The Chicago Bulls never said die during the regular season. Even after the heartbreak of losing point guard Derrick Rose for another full season, the Bulls continued to fight and found themselves as the East’s four-seed heading into the 2014 NBA Playoffs. After two games, we’re about to see if they’ll say die now.
Chicago dropped games one and two at home to the Washington Wizards and are now on the road for game three in a big hole and with a multitude of issues at hand. Their trademark defense, ranking second-best in the league in the regular season, has been burned by John Wall and company. In fact, the Wizards have the fourth-best offensive rating in the postseason.
What has made the Bulls’ relative shortcomings defensively more prominent, though, is that they have been ailing offensively and haven’t even come close to stopping the bleeding. This is a team that struggled on that end of the floor for much of the regular season as they had the fourth-worst offensive rating in the league. It’s been more evident for them in the postseason, though.
As a team, Chicago is shooting only 42.6 percent from the floor and only 27 percent from three in the playoffs. Their leading scorer has been D.J. Augustin, but he’s shot just 35.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three. Jimmy Butler has been a near non-factor offensively and Kirk Hinrich hasn’t been able to get the job done either.
The Bulls need a solution to their offensive problems and the answer may be a player that hasn’t seen a single minute yet in this series: Jimmer Fredette. Even though he’s seen extremely limited time since coming to Chicago, Fredette can score the basketball. Some might say it’s his only discernible NBA skill, but he’s extremely talented in that regard.
Obviously the drawback to playing Jimmer in this series is that he is going to get torched by Wall and Bradley Beal. You know who else has been torched by the Washington backcourt? Every other Chicago guard, so that’s not a big change if you slide Fredette into the rotation. When you factor in his ability to score and shoot from the perimeter, that seems to weigh more heavily into what Chicago needs than how he’ll hurt them defensively.
We’ve seen that head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t had much faith in Jimmer since he was added to the roster, but it might be time for him to give him a go. Fredette doesn’t need to play 30 minutes per game, but having him come off the bench could be wildly beneficial. There’s a chance it couldn’t work, but what the Bulls have been doing thus far hasn’t worked either. It may seem crazy, but crazy sometimes works in the postseason.