Chicago Bulls trying to catch up to NBA's 3-point trend
It was five years ago, way back in the 2014-15 season, when the Houston Rockets became the first NBA team to average 30 3-point attempts per game.
The trend evolved quickly. Last season, 19 teams averaged at least 30 3-point shots per contest, led by those Rockets with a record 45.4.
The Chicago Bulls have been a little behind the times in that regard. During the past five seasons, they ranked 27th, sixth, 24th, 16th and 28th in 3-point attempts.
Preseason suggests that's going to change.
In the three games where their starters played, the Bulls launched 37, 38 and 49 3-pointers. The 49 attempts Sunday at Toronto would have been a franchise record had it happened in the regular season.
On Monday at the Advocate Center, Bulls coach Jim Boylen was asked how many is too many?
"I thought every one of them was a good shot," he said. "We can shoot 40, 45, 49 if they're good looks, they're off good ball movement, I'm fine with it. It's the ones off the bounce, contested, that we want to stay away from."
Of course, any team can toss up a bunch of long shots. The good teams make a few.
The Bulls have gotten good results out of their primary scorers. Zach LaVine is shooting 57.9 percent (11-for-19) from 3-point range in the preseason. Lauri Markkanen is at 44.4 percent (8-for-18). Tomas Satoransky is an efficient 4-for-5.
Everyone else has room to improve. The rest of the roster has shot 23.9 percent.
"I mean, we've been shooting them and we've been making them," LaVine said. "Continue to do that and I think we might be able to outscore some teams."
The other major goal when it comes to style of play is moving fast. This has been a goal of the Bulls since coach Fred Hoiberg arrived in 2015 and has met varying degrees of success. According to nba.com, the Bulls rank ninth in pace during the preseason.
Boylen thinks the team is in better shape with depth, but he sent a message to the players in April about getting prepared to run for four quarters.
"The conditioning piece was the No. 1 thing that we talked about," Boylen said. "What happens in our league is people say they want to play fast, guys say, 'We want to run.' Well to run, what you do have to be? You've got to be tough and you've got to be in shape.
"So those are the things that I focused on and believe in. If you're running hard at the offensive end and you're in your stance at the defensive end, you're probably going to get fatigued quicker. So if you're going to get fatigued quicker we need more guys in the playing group."
Boylen expects to use a 10-man rotation and have other guys ready to hit the ground running in the case of injuries.
"We've had a tough camp," LaVine said. "I try to be the best conditioned guy, and I feel pretty well in shape right now. But the more we run and we get used to playing at this high pace, I think everybody will come into it. I don't think everybody's in the best shape, but for the team we're not that bad."
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