Always been my team growing up watching Chicago Bulls lead by Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. One of the greatest teams of all time.
Fast forward to the playoffs of 2015 and Chicago Bulls are on vacation watching from home. By the far the best team the Bulls have assembled since the dismantling of the fabled Jordan era. The talent was there to go all the way shot blockers, rebounders, post game, outside shooting, mid range shooting, perimeter defenders, slashers, play makers, great passing big men.
What was lacking however…was execution. Poor decision making, bad minute distribution, poor floor spacing, lack of player AND ball movement, lack of actual offensive plays.
If I were coach of the Bulls the game plan would be to let Snell and Butler be the primary defenders on Lebron, no double teaming unless a big can come over to help without giving up a easy layup. Shut down the shooters, no space for them to breathe at all times and box out Triston Thompson. Kyrie was limping so whoever Kyrie was guarding Rose or Brooks have them ATTACK Kyrie and make Kyrie chase them all over the court with and without the ball even encourage some crossovers here and there to put his feet and ankles to the test once and a while wear him down.
Lebron will get his points but just make him work on both ends of the floor. Whoever Lebron is guarding needs to run all over the court and expend energy chasing thru screens on defense and then when he has the ball just do your best to keep your body between him and the basket and contest everything you can with minimal double teams.
While Gasol was able to play, space the floor well with shooters Noah top of the key and have Gasol post up and close to the basket as he possibly canTHEN get the ball to him, if he is doubled it is the man whose opens job to make himself available to were Gasol can see him and make the pass while everyone maintains proper spacing for easy passes while the defense may try to recover.
Most times Rose should just be Isolated and let him create off the dribble no screen needed especially against a hobbled Kyrie. Give him the green light to attack unless the laned is closed make the smart decision to kick it out to the open man. Rose can take his man off dribble finish and or make a play for his teammates and all his teammates have to do is get themselves in position to score. Isolating Rose DOES NOT mean everyone stand and watch. For example dunleavy can be in corner waiting for a kick out pass for a three but Noah roaming 10 to 12 feet from the basket outside the paint can come out set a pick for Dunleavy and Dunleavy and run past the pick to the opposite corner for a simple catch and shoot. Simple..basketball is simple why make it hard?
So many things the Bulls could do to generate high percentage shots instead of Rose pulling up for a contested three 2 feet beyond the arch or Rose dribbling the ball and everyone watching. Just sad.
Triston Thompson should have been bodied and boxed out at all times to keep him off the glass as well as the their center. Keep the center as far away from the basket as possible. No space for the shooters to breathe and contest all their shots and the Bulls would have crushed this Cavs team.
The other concern I had was the minute distribution. Why would anyone keep starters in the game when their team is up by 30 points in the fourth quarter with less then 10 minutes left? This Bulls team was deep. I’d have utilized every player as much as i could to keep players fresh, build stronger chemistry, and gain experience. For example: whenever James Jones or Miller came on the floor I’d give Mcdermott the nod and tell him, stay on them, no space to shoot and contest everything. Get yourself open, move without the ball catch and shoot, thats your job.
My final thought….all the Bulls teams Thibodeau coached played great defense, premeter and interior and moved with and without the ball and it was fun to watch. Now the Bulls have a complete team and all that is gone. Why?