The Bulls defense looked strong again against the Magic on
Tuesday, holding on for their third win of the season. However, they are going
to need a much better performance in their next game if they hope to beat the
Thunder. Let’s look forward to Thursday’s matchup and at another piece of the
Bulls lackluster offense. Finally, I’d like to give my condolences to those at
the United Center on Tuesday who were one point shy of free Big Macs. If only
Noah could have hit that controversial three ball...
By the numbers, the Bulls and Thunder are very similar teams
this season. They both have some of the best defenses in the league; the Bulls
and Thunder are #1 and #5 in defensive efficiency respectively (points allowed
per 100 possessions). Both teams are also in a dead heat in terms of offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) with the Bulls offensive rating
at 104.4 and the Thunder at 104.3.
What to do with Richard
Richard Hamilton has been far from spectacular on offense so
far this season, despite averaging 12.3 PPG. His offensive efficiency is way
down this year, mostly a result of trying to create too many opportunities for
himself. Is it time for Rip to throw in the towel?
Looking at Rip’s offensive rating versus time, you see a
steady rise since his rookie season until 2007 where he seemed to peak and then
began to decline. Rip is no longer
the player he used to be back with the Pistons, and one might think it’s time
for Old Rip to retire. However, an important note is that Hamilton’s usage % (an
estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor)
has remained fairly constant throughout his career. Rip is still a good basketball player and still can add
value to the Bulls, but he needs to stop trying to be the player he once was.
If Rip limits his attempts to only high percentage shots and stops trying to
catch and shoot so often, he will become a much more efficient player and allow
for others to score. It would behoove Tom Thibodeau to start Marco Belinelli in
Hamilton’s stead against the Thunder. Belinelli is only using a modest 16.1% of
team possessions while maintaining the second highest offensive rating on the
team, which is just what the doctor ordered for a middling offense.