Cue up the slow, dramatic music because it’s time for a sad sports story, and right now there are few teams in the NBA sadder than the 4-9 Bulls.
Where to start? With so many issues in a season gone wrong thus far, the finger-pointing can go in many directions. It starts with an offense expected to be playoff-worthy, but the numbers tell a much different story.
The Bulls entered Sunday ranked 27th in offensive efficiency (the number of points scored per 100 possessions) at 101.1 and have spent the first month of the season force-feeding three-point shots. They are ranked eighth in three-point attempts (35.5 attempts per game) but just 24th in three-pointers made (32.5 percent).
There has been a lot of standing around, a whole lot of stagnant moments and some head-shaking explanations from the players.
Guard Zach LaVine was very careful not to come out and slam coach Jim Boylen’s offense after the latest loss to the Nets, but he did point out some flaws.
“We get stagnant a lot out there,’’ LaVine said. “We’ll run one action, and then everybody is staring at the person with the ball. We gotta get more fluid. I don’t feel a lot of people are in rhythm. When that happens, obviously everybody starts trying to do it themselves.
“It’s tough. I blame myself. I try to do that, as well. I’m in the gym late. I’m putting up shots. I’m making sure I’m prepared so I can do everything I can to help. We gotta do a better job as a team.’’
LaVine did say that when he senses those stagnant moments, he has tried to get some more action going out there, insisting,
“I try to call a pick-and-roll most
of the time when that happens, and then if nothing comes from that, I’m going to take the shot or pass it.’’
So why the lack of cutting? That’s where LaVine doesn’t paint the prettiest of pictures.
“I mean, it’s our offense,’’ LaVine said. “We have a five-out offense. So it gets tough when we get to those stagnant points because that’s how it’s supposed to be.’’
And it sounds like that’s how it’s going to stay, at least for the time being.
Boylen has been asked about the offense for more than a week and again was forced to address its shortcomings after a 9-for-39 three-point shooting night against the Nets on Saturday.
Specifically, he was asked if he had any changes planned, either with philosophy or personnel.
“I think we’ve got to stay the course,’’ Boylen said. “I can’t play for them. They’ve got to come out, and they’ve got to do it.’’
While LaVine and Boylen have a much better relationship than they did initially when Boylen took over last December, don’t expect LaVine to take his concerns to the coaches. Yes, he’s the most talented player on the roster and a leader, but LaVine is staying in his lane on this one.
“Hey, man, I’ve got to do whatever he says,’’ LaVine said of Boylen. “You know I’m going to give you that answer.
“We put so much work into [this offense]. You don’t just want to abandon something you’ve been working on consistently. We’ve been here since September working on it. You don’t want to call it quits so early. That’s their department. They go in there and create that, so I’ve just got to be prepared. We’ll be OK. We just got to get it done, get a sense of urgency.’’