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Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown

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Leslie Forman
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#21 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:00 am

MikeDC wrote:A team that's in the bottom of the league in 3 of the four key defensive determinants is not a good defensive team.

That's a myopic view of defense. Points allowed is points allowed. Whatever you do to allow the fewest points possible with your personnel doesn't matter.

MikeDC wrote:The claim that they were a good or even average defensive team is basically smoke and mirrors.

Were they or were they not above average when it came to points allowed per possession?

Defense is defense, and you seem to be far more concerned with what kind of defense it is, rather than how effective it is.

dougthonus wrote:Agree that the defense was a lot of smoke and mirrors, but in a totally different way than you. They used enough smoke and mirrors to on the whole be average with defensive personnel that was on the whole pretty far below average.

Yeah people are complaining just like how people used to complain that the Suns or Rockets were playing gimmick basketball that couldn't win. That "gimmick" is the only reason they played as well as they did and made you think they could actually be better.

If you have a roster that can't win playing "regular" basketball, try something different. He did. It actually kinda worked. I'd like to see someone tell me how this roster without Porter is somehow better than, say, Atlanta or Minnesota's roster. Look how absolutely trash those teams were with their young photogenic media darling coaches.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#22 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:15 am

Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:A team that's in the bottom of the league in 3 of the four key defensive determinants is not a good defensive team.

That's a myopic view of defense. Points allowed is points allowed. Whatever you do to allow the fewest points possible with your personnel doesn't matter.
[/quote]

Ha ha. In the Bulls case the Bulls seemed to employ a strategy of letting the opponent get so far ahead that that they didn’t bother trying to score too hard anymore.

Their defense was good in garbage time and terrible (literally the worst in the league) in meaningful situations.

Basically, good defense happened only when it didn’t matter.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#23 » by dougthonus » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:25 am

MikeDC wrote:Ha ha. In the Bulls case the Bulls seemed to employ a strategy of letting the opponent get so far ahead that that they didn’t bother trying to score too hard anymore.

Their defense was good in garbage time and terrible (literally the worst in the league) in meaningful situations.

Basically, good defense happened only when it didn’t matter.


The Bulls were definitely the worst in high leverage situations, but they weren't doing all their great defensive work in garbage time.

They were 11th in the NBA in the 1st half of games, where clearly it was not garbage time yet and the games were meaningful. I think teams figured them out and crushed them in the second half, much like you said, their bag of tricks wasn't that deep when teams adjusted to them.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#24 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:51 am

MikeDC wrote:Ha ha. In the Bulls case the Bulls seemed to employ a strategy of letting the opponent get so far ahead that that they didn’t bother trying to score too hard anymore.

Their defense was good in garbage time and terrible (literally the worst in the league) in meaningful situations.

Basically, good defense happened only when it didn’t matter.

And how was that more "normal" defense working for them the previous two years?

They came in 24th in W/L, 23rd in SRS and 22nd in NetRtg. So let's say they were the 23rd best team. You obviously believe they would have been a clearly better team, at least a few spots higher than that with a competent coach.

That's essentially Spurs/Blazers/Suns territory. If you think this team had any business being in that group, well then I think you have a completely inflated view of this roster and its actual capabilities.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#25 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:31 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:Ha ha. In the Bulls case the Bulls seemed to employ a strategy of letting the opponent get so far ahead that that they didn’t bother trying to score too hard anymore.

Their defense was good in garbage time and terrible (literally the worst in the league) in meaningful situations.

Basically, good defense happened only when it didn’t matter.

And how was that more "normal" defense working for them the previous two years?

They came in 24th in W/L, 23rd in SRS and 22nd in NetRtg. So let's say they were the 23rd best team. You obviously believe they would have been a clearly better team, at least a few spots higher than that with a competent coach.

That's essentially Spurs/Blazers/Suns territory. If you think this team had any business being in that group, well then I think you have a completely inflated view of this roster and its actual capabilities.


I mean, those questions are all over the place, and, really, they're not consistent internally. Would you actually care if they won two or four more games? Seems like a kind of myopic approach to things.... Like, the team isn't even the same as the two years ago. But...

For example, the Suns only won 4 more games than us, so it's not like that's a huge stretch. It's probably about accurate if the Bulls really set their mind to it. They also had a lot more offensive talent (but were playing in a tougher conference) so I think it's feasible we would win four more games but it still wouldn't even mean we're as talented as them the western conference teams that won an equal number of games. So there's a lot of pretty obvious flux in what those numbers mean.

(which was really my whole point... people shouldn't be trumpeting one piece of evidence and ignoring the rest, especially when the one is at odds with the many)

But anyway... 4 games, definitely doable through better coaching for this particular Bulls team.
1. Actually change defenses tactically. People confuse the fact that the Bulls were predictable with the fact that the defense was complicated. Instead of hitting the sweet spot of unpredictable but simple, the Bulls under Boylen hit the sour spot of being predictable but complicated. They look at the Bulls as a young team and say, "see, you have to keep it simple for them". But the blitzing defense isn't simple. It's complicated as hell! Everyone is running around rotating like crazy to cover the fact that your big is running out. Simply going from the Blitz most of the time to a normal switching defense about half of that time would have been less complicated but also less predictable. Throwing in another shade of strategy but generally dropping the big back and playing over screens when the personnel/situation called for it (e.g. you've got Kornet playing center, the opposition isn't great with shooting, you are trying to control the ball and the clock) would have been less predictable still, but still not complicated in the sense that it's actually a simply defense for players to run.

So the answer here is that this coaching change would make the defense less predictable to the opponent but easier for our players.

2. Flowing out of the first point, the blitzing scheme wasn't well suited to our players. The best use of a guy like Kornet (and Lauri, when playing the 5), who actually can protect the rim, is not chasing 6'2 dudes. He should be letting them come to him. Drop back, stay at home more for the bigs. Less blitzing would also reduce the numbers of reads and decisions Lauri and Zach had to make to cover the secondary movement off the blitz, because that sure as hell wasn't their forte.

So, this change can be summarized as getting more out of our players by asking them to play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

3. If winning games is truly a priority, they play more Carter-Young-Sato-Dunn together. Those guys are all good defenders, but they weren't played together that consistently. Doing this in combination with 1 and 2 would be a really strong upgrade.

That is, defensively, play your better players more.

Add those three things together, and it's easy to imagine how this team would have not gotten overrun quite so consistently when the opponent decided to get serious. Would we actually be good? Nope, but we'd be better than we were, and it's certainly conceivable that we would have picked up 3 or 4 of the 20 or so that we lost but at least looked good for a while in and managed to keep close.

Of course, that's also factoring in similar shifts in the offense, to stop with the myopic fixation on 3 and rim shots (even when they sucked) and take (again) the less predictable and also less complicated approach of taking good shots. Taking some open mid-range shots, at the margin, would open up better opportunities at the rim.

As a final note, I'd also say that I'd be perfectly happy if they did this and didn't win any additional games because the additional quality was offset in mistakes and poor offense from opportunities given to developing Coby, Wendell and Lauri, and right-sizing expectations about Zach's long-term best fitting role.

With that group, long-term should have been the focus, and development and playing well should have taken precedence over winning.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#26 » by dougthonus » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:38 pm

MikeDC wrote:...


While I think it's possible to be generally down on all of these things when looking at the Bulls season, which was disappointing even to modest expectations, you have the following areas you can say went badly:

1: Coaching under performed

2: Players under performed

3: Injuries killed us

4: Other? (not sure what other would be, but certainly possible I'm missing something)

Bulls were on pace for 28 wins. I think they should have been a 35ish win team, so 7 wins falls pretty far short of that level percentage wise. How much do you factor each of the above in that short fall.

I think all three were problems, but I'd probably rank them in order of
1: Injuries
2: Player performance
3: Coaching
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#27 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:45 pm

dougthonus wrote:
MikeDC wrote:...


While I think it's possible to be generally down on all of these things when looking at the Bulls season, which was disappointing even to modest expectations, you have the following areas you can say went badly:

1: Coaching under performed

2: Players under performed

3: Injuries killed us

4: Other? (not sure what other would be, but certainly possible I'm missing something)

Bulls were on pace for 28 wins. I think they should have been a 35ish win team, so 7 wins falls pretty far short of that level percentage wise. How much do you factor each of the above in that short fall.

I think all three were problems, but I'd probably rank them in order of
1: Injuries
2: Player performance
3: Coaching


Pretty sure my post provided the mathematical foundation for an answer there.
1. Coaching cost us 3-5 games in the season. I estimated 4, which would have put on on pace for like 32ish wins over an 82 game season.
2. It's reasonable to imagine that injuries cost us 3-5 games, mostly due to Porter and Carter. So that gets us to the 35ish area.
3. Player performance is really nebulous, so you're going to have to be more specific about what you mean. I've researched Carter, White, Lauri, and Young's seasons in a lot of detail (posted elsewhere) and a lot of their "poor performance" was attributable to scheme or injury.

For example, Lauri's shooting decline was attributed to poor performance, but I showed how it was largely (though not entirely) attributable to changes in usage. He got a little worse at hitting wide open shots but a little better at hitting open shots. So in some respects he performed better and in others worse. His performance in "making plays while 30 feet from the basket" was relatively unchanged, it's just that he looked worse because he was tasked with that sort of thing more often. But that's coaching, not player performance.

Likewise, Lauri was playing hurt for a good chunk of the season. Supposedly Otto Porter was too. So I would give most of that the benefit of doubt and call it "injury related" as well.

However, Porter showed up looking fat and disinterested to me. I watched those first games closely, and saw them in person, and he did not look like a guy who wanted to be playing. Maybe he felt the foot fracture coming on, but he had a definite "playing himself into shape" vibe going on, so I will call that "poor performance". It's also why the impact of his injury wasn't so great. If he had been playing at his peak level, it would have been a bigger impact to lose him, but the actual Otto Porter we got (and would have had if he's stayed healthy) was not peak Otto Porter. So I think that's the fairest guy to point to and say he "performed poorly" in addition to being hurt.

So, I guess I look at them as 35ish wins too, with a split of about 50/50 between coaching and injury/poor performance (being largely inseparable).

A final note about player performance, it's also consistent to say that players "overperformed" and I would have gladly given up a couple "wins" and suffered "lower performance" if the players had been given the chance to grow more.

This was most true with Coby and Wendell. They were very clearly limited in what their opportunities and "role" was. Like, those guys basically did what they were asked to do, which might have been less than they were capable of. Like, expanding Wendell's role so he could take more of the kinds of shots he can make, protect the rim more and gobble up more rebounds, and make passes out of the high post... those things would have made his "performance" seem better this year, but were ultimately coaching decisions.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#28 » by dougthonus » Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:55 pm

MikeDC wrote:Pretty sure my post provided the mathematical foundation for an answer there.
1. Coaching cost us 3-5 games in the season. I estimated 4, which would have put on on pace for like 32ish wins over an 82 game season.
2. It's reasonable to imagine that injuries cost us 3-5 games, mostly due to Porter and Carter. So that gets us to the 35ish area.
3. Player performance is really nebulous, so you're going to have to be more specific about what you mean. I've researched Carter, White, Lauri, and Young's seasons in a lot of detail (posted elsewhere) and a lot of their "poor performance" was attributable to scheme or injury.


It's an interesting discussion, I know throughout our discussions around Boylen that you and I are in very different places on this question. Your view is inherently considerably more optimistic, since your view would be that with a good coach, we could actually get back to average (now we could have a separate debate about whether competing for the 8th seed is really optimistic, but it's more optimistic than I am).

My view is that are players are really pretty poor and shoulder most of the blame and that we probably need to tear down this roster just to get back to 41 wins let alone try to even compete for something more.

I'll be rooting to change coaches and that you're correct. I mean I do think Boylen's lousy, so even though I don't think the impact will be big if he leaves, I do hope he does and we get someone else in.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#29 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:46 pm

MikeDC wrote:For example, the Suns only won 4 more games than us

Exactly.

Rubio
Booker
Oubre
Bridges
Saric
Ayton
Baynes

If you really think that the Bulls roster is somehow on par with that one, I'm sorry but you've been heckin bamboozled.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#30 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:07 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:For example, the Suns only won 4 more games than us


If you really think that the Bulls roster is somehow on par with that one, I'm sorry but you've been heckin bamboozled.


You don't have to apologize for that since I don't believe it. As I said in the part you selectively omitted:
They also had a lot more offensive talent (but were playing in a tougher conference) so I think it's feasible we would win four more games but it still wouldn't even mean we're as talented as them


Let's lay off the personal attacks - Doug
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#31 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:18 pm

MikeDC wrote:
Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:For example, the Suns only won 4 more games than us


If you really think that the Bulls roster is somehow on par with that one, I'm sorry but you've been heckin bamboozled.


You don't have to apologize for that since I don't believe it. As I said in the part you selectively omitted:
They also had a lot more offensive talent (but were playing in a tougher conference) so I think it's feasible we would win four more games but it still wouldn't even mean we're as talented as them


So maybe you should consider your ability to accurately understand and quote something you're responding to as a problem area and something you should consider apologizing for. Think of it as your own special form of player development.

So the Bulls clearly aren't as talented as the Suns…but they should be winning just as many games as the Suns…Boylen is also the worst coach in the entire country/galaxy/universe…even though he took a clearly less talented roster than the Suns' to a level just barely behind the Suns, even though they obviously have a better coach…sure. Whatever.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#32 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:48 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:
Leslie Forman wrote:
If you really think that the Bulls roster is somehow on par with that one, I'm sorry but you've been heckin bamboozled.


You don't have to apologize for that since I don't believe it. As I said in the part you selectively omitted:
They also had a lot more offensive talent (but were playing in a tougher conference) so I think it's feasible we would win four more games but it still wouldn't even mean we're as talented as them


So maybe you should consider your ability to accurately understand and quote something you're responding to as a problem area and something you should consider apologizing for. Think of it as your own special form of player development.

So the Bulls clearly aren't as talented as the Suns…but they should be winning just as many games as the Suns…Boylen is also the worst coach in the entire country/galaxy/universe…even though he took a clearly less talented roster than the Suns' to a level just barely behind the Suns, even though they obviously have a better coach…sure. Whatever.


Again, keep the personal stuff out of it - Doug

The Suns are a more talented team, but that is offset by the fact that they were playing more talented opposition.

It's not clear to me why you think talking around such an obvious fact is in any way constructive. It just makes it look like you're someone who can't face a really obvious fact that everyone else implicitly understands.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#33 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:00 pm

MikeDC wrote:The Suns are a more talented team, but that is offset by the fact that they were playing more talented opposition.

It's not clear to me why you think talking around such an obvious fact is in any way constructive. It just makes it look like you're someone who can't face a really obvious fact that everyone else implicitly understands.

We have SRS. It takes strength of schedule into account. The Bulls were 23rd. Virtually identical to another team that had a clearly better roster (Minnesota).

Why don't you just say where you really think this roster without a healthy Otto Porter should have been instead.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#34 » by MikeDC » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:21 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:The Suns are a more talented team, but that is offset by the fact that they were playing more talented opposition.

It's not clear to me why you think talking around such an obvious fact is in any way constructive. It just makes it look like you're someone who can't face a really obvious fact that everyone else implicitly understands.

We have SRS. It takes strength of schedule into account. The Bulls were 23rd. Virtually identical to another team that had a clearly better roster (Minnesota).

Why don't you just say where you really think this roster without a healthy Otto Porter should have been instead.


Um... I did. In detail. Just above. :noway:
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#35 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:55 pm

MikeDC wrote:
Leslie Forman wrote:
MikeDC wrote:The Suns are a more talented team, but that is offset by the fact that they were playing more talented opposition.

It's not clear to me why you think talking around such an obvious fact is in any way constructive. It just makes it look like you're someone who can't face a really obvious fact that everyone else implicitly understands.

We have SRS. It takes strength of schedule into account. The Bulls were 23rd. Virtually identical to another team that had a clearly better roster (Minnesota).

Why don't you just say where you really think this roster without a healthy Otto Porter should have been instead.


Um... I did. In detail. Just above. :noway:

SRS. They were 23rd. What do you think this team really is? the 16th-best team? The 10th-best team?
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#36 » by MikeDC » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:23 pm

dougthonus wrote:
MikeDC wrote:Pretty sure my post provided the mathematical foundation for an answer there.
1. Coaching cost us 3-5 games in the season. I estimated 4, which would have put on on pace for like 32ish wins over an 82 game season.
2. It's reasonable to imagine that injuries cost us 3-5 games, mostly due to Porter and Carter. So that gets us to the 35ish area.
3. Player performance is really nebulous, so you're going to have to be more specific about what you mean. I've researched Carter, White, Lauri, and Young's seasons in a lot of detail (posted elsewhere) and a lot of their "poor performance" was attributable to scheme or injury.


It's an interesting discussion, I know throughout our discussions around Boylen that you and I are in very different places on this question. Your view is inherently considerably more optimistic, since your view would be that with a good coach, we could actually get back to average (now we could have a separate debate about whether competing for the 8th seed is really optimistic, but it's more optimistic than I am).

My view is that are players are really pretty poor and shoulder most of the blame and that we probably need to tear down this roster just to get back to 41 wins let alone try to even compete for something more.

I'll be rooting to change coaches and that you're correct. I mean I do think Boylen's lousy, so even though I don't think the impact will be big if he leaves, I do hope he does and we get someone else in.


I wouldn't say topping out at 35-40 wins (with good coaching and relative health) is very optimistic. In the big picture, both the coaching problem and the player problem need to be fixed.

With respect to the players, I want opportunistic improvement. I'm not a fan of the idea of "rebuilding" or "tearing down" in general, and in this case it's especially true because there's nothing really "built" (and hence, nothing to "re" build or "tear down"). Those terms are usually euphemisms for cuttings costs anyway. I'd rather say the Bulls need to give them the most changes to get foundational players.
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Re: Chicago Bulls Defense Breakdown 

Post#37 » by dougthonus » Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:15 pm

MikeDC wrote:With respect to the players, I want opportunistic improvement. I'm not a fan of the idea of "rebuilding" or "tearing down" in general, and in this case it's especially true because there's nothing really "built" (and hence, nothing to "re" build or "tear down"). Those terms are usually euphemisms for cuttings costs anyway. I'd rather say the Bulls need to give them the most changes to get foundational players.


I look at it this way, the next time the Bulls make the playoffs, there's a good chance that there is no one currently on the roster whom will be a prominent reason as to why they made the playoffs.

Whether its rebuilding/tearing down/whatever, I think you definitely don't have any foundational pieces to great teams on this roster and may not even have a foundational piece to a good team. Maybe you have a few guys that could be 3rd/4th best players on a mid 40s type team.

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