By the Horns Weekly Mailbag- 1/24/2014

Image from Flickr via Pacdog

Image from Flickr via Pacdog

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Bulls by the Horns weekly mailbag where we will answer some of your reader submitted questions about the Chicago Bulls and the NBA every Friday. I apologize for not posting up a mailbag last week. I had gone on a sudden vacation during which I had limited internet access. But we’re back and running this week with another round of reader submitted questions. If you’d like to submit your question for the mailbag please shoot us a message via our contact form or shoot a tweet to @AvikarSaini. Without further ado, let’s get to it:

With Luol gone now I wonder if Chicago would consider acquiring Harrison Barnes from Golden State? Do you think an offer of Hinrich, Charlotte 1st and the newly acquired Sacramento pick would be enough to entice the Warriors?
George Y

I like the idea of trading for a young guy but I can’t imagine the Warriors parting with Harrison Barnes for Kirk Hinrich. He’s a young guy who’s shown some improvement and been solid for them off of the bench. Including the two picks is very enticing, but they’re a title contender and giving up wing depth when they could probably get someone good and cheap from the D-League or free agency wouldn’t be the wisest move for them.
I also think the Bulls could get more value for the Bobcats pick than Harrison Barnes. Given how the Bobcats fail to improve the pick is bound to be a very good draft pick in the future. Plus with Chicago looking at a rebuild/reboot, these draft picks could prove very handy even if it’s down the line. The team could get good young players on cheap deals while giving Chicago the cap space to go into free agency and get star players.

My question is do you guys think Jimmy and Tony are passing up 3s? From the games I’ve watched this year, it doesn’t seem as if Jimmy’s stepped up his 3-point shooting…or rather, taking them. He likes the pump-fake, then step into a mid-range 2. Recently, Tony’s passed up some open shots and against the Bucks, Stacey/Funk pointed out that Thibs was screaming at Tony to shoot (maybe that’s why Martin got more minutes tonight and Snell’s maintained under 20 minutes of play). Thanks!

In regards to Snell, it’s hard to say why exactly he played limited minutes. Thibs definitely was screaming at him to shoot the three and, as you said, may have been benched because he wasn’t taking the shot Thibs wanted. It could also just be because Thibodeau doesn’t really play rookies. Until we see how the minutes distribution plays out in the future it’s hard to say what his benching was for.

As far as Butler goes he’s actually increased how many 3 point shots he takes this season. Right now Butler averages 3.1 attempts per game versus 2.4 attempts last year in games in which he started. Butler’s usage percentage for isolation play and spot up shooting percentage hasn’t changed much either from last season to this season. Butler has worked a bit more as a ball handler in pick and roll situations which may lead to the impression that he’s taking fewer threes and more mid-range 2s this season. It could be a recent trend that doesn’t show up in the numbers given his struggles shooting the 3 pointer this season.
Since trading Deng, Chicago’s offense has seemed to become better and guys like DJ Augustin are really playing well and carrying the team to victory. Since trading Deng, the Bulls have gone 7-2 since the trade. Do you feel like there’s anything to the idea that the Bulls are a better team without Deng?
Eric D
I definitely don’t think there’s anything to the idea that the Bulls are a better team without Deng. You’re right in that the numbers thus far do suggest that they are. Since trading Deng, 6 Bulls plays have averaged double digit points per game (D.J. Augustin with 16.5 ppg , Carlos Boozer with 15.9 ppg, Jimmy Butler 12.1 ppg, Mike Dunleavy 13.2 ppg, Taj Gibson 12.5 ppg, and Joakim Noah with 14.1 ppg. The Bulls as a team are also scoring 97.9 points per game compared to the 91.3 points per game they were averaging prior to the trade. However, since the trade the Bull have only played one team with a winning record (excluding tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers). Any improvement we’ve seen from the team since the trade should be viewed with heavy skepticism. Until we see the team’s performance against some of the league’s better teams we don’t really have a true gauge on how the Bulls are without Luol Deng on the roster.

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