On paper the Chicago Bulls have started the season just fine. They’ve got a new head coach, nurse they’re 8-4 and sitting pretty at third in the Eastern Conference – no sweat right? I beg to differ. This Bulls roster isn’t necessarily star-studded like some of their competitors, check but rather stocked with plenty of seven-foot monsters. What’s the problem you ask? The Bulls either have failed to use their size advantage against opponents all while some big guys are struggling to find themselves all together. It’s a BIG mess.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 21, 2015
My biggest concern is Joakim Noah who honestly seems like he needs a hug. Jo-No spoke out after the Bulls’ loss to Golden State, his fifth scoreless game of the season,
“I’ve got to be more aggressive offensively and look for my opportunities. Right now I’m not really sure where I can get them, but when they come I have to be ready and I have to be ready to score.”
Noah’s stats are at an all-time career low. His offense is just straight up missing currently averaging 2.5 points a game. It’s almost like he’s afraid to take shots he’s made a million times before. Let’s not even talk about rebounding, blocks and minutes played. With such poor offense, he hasn’t earned a spot in the starting rotation yet this season either. Coming off the bench is an obstacle in itself for Jo who’s always been a starter with the Bulls, but he’s normally such a force to be reckoned with it’s heartbreaking to see him so somber. Jo-No needs a serious confidence boost, otherwise we may never see the Defensive Player Year of seasons past.
— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) November 23, 2015
NBA-vet Pau Gasol also has some concerns. His stats are far less tragic than Noah’s, but he isn’t moving and grooving like he’s used to either. As of right now, Gasol’s stats are similar to 2012-2013 when he missed 33 games due to injury. He isn’t a spring chicken in his rookie season, but he’s healthy at the moment and averaging fewer than 30 minutes a game (a career low). Gasol spoke out after the Bulls loss to the warriors as well,
“Sometimes we go one way and sometimes we go another. Especially when they go small they’ve got an advantage on the other end because they are going to spread the floor. But then you have to punish them on offense, make them pay for going small. That’s what we didn’t do; we don’t do enough. That’s the balance between our outside game and our inside game.”
Gasol knows he’s crucial to any team he’s a part of and he wants more opportunities to score. Derrick Rose is scheduled to come back against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and hopefully he’ll be able to set up some pick-n-rolls for Gasol.
It’s tough to see such prominent players struggling to find their place on this Bulls team – especially Noah who’s been the heart and soul of Chicago basketball for the last nine years. These guys both need big bowl of confidence for breakfast and they should be fine. It’s still too early to send in the cavalry.