Bulls' offensive plan may need some changes
The Bulls headed into the season wanting to push the pace and shoot more 3-pointers.
As of Monday morning, they ranked ninth in 3-point attempts (35.7 per game) and 26th in 3-point percentage (.312), along with 16th in pace.
So the original plan is not panning out, needless to say. The Bulls have gone 2-5 against opponents with a combined 17-26 record through Sunday.
What the Bulls seem to do well is run the pick-and-roll. It's been an effective way to get shots near the basket and has helped center Wendell Carter Jr. become the team's most efficient scorer.
Is it time to admit the Bulls don't have enough good shooters to try to emulate the Houston Rockets by shooting 40 3-pointers per game? Point guard Tomas Satoransky and coach Jim Boylen weren't ready to go that far after Monday's practice at the United Center.
"Offensively, we're missing our pace from the preseason and I think sometimes we're not taking open shots," Satoransky said. "Instead we're taking the tough ones, and I think that has to change and those are the details we're working on every day. But I think our pace has to be different and better."
Added Boylen: "We know how we want to play. Our shot distribution tells you how we want to play. We haven't played as well as we hoped. And I don't think we've played as well as we're going to play."
By shot distribution, Boylen means the areas on the floor. His goal is to take the majority of shots either at the rim or open looks from the 3-point line.
Just as the Bulls haven't been very accurate from 3-point range, they are not finishing well near the rim, either. For example, Zach LaVine is shooting 47.1 percent from less than 10 feet, according to nba.com, while Lauri Markkanen is at 51.2 percent.
"We make a couple more shots, our records different. We make a couple more stops our record's different," Boylen said. "Our record is what it is, and my job is to keep coaching and develop this group of men."
Satoransky's scoring numbers are lower than expected. He's averaging 6.4 points and shooting just 37 percent from the field. But he has been a good distributor, collecting 9 assists in Sunday's loss to Indiana. The Bulls got Satoransky from Washington in a sign-and-trade this summer.
Satoransky looked like a rising star when he led the Czech Republic to a surprising sixth-place finish at the FIBA World Cup in China in September. He doesn't think that event wore him out for the NBA season.
"It's a frustrating start for me as well," he said. "I expected better from myself, but I'm playing as hard as I did in the World Cup. I'm never taking days off."
As the Bulls move forward and play more challenging opponents -- beginning Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers -- Boylen may want to find ways for Satoransky and Carter to get more involved in the offense.
"Sometimes it's on the point guards and me to figure out what is the best play to run for each player, but I think we're getting there," Satoransky said. "It's a new group and we know what we have to do, but sometimes knowing is different than doing on the court."
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Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 7 p.m. Tuesday at the United Center
TV: NBCSCH • Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: The new-look Lakers are off to a good start, with 5 straight wins after a season-opening loss to the Clippers. ... Chicago native Anthony Davis leads the team with 28.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, while LeBron James is rolling along at 25.5 points, 11.2 assists and 8 rebounds. Two other players in double figures are SG Danny Green (11.2 ppg) and PG Avery Bradley (10.7). C Dwight Howard had 14 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday's win over San Antonio. ... SF Kyle Kuzma has played in two games after missing the start of the season. PG Rajon Rondo has been out with a calf injury. ... The Bulls have lost five straight in the series.
Next: Atlanta Hawks, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at State Farm Arena
-- Mike McGraw