Fred Hoiberg and Jimmy Butler are committing the same mistakes this December. Will the Chicago Bulls continue to loss against weak teams and be inconsistent?
The Chicago Bulls need to carefully reassess what is working and what goes out of sync when they lose games to the bottom feeder teams of the NBA. Here are three mistakes we see them doing this year-end.
Jimmy Butler Hogging the Ball, Shooters Open
Jimmy Butler has been playing the same two-man, isolation hero-ball all game long these past few losses. It started with several successful 30 and 40-point games. Then, he wanted more.
But, things changed after the Los Angles Lakers scouted him and just ran an athletic double team at him and last year’s weaknesses were exposed again. The Bulls lost again against Dallas, a bottomfeeder team in the West. Then, again against Minnesota, the weakest team in the league, after leading by 21 in the first quarter. Then, again versus Milwaukee. All those games, Butler was gunning for a point production at the wrong time in the game, instead of allowing his teammates to get their scoring rhythm going, then turning it on in the final quarter for his team. But Jimmy just goes for everything and it brings the whole team down.
Butler does not have the PG handles to split double teams, nor the quick first step to blow by them. What he has is a very strong physique and tight control to get a shot off even with contact and he can drive in a straight line to the rim when there are paths open.
In the Bulls losses, Butler tires himself out keeping his stats that by the end of the fourth quarter, he is so gassed that he wastes possessions bricking the ball or turning it over. Butler is shooting 29 percent in the fourth quarter now.
The Bulls got off to a strong start with Butler still getting strong numbers, but the team was moving the ball around and getting people involved.
Then the starters began getting too concerned about keeping their numbers up. In one game with Nikola Mirotic starting in place of Dwyane Wade, Butler barely passed the ball and Mirotic was just the fifth player on the team, while the rest ran a two-man offense all first quarter long.
In the Timberwolves game, even fans were aghast at why both Jimmy and Wade would be shooting when they had Doug at the corner waiting for a pass.
Butler wants his numbers and Fred Hoiberg is allowing him to overextend himself to a fault at the expense of the team. Butler can get his numbers by playing defense, Wade gets him enough easy baskets or using his stepback jumper instead when they make the return pass.
The bench plays bad because with the starters staggered, they still get most of the touches and don’t involve plays where a shooter gets a return pass to get his game in rhythm.