The Chicago Bulls finished off their ever so daunted Circus Road Trip with a 4-3 record. A game above even may sound like a moral victory, and maybe it is. Suck it! Since the Jordan Era this annual trip has been murder. There was a stretch where the Bulls lost 37 straight Circus Road Trip games over five seasons! Hence, the ability to be able to pull out a winning record coming out of this awful conundrum of scheduling should warrant a victory lap… yet, that may wear even more on their banged up bodies. On the flipside, let’s hold back the ticker tape and see where we can improve.
Free Throws The Bulls are 27th out of 30 teams in free throw percentage (70.9%). Loul Deng leads the team in FT attempts (Derrick Rose is third, if that makes any sense) and is 6% down from his career average for the season. Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, and Ronnie Brewer are 4-6th in FT attempts and have averages between 53-63%. These are professional basketball players and these numbers are simply unacceptable. The Bulls are below the league average for FT attempts, so when given the chance it is paramount that they convert a very high percentage.
Turnovers The Bulls are 20th in turnover percentage. For a team that is supposedly in the elite of the East, this is ridiculous. They have far too many careless passes, and for whatever reason, way too many forced bounce passes down low. This team constantly wants to force bounce passes at player’s feet. I like the aggressive play, but it cannot be done at the expense of taking care of the ball.
Building Deficits In this young season, the Bulls have proved that huge deficits are not exclusive to federal governments. Even before the road trip, the Bulls dug themselves into a huge hole all the way back to their home opener against the Pistons. Granted, these holes have made for some very entertaining comebacks, but it is not a healthy practice. This teams needs to get into a routine of starting strong and keeping at it.
The Bulls now find themselves with a tough two weeks in which they will host the Magic, Thunder, and Lakers, while also visiting the Celtics. There is a very bright light at the end of this tunnel. After the first two weeks of December, the Bulls have ten games in which (barring injuries) they will be the favorite. Also, the horns have sounded and one Carlos “The Beard” Boozer will make his triumphant return (and by return, I mean his debut) this month. December shall be one kind month.