Once in a while, my boss puts me on a stats research project & last night was one of those nights. With the Bulls’ offensive struggles at the forefront of the team’s recent skid, I made that my focus.
Sunday’s loss at Oklahoma City represented a tipping point. The Bulls were held to a season-low 29.1 percent shooting from the field, which is tied for a season-low by any NBA team. Coincidentally, the Thunder also held the Charlotte Bobcats to 29.1 percent shooting earlier in the year.
So, yesterday, I charted the 12 games in which the Bulls shot below 40 percent from the field. Interesting to note that they lost 10 of those 12, hence, my constant updates that feature my “you can’t win if you don’t score line.”
The Bulls are shooting 43.6 percent from the field this season, which is down down 1.6 percentage points from last year and 0.8 percentage points below league average. The team has shot below league average in 31 of their 56 games this year, below their season average in 24 games. It’s worth noting the Bulls ranked 12th in field goal percentage last year (45.2) percent and rank 26th this year.
Because Bulls fans really want to consider this team — as currently constructed — a contender, it’s also worth noting, the Heat have only had one game in which the team shot below the 40 percent mark. The Thunder have had two. Must be nice to have multiple players who could score the rock for your team.
Finally, the only contenders (teams ranked in the top 8 in the Eastern or Western Conference) who reached double figures in games shooting below 40 percent were the Bulls (12), Grizzlies (13), Bucks and Pacers (15 each).
Other teams who would be in the playoffs if they began today (thankfully, they don’t): Spurs (4), Nuggets (4), Clippers (5), Celtics (6), Hawks (7), Jazz (7), Warriors (8), Knicks (8), Nets (9) & Rockets (9).
Maybe none of this should come as a shock. The Bulls rank 28th among 30 teams in points per game (92.5) and have scored fewer than 90 points 20 times and are 4-16 in those contests.
Anyway, I thought it’d be interesting to share this with you guys as the Class 3 Killstorm comes through the Chicagoland area this evening.