Miami Heat v New York Knicks

Have doubts about how Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler will fit together? You’re not alone. Despite Rondo and Wade’s big names, the Chicago Bulls’ acquisitions have mostly caused confusion, not excitement. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, though, is predictably sunny about the prospects of these three playmakers sharing the ball.
From the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson:

“Dwyane is a tough matchup for opposing teams with him and Jimmy (Butler) on the wings and Rajon (Rondo) at the point. A lot of how we attack will be based on matchups and who the defender is and whose hands we’re going to put the ball in to make plays.”

“We have multiple playmakers now, multiple guys who can get in the paint. We do have floor spacing on this team. It will be important to have guys who can knock down shots.”

“Great players always figure it out,” Hoiberg said. “It has to be about one thing, and that’s winning. Based on who has the hot hand on any given night, you play through that guy, and the rest of the team plays off him.”
Asked who gets the last shot in a tie game, Hoiberg laughed before answering.

“We’ll see who has it going,” he said.


Hoiberg also referred to Wade making 3-pointers “at a very high rate in the playoffs,” and said that he has spent his time lately “watching a lot of film to see how to best utilize the talents of the players on our roster.” It’s his job to try to make this work, so this is what he’s supposed to say.
Fred Hoiberg coaching the Bulls
Fred Hoiberg has a lot to think about. USATSI

A few thoughts:

Hoiberg’s answer on what to do at the end of the game is just fine. Honestly, crunch-time plays should be the least of Chicago’s concerns for now. It’s good to have more than one player who wants the ball with the game on the line, and the goal in those situations is to create an open shot, not necessarily to have a star play hero ball.

The sentence that stands out to me is, “We do have floor spacing on this team.” Do they? Nikola Mirotic is by far the Bulls’ best shooter, but he’s streaky and he’s their only stretch 4 until Bobby Portis extends his range. In order to sign Wade, they gave up Mike Dunleavy and Jose Calderon. Doug McDermott is going to need a lot of minutes, and Tony Snell will need to become much more consistent if he’s going to avoid losing his spot to rookie Denzel Valentine. Even if the bench units are more balanced, it’ll be tricky for the Bulls to keep defenses honest on the perimeter when Rondo and Wade are on the floor.

You can make the argument that the Bulls’ obvious offensive issues are a little overstated — Wade is still dangerous off the ball because he’s one of the best cutters in the league. The potential defensive problems, though, should probably be discussed more. Rondo’s reputation as a defender has taken a hit the last few years not just because he tore his ACL three years ago, but because his effort has been inconsistent. Wade has declined on that end, too, and it’s unlikely that these trends will reverse.

Hoiberg might have the toughest job in the NBA next season. His three most prominent players are all best with the ball in their hands, and his preferred system requires better shooting, passing and speed than Chicago has. This is a veteran team that wants to win now, and there has been a ton of roster turnover. Maybe he and his three playmakers can figure things out, but it doesn’t seem simple.

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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