Chicago Bulls Stat Monkey Brief: Bulls/Rockets (11/21/12)

After a two game losing streak, Bulls expert Andy Day takes a moment to ask What If?

The Bulls are coming off a two game losing streak as they head into game four of their five game road trip. After a nice start, the effects of losing the Bench Mob and Rose are finally starting to set in. The Bulls are hurting on both sides of the ball, so today we'll take a look at what might be the problem on D and what the O might look like with a healthy Rose before tonight's matchup at Houston.

Bulls Defense Struggles

The past two seasons under Tom Thibodeau , the Bulls have become notorious for their stout defense, and have been regarded as one of the best in the league. After the first few games this season, it appeared that this trend was continuing. However, since then, the Bulls defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) has been consistently rising (a bad thing). Because advanced statistics are limited in determining individual player performance on defense it is difficult to pinpoint which players are causing this slump. However, it is very clear in what area the Bulls have begun to slide.

The Bulls led the league in opponent eFG% (field goal percentage weighted to account for 3-pointers being more valuable) the past two seasons, holding opponents to 46.3 and 45.0 percent shooting respectively. This season, the Bulls are only slightly above average, currently tied for 12th in opponent eFG%. Especially with a very middling offense, it is key for the Bulls to play solid defense, and keeping their opponents' eFG% low should be just what they need.

What if Rose Was One of Us?

Ever wonder what the Bulls would look like if Rose was healthy? Every Bulls fan would tell you they would be the best team in the league. Well, I did a little analysis to predict what our offensive output would be if Rose was playing this season. Using past statistics for Rose, and past usage percentages from other players, I was able to figure out who is using the possessions that Rose would have been using. After crunching the numbers, I estimated that the Bulls would have an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 106.1, up from their current ORtg of 102.6.

Though slight, this difference would turn a subpar offense into an above average one. One thing to note, however, is that having Rose on the court would also likely account for having more players open, and thus create better opportunities for others. Also by Rose taking some of their possessions, it would likely increase the efficiency of each player by reducing their usage. Thus, this estimate is likely on the low end. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Bulls offense if and when Rose returns, but all signs are pointing way up.