After a very poor second half that essentially lost the game for Chicago against New Orleans, it was expected that the Bulls would come out gunning against the Detroit Pistons. But that wasn't the case against Detroit either. The Bulls were outplayed in the second half and showed a weakness on defense throughout the whole game, a game where they gave up 38 fourth quarter points to the Pistons.
Chicago's new style should help its offensive efficiency but it won't be worth it if the defense becomes nonexistent.
Many expected a regression on the defensive end due to the change in style from Fred Hoiberg to Tom Thibodeau, but the defensive effort against Detroit was poor.
Look for Fred Hoiberg to continue to mix and match lineups in hopes that he will find the perfect match. He started Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol against the Pistons but started the second half with Nikola Mirtoic replacing Noah. Could Hoiberg replace Noah in the lineup with a younger and quicker big man?
Most of Hoiberg's offense is what the Warriors did last year in the Finals when they played Draymond Green at the four and the Cavaliers couldn't seem to keep up with Golden State.
Hoiberg will also likely to give more minutes to younger players like Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis. McDermott leads the Bulls in scoring during the pre-season with a 16.1 points per game average. He is loving life, coming off screens, and finding himself open around the three-point line. He has shown flashes of his versatility as he can post up and play with his back towards the basket. But with the Bulls tight for minutes in the frontcourt, the best position for McDermott seems to be the three position. He will likely embrace a Kyle Korver like role and provide a spark off the bench for the Bulls.
Another concern for the Bulls has been Jimmy Butler's poor play in the pre-season. He went 4 of 10 from the field and had 10 points with five rebounds in 30 minutes of action after scoring 23 points in the opener against Milwaukee. Butler has failed to score more than 15 points and has also failed to shoot higher than 50 percent since that game. He has also stopped getting to the foul line as he has attempted no more than four shots per game since the opener. Getting to the line was Butler's bread and butter, and he needs to get back to attacking the basket. With Derrick Rose out for the pre-season, this was Butler's chance to prove to the fans and Hoiberg that this was his team to lead now. He is still giving a good defensive effort and hustles on every play. But his mini drought on offense gives some cause for concern about the star shooting guard.
After two poor outings by the Bulls, they will look to beat a Charlotte team that is going through an identity crisis. Chicago can score but it doesn't mean anything if they can stop anyone.