Chicago Bulls Stat Monkey Brief: Bulls/Sixers (12/12/12)

Hey there Mr. Thibodeau, why aren't you letting (not so) little Jimmy Butler play?

If you're looking for the Sixers perspective on this game, go to Brett Wesiband's piece here: Philadelphia 76ers Stat Brief

The Bulls three-game win streak was extinguished last night after a tough loss to the Clippers at home. Today let’s take a look at another potential source of the Bulls’ continued offensive struggles and a peek at what to expect in tonight’s matchup.

Let the Kid Play!

It’s no secret that the Bulls offense has been struggling this season. I’ve commented on the topic a fair amount already, and the stats are surely there to back me up. The Bulls are currently ranked 19th in offensive efficiency, only averaging 103.3 points per 100 possessions. But is it really a personnel issue? Sure the Bulls are missing a key component right now in Rose, and are currently missing a solid points contributor in Hamilton.

However, I believe the Bulls are underutilizing one of their best assets in Jimmy Butler. He is posting an outstanding offensive rating of 134, and is credited with 0.9 offensive win shares (for more on win shares see, second only to Joakim Noah who has 1.0. Given his number of minutes, this is outstanding; Butler is averaging almost three-times as many offensive win shares per minute than his first string counterpart, Luol Deng. I’m not saying that Deng is by any means a bad player, but he leads the team in minutes played where Butler only ranks ninth.

All I’m saying is let’s give the kid some more time on the court and give him some more opportunities to use team possessions and maybe this offensive could find some consistency. Also, a note that the 6’9” Deng could potentially play the 4 instead of 6’9” Carlos Boozer, who only has accounted for 0.3 offensive win shares this season… Just a thought.

What to Watch for Tonight

One thing is for sure, tonight is bound to be a slow game as the Bulls and the Sixers rank 26th and 27th in pace respectively. This matchup also features two below average offenses matching up against above average defenses. Given those two factors, tonight’s contest should prove to be a fairly low scoring one. Also of note, the Bulls should find success on the glass tonight as they continue to control the boards effectively this season; the Sixers on the other hand have struggled on the boards so far this year.