Arturas Karnisovas and Billy Donovan answered several questions regarding the Chicago Bulls’ new-look roster during Bulls’ media day. One thing that the Bulls’ leaders made clear was the importance of offensive versatility.
“Collectively right now we have a lot of guys who can handle the ball. As many ball-handlers as we can get then we can be more versatile. That other teams can struggle defending us, and can’t have one game plan to stop one player. The Versatility gives us a chance every night.”– Arturas Karnisovas
Last Season’s Woes
Last season the Bulls’ offense ranked 21st in the league in efficiency. And despite ranking eighth in assists per game, the offense often stagnated. One game that really stood out was an April 21st loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs’ ranked a pitiful 25th in defensive efficiency, yet the Bulls could only manage 12 first-quarter points.
The Bulls’ group on the court here includes Coby White, Thaddeus Young, Denzel Valentine, Ryan Arcidiacano, and Lauri Markkanen. Among that group, only Coby White is a plus ball-handler. The Cavaliers identified this and constantly blitzed White when he had the ball. As a result, the Bulls needed someone else to create an open shot, which they were unable to do.
Versatile New-Look Offense
DeMar DeRozan quickly dribbles the ball into the paint. This collapses the New Orleans Pelicans’ defense and easily creates an open shot for the Spurs.
Lonzo’s defensive playmaking leads to a steal. He handles the ball well in transition and easily finds the trailing Zion Williamson in transition.
While he may not be as big of a name as the Bulls’ other free-agent signings, Alex Caruso was mentioned frequently by Karnisovas and Donovan during media availability. Here, Caruso receives the ball on the handoff and with the aid of a screen is easily able to get to the basket and finish at the rim.
While Ayo Dosunmu wasn’t mentioned, he represents another ball-handler on the roster. If the Bulls do run into injury issues, the former University of Illinois guard will be able to easily slide in and help maintain the Bulls’ versatility.
With the Bulls looking to make a playoff push this season, an improved offense will be necessary. Arturas Karnisovas and Billy Donovan seem to think this improvement will come through the team’s versatility. The best teams in the NBA feature a variety of ball-handlers on their rosters. And last season’s roster didn’t quite match that ideal. However, this offseason the Bulls took a massive step forward in their quest to match up with the league’s elite offenses.