We’re more than a quarter into the NBA regular season, and the Bulls currently sit at 13-10, good enough for the 5th seed in the East, which is honestly better than I expected. Bulls fans should be pleased with this team as a whole, but some players deserve more credit than others, so I’ve taken the liberty of grading our Bulls. Grades will be assigned on a primary school grading scale, because why the hell not.
- O – Outstanding
- S – Satisfactory
- N – Needs Improvement
- U – Unsatisfactory
Jimmy Butler: O 25.6/6.7/4.1
Jimmy G. Buckets has somehow improved his game by leaps and bounds, again. He has been asked to carry even more of the scoring load, and has answered the call, getting to the basket at will. His drives have been incredibly positive plays for the Bulls offense, as Jimmy is drawing fouls at an career high rate, and is also only turning the ball over on 3% percent of his drives. This means his drives are resulting in either a layup, foul drawn or open shot for a teammate the vast majority of the time. Whether that teammate has the ability to make those shots…is another story
(Just so we’re clear, I’m referring to Nikola Mirotic).
Dwyane Wade: O 20.2/4.2/3.4
Father Prime has been well worth the money GarPax shelled out for him; he’s been slashing to the hoop as he’s always done, but he also has added a 3pt shot to his offensive repertoire, shooting a respectable 34.3% on 3.2 attempts per game. This has forced defenders to acknowledge the 3pt shot, which has enabled Wade to get past defenders into the lane, even after he’s lost a step in old age. And his passing has been phenomenal in the paint, dishing it off to Taj and RoLo for plenty of easy looks. Wade has also helped to improve our transition offense, something that the Bulls haven’t seen in a few years, and his vision has blessed us with some incredible fast break plays from both Dwayne and Jimmy.
Rajon Rondo: N 8.3/6.6/7.0
It’s been easy to criticize Rondo during his Bulls’ tenure, but this is exactly what we should’ve expected; a stat-stuffing PG that can’t shoot, is a net negative defensively and creates more turnovers than good looks for his teammates. For a “pass first” guard, the numbers really don’t show it, considering that on passes from Rondo, the only players shooting above their season average are Lopez and Wade. He’s gotten plenty of open looks created by Jimmy and Dwyane, but has been unable to convert them, shooting “open” (defender 4ft+ away) three’s at a 28.6% clip. Defenses are abandoning him and making life way harder than it needs to be for Butler and Wade, and I think Hoiberg needs to seriously consider staggering the minutes so Rondo spends as little time on the court with them as possible.
Taj Gibson: O 12.1/7.9/1.5
Taj Gibson is literally a Toyota Camry; he’s been in Chicago forever and has been the most dependable player on this roster year in and year out. I’m glad he’s finally secured his starting spot, and he’s responded by putting up career highs in FG% and rebounds. He’s been going to work in the post, and has benefitted from Jimmy and Wade’s drives, hitting open looks from midrange and feasting on the open dunking lanes that they create. His offensive rebounding has been stellar, per usual, and he’s a huge reason as to why the Bulls are an offensive rebounding juggernaut (grabbing 29.6% of their misses).
Robin Lopez: S 9.7/7.9/1.9 (blocks)
His shooting has not been great, and he looks like a giant Sideshow Bob, but it’s all about perspective here. Would you rather have the perpetually in quicksand Joakim Noah at $17M per year, averaging 4 points per game with a 109.1 DefensiveRating? Or Robin Lopez at $13M, who is still able to leave the ground, and has a 5.9 net rating? He’s been blocking shots, and cleaning up the offensive glass alongside Taj, which is really all we can ask for. He’s a player who does his job, and every team needs those guys.
Nikola Mirotic: U 8.8/5.7/1.0
So much for this piece of human garbage being a “3pt threat”. Niko shoots more than half of his three’s open (4-6ft) or wide open (6ft+0) and is shooting 33.3% on those attempts!!!! Just to keep that in perspective, Dwyane Wade, the guy who decided to start shooting three’s THIS YEAR, is better than Niko at 3pt shooting. On jump shots overall, he’s shooting a just a wonderful 28.6%. I can keep going if you want. The guy gets crossed over every single game it seems, and he just gets eaten alive in the post by any competent big man. I cannot believe this is the guy who was a key piece in the potential Carmelo Anthony trade.
Isaiah Canaan: N 6.8/1.7/1.1
Canaan has been struggling on the catch and shoot, hitting them at only a 27.4% clip. History says that will improve, but he’s literally only on the floor to hit open three’s, and he hasn’t been able to do that. If the shot doesn’t improve soon, Fred should start limiting his minutes.
Bobby Portis: N 4.1/3.2/0.8
I love this dude, but why Hoiberg ever gave Bobby serious minutes in crunch time is beyond me. His defense has been horrendous, with a 109.1 DefensiveRating, and he hasn’t been able to hit a shot other than layups and dunks. Crazy Eyes is not without hope, though, because I think he still has the potential to develop a consistent 3pt shot and play average defense, and at this point that will suffice over Mirotic.
Cristiano Felicio: S 3.0/3.9/0.4
Felicio has taken advantage of every opportunity thrown his way, showcasing his raw athleticism any chance he gets. He’s been a high energy guy that has fought his way into the rotation, and it’s good to see that Fred has rewarded him. Having more serviceable big men is never a bad thing, and this also should light a fire under Portis’s ass that he needs to step it up.