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.