to his new teammates or the playbook during the lockout-shortened offseason. Had Hamilton still been in Detroit, where he spent nine seasons, it wouldnt have been an issue. But even he is seeing the positive effects of a full offseason.

If I was in Detroit I wouldnt mind it because I know the offense in-and-out, I know whats expected and things like that, he said. But coming into a situation where you have no clue on the coaching staff, your teammates, anything like that, and just going out there and playing games. Thats not an easy task.

Hamilton said he is not worried about any inconsistencies in the Bulls offense through six games, noting that while it may not be completely in order by Opening Night on Halloween, the team will continue to work on its chemistry and discipline until its where it needs to be.

I think its still a work in progress. The goal for any NBA team is to be playing your best basketball late, and trying to get all the kinks out early, Hamilton said, just try to learn and get better as games go by. I think thats the key.

Fire Talk Podcast: Listen to Bastian Schweinsteiger's full introductory press conference

Fire Talk Podcast: Listen to Bastian Schweinsteiger's full introductory press conference

Bastian Schweinsteiger was introduced as a member of the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at a press conference at the Fire Pitch in Chicago.

The full press conference, which featured Schweinsteiger, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and coach Veljko Paunovic, can be watched in the video above or in podcast form embedded below:

Melo Trimble leaving Maryland for NBA Draft

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USA TODAY

Melo Trimble leaving Maryland for NBA Draft

A move several years in the making finally came Tuesday, with Maryland point guard Melo Trimble ending his collegiate career and declaring for the NBA Draft.

Trimble has been a candidate to depart the Terps for the NBA in each of the past two offseasons. He opted to stick around after a dazzling freshman campaign to join up with a group that entered the 2015-16 season as one of college basketball's national championship contenders. But his sophomore year saw a significant dip in his shooting numbers, and therefore a dip in his draft stock, bringing him back for his junior season.

Trimble was once again one of the best guards in the Big Ten this past season, and now his departure to the pros has finally come. In hiring an agent, Trimble is forgoing his senior season.

"I am confident and excited to pursue an opportunity to play in the NBA," Trimble said in Tuesday's announcement. "I am proud of what my teammates and I were able to accomplish these past three seasons at Maryland. I developed many great relationships and friendships, and together we able to create some very special moments for Maryland basketball.

"I want to thank coach (Mark) Turgeon for all of his support. He always believed in me. He challenged me and really helped in the development of my overall game. I am a more complete basketball player because of coach Turgeon and the coaching staff. To stay at home and attend the University of Maryland is the best decision that I ever made, and it was truly special to play in front of my family, friends and our amazing fans. Maryland will always be home."

In his three seasons, Trimble ended up in the top 15 in program history in scoring, assists, made free throws and made 3-pointers. Maryland won 79 games in Trimble's three seasons and finished in the top three in the Big Ten standings in each campaign.

As a freshman in 2014-15, Trimble averaged 16.2 points a game, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He earned All-Big Ten First Team honors in his first year and was recognized as one of the country's top freshman guards, spurring speculation then that he would be a one-and-done player.

But with a trio of huge additions for 2015-16 — Robert Carter Jr., Rasheed Sulaimon and Diamond Stone — the Terps were looking like a national-title contender, and Trimble decided to stay for his sophomore season. While his scoring numbers decreased — he averaged 14.8 points a game and shot 41 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3 — Trimble helped Maryland reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 13 years with nearly five assists a game.

His draft stock diminished, Trimble opted for one more season in College Park and saw his scoring average rise to a career-high 16.8 points per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the field. Trimble was once again named to the All-Big Ten First Team this season.

"Melo informed me that he has decided to enter his name in the NBA Draft," Turgeon said in the announcement. "Melo Trimble is a winner and helped change the face of our program. More importantly, Melo is a special person, and I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him. He is extremely humble and always puts the team first. Melo has grown as a leader and has done an outstanding job taking our program to new heights. Melo will be celebrated as one of the all-time greats in our program's history. We are very excited for Melo as he pursues his dream of playing professional basketball."