Bulls Shooting Woes Becoming a Serious Issue

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Bulls Shooting Woes Becoming a Serious Issue

Wednesday, November 11th

by Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

What can Vinny Del Negro and his staff do with the gang that can't shoot straight? We knew the Bulls would miss Ben Gordon, but this is ridiculous! They gave away winnable games against Denver and Toronto because of terrible shooting from the perimeter. How bad was it you ask? Well, the Bulls' 2 best outside shooters, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich combined to go 10-for-44 from the field. And when Salmons and Hinrich aren't hitting, the Bulls' offense is in deep trouble.

Wednesday night in Toronto, the Bulls didn't score a single point from the 6:24 mark of the 4th quarter until Hinrich made 1 of 2 free throws with 10 seconds left. All this against a Raptors team that is among the worst in the league defensively. Toronto began the night giving up an average of 111 points a game, and they lived up to their reputation in the first half, allowing the Bulls to get numerous easy baskets inside on the way to 52 percent shooting from the field and a 60-53 lead. But the Bulls' shooting went into the deep freeze after intermission, they hit only 25 percent of their shots, and managed to score only 29 points for the entire half! Granted, the players were probably a little fatigued playing on back-to-back nights with a short rotation, and not arriving in Toronto until early this morning. But the larger issue is shot selection. The Bulls missed 11 straight shots down the stretch and almost all of them were perimeter jump shots. When the outside shot isn't falling, you have to take the ball to the basket, especially against a bad defensive team like Toronto.

Okay, so we know Ben Gordon isn't walking through that door (to paraphrase the infamous Rick Pitino rant from his days as head coach of the Celtics), but what are the Bulls going to do about their offensive deficiencies? The easiest solution would be better shooting from Salmons and Hinrich, but maybe they're not cut out to be big-time scorers. The Bulls also need Derrick Rose to be more offensive minded, and he's shown signs of that with 36 points in his last 2 games. Look for Derrick to be involved in a lot more high screen and roll situations to get him more chances to attack the basket once his ankle is 100 again. The reality is the Bulls just don't get enough easy baskets. It seems like every possession is a struggle to try to free an open shooter for a mid-range jump shot. Luol Deng is off to a nice start, but he's more of a spot-up shooter, and is turnover prone when he drives to the basket. And, the Bulls aren't going to look for Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to post-up their defenders in the paint. That's not really the strength of either player.

So again, what is the coaching staff going to do? They might need to take a longer look at Jannero Pargo, who was brought in for his 3 point shooting, but has only played limited minutes so far because of a bad back. Once he's completely healthy again, the coaches might need to get him more court time. Same with rookie James Johnson, who showed some promise during the pre-season, but has been the forgotten man in regular season play. But those are just band-aid solutions. John Paxson and Gar Forman may have to think about exploring a trade for another scorer. We know they want to maintain salary cap flexibility for next summer's free agent class, but this Bulls' team has the potential to win 45 to 50 games......all they really need is one more scorer.

Would you roll the dice on a player with behavioral issues in the past like Allen Iverson or Stephen Jackson? We know those 2 guys are available. Or is there a young shooting guard out there who could be acquired at a reasonable price, and not destroy the Bulls salary cap flexibility? Ideally, the Bulls would like to acquire someone who is on the last year of an expiring contract, but those players are normally in high demand around the league.

Maybe the offensive issues will sort themselves out, and Salmons and Hinrich will shoot their way out of the early slumps. But it's never too early to start preparing for the possibility this team needs to go outside for scoring help. Especially with the dreaded Circus road trip looming next week.

What do you think? We invite you to share your suggestions in the comments section below or drop me an e-mail.

I'll see you Saturday from the United Center before the Bulls-76ers game during SportsNite at 6:30.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre and post game studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose has never been shy about voicing his opinion. And that didn't change once he was dealt to the Knicks in late June.

He told NBA.com in late July that the Knicks, who also signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, had formed a "super team" with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose said both the Knicks and Warriors, who won 73 games and then added this generation's greatest scorer in Kevin Durant, were the two super teams in the NBA.

Rose then doubled down on those comments earlier this month, saying every player should "believe in yourself" enough to feel as though you're playing on a super team.

That confidence didn't waver in the last week, as Rose made headlines once again for saying the Knicks have a chance to do something pretty special.

"I think (the Knicks) have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare," he told Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it's important to recognize that Rose is not saying the Knicks are going to go 82-0, or even that they have a realistic shot at doing so (though Rose's other super team in the NBA, Golden State, may have a shot). It'd be even more odd to hear Rose say there were games the Knicks had no shot at winning this season, even though their 32-win season from a year ago would suggest otherwise.

What Rose's comments really show is that he hasn't lost any of the confidence that made him the league's youngest MVP. Even while battling through his myriad injuries Rose maintained that he'd get back to the level he once showed as a dominant point guard in the NBA. And with a fresh start in New York, he's hoping that becomes a reality.

The Knicks have a decent shot at getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But with new head coach Jeff Hornacek and many new pieces needing to mesh, there's bound to be a few games early in the year that the Knicks have no real shot at winning (like Opening Night in Cleveland).

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

As part of a joint collaboration between CSNChicago.com and SBNation.com's Blog a Bull, Mark Strotman and Ricky O'Donnell are breaking down the latest happenings on the Bulls. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

On the first edition of the collaboration, Mark and Ricky break down USA Basketball's road to a third consecutive gold medal in this month's Rio Olympics.

It marked the third consecutive gold for Carmelo Anthony, the first man to accomplish that feat, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski finished his career as USA Basketball head coach 88-1, including a 76-game winning streak to end things.

Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler was on that squad and provided crucial defensive work on the team's second unit. The guys break down whether or not he'll be a part of the 2020 team that heads to Tokyo looking for a four-peat.

And Butler wasn't the only member of the Bulls participating in Rio. Mark and Ricky look at Nikola Mirotic's encouraging play for the Spanish national team, as well as Cristiano Felicio getting his feet wet for the host country, Brazil.

See all of what they had to say in the video above, and be sure to check out Blog a Bull all season long for Bulls news and analysis.

Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic show off Olympic medals

Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic show off Olympic medals

On Friday, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic playfully jabbed at each other on Instagram ahead of USA vs. Spain with the winner advancing to the gold medal game.

Butler got the best of Mirotic as Team USA went on to win the gold for the third straight Olympics after beating Serbia, 96-66, on Sunday while Mirotic came away with some hardware as well, helping Spain capture the bronze medal with an 89-88 win over Australia.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Bulls fans!]

The pair of Bulls teammates took a photo showing off their medals Sunday:

Dwyane Wade also congratulated his new teammate Butler with a tweet of his own: