More Ill Conceived Starting Lineups For The Bulls To Try.
After a sixth try, the Bulls still have not found a starting lineup that works. In fact, last night in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, they trotted out a starting lineup with Mirotic as the most reliable 3-pt shooter. That’s Terrifying. And with Noah out for at least 2 weeks, options are dwindling even with the packed front court. Let’s not dwell on the fact that this team was not built to run the offense of the rookie head coach they just hired or that said rookie head coach couldn’t draw up an out-of-bounds play if his life was on the line. But instead, focus on the obvious answer; the eighth or ninth time’s the charm for starting lineups. So here are a few more for Hoiberg to try.
Fact: Hinrich leads the Bulls in 3-pt percentage.
Starting Hinrich at shooting guard gives Jimmy, Derrick, Taj, and Pau someone reliable when they kick the ball out. Then all Hoiberg has to do is actually get them kick it out. There are only two teams in the league that kick out less than the Bulls. No big deal.
With the already ball-stopping, iso-heavy, starting unit Kirk, adds yet another ball handler to dribble out the shot clock and take a last second fade-away J from 15 feet.
Kirk is an upgrade defensively; so only 2 of the 5 starters would be turnstiles on defense instead of 3. Plus, being able to switch on pick and rolls with Hinrich means Derrick will get beat back door by a shooting guard instead of a point guard and it’s always good to see something new.
Don’t worry about that second unit and how it will look without Hinrich. They have Aaron Brooks, who will be a great mentor for Niko. Niko needs a savvy veteran he can watch chuck up 3’s from well behind the line with 20 seconds left on the shot clock. By the end of the season you won’t be able to tell them - or their beards - apart.
And my favorite advantage to Hinrich starting. . . back-court with the best accessories in the league.
Before Jo got hurt, I understood Hoiberg’s hesitation on moving Dougie to the starting lineup. Doug and Jo have chemistry - something you can’t say for most of the team. Their dribble hand-off is a thing of beauty. So is that back door cut along the baseline. And no one takes better advantage of Jo’s monster screens. But with Jo sidelined for at least 2 weeks, there is no better time to try Dougie out with the starting unit.
Like Hinrich, Doug could be great for the kick out and stretch the floor. He makes pretty good decisions offensively and has a nice touch around the rim. Of Bulls players that get regular minutes, Doug has the lowest number of turnovers per game. This is definitely not a cherry picked stat that makes McDermott look good, because most of his possessions are catch and shoot.
We will try not to focus on his defensive woes, because surely the opponent's offense will do that. Although, more and more, he is at least in the correct spot, even if his feet look like they’re running ladders while the rest of him tries to play defense.
Nothing says “We have no idea how to fix this”, like starting a rookie who has played meaningful minutes in only two games this season.
Starting Bobby has a lot more to do with helping the second unit than Bobby being good enough to start. I just dread the idea of a front-court anchored by Niko and Bobby. That sounds like an awful lot of bad shots going up very quickly. It is a small sample size to judge Portis on any part of his game, but he has been getting up nearly a shot per minute. We already know Niko is prone to mental mistakes and ill advised shot selection - best not to pair him with a rookie that will undoubtedly make those same mistakes as well.
The two biggest upsides to Bobby starting are the team coming out with energy at the start of the game; and at home games, getting the crowd into the game early which will help the rest of the team keep up the energy, hopefully. (It is really sad how quiet the UC has been recently. I can’t even joke about that.)
The biggest downside. . . announcers not named Neil and Stacey talking about Bobby’s crazy eyes. It will get old soon people, I promise.
I hear his backwards over the head half-court shot is wet.