To prepare myself for the upcoming season, I decided to take a look back at the numbers that shaped the 2008-09 campaign. These stats came from the 2008-09 NBA Season Summary at Basketball-Reference.com.
Field Goals Made / Attempted: The Bulls ranked 8th in field goals made (3126) and 5th in field goals attempted (6846). Only the Knicks, Pacers, Warriors and Lakers put up more shots. In addition to those teams, the Suns, Jazz and Mavericks all made more shots.
Three-pointers: The Bulls knocked down a higher percentage of their three-pointers (.381) than all but five other teams (Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, Suns and Trail Blazers). However, they ranked only 22nd in three-pointers made (492) and 23rd in three-pointers attempted (1293).
Fun Fact: The Bulls opened the season with a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Thabo Sefolosha, Luol Deng, Drew Gooden and Tyrus Thomas. They ended the season with a starting lineup of Rose, Ben Gordon, John Salmons, Thomas and Joakim Noah. Obviously, three of those eight players are no longer with the team.
Free Throws: The Bulls were 14th in free throws attempted (2052) but 7th in both free throws made (1633) and free throw percentage (.796).
Blocks: The Bulls were the league’s fourth-best team in terms of total blocks (453). The only teams to return more shots to sender were the Warriors (527), Nuggets (492) and Clippers (482). Raise your hands if you’re surprised to see the Warriors and Clippers at the top of the league in this category. Yeah, I thought so.
Points: The Bulls ranked 8th in points per game (102.2), behind the Suns (109.4), Warriors (108.6), Lakers (106.9), Knicks (105.2), Pacers (105.1), Nuggets (104.3) and Jazz (103.6). Note that four of those eight teams did not make the playoffs (Suns, Warriors, Knicks and Pacers).
Opponents’ Field Goals: Bulls opponents ranked 4th in field goals attempted (6864) but only 10th in field goals made (3141) and 16th in field goal percentage (.458).
Opponents’ Three-pointers: Despite the fact that Bulls opponents chucked up the fourth-most shots, they ranked only 24th in three-point attempts (1400), 25th in three-pointers made (486), and 27th in three-point percentage (.347).
Opponents’ Offensive Rebounds: Bulls opponents ranked 3rd in total offensive rebounds (1017). Only the Warriors (1165) and Kings (1018) gave up more. The Suns ranked 4th by giving up 993 offensive rebounds. Of those four teams, only the Bulls made the playoffs.
Opponents’ Blocked Shots: It was a block party in Chicago last season…and everywhere else the Bulls could be found. Bulls’ opponents ranked 3rd in total blocks (449). Only the Bobcats (488) and Timberwolves (484) had more shots swatted last season. Note that the ‘Cats won only 35 games and the ‘Wolves won only 24.
Pace: The Bulls ranked 9th in pace by virtue of averaging 93.1 possessions per 48 minutes. The faster teams were the Warriors, Knicks, Pacers, Suns, Nuggets, Lakers, Kings and Thunder. Note that six of those eight teams did not make the playoffs. Speed kills? It did in the NBA last season.
Effective Field Goal Percentage: In case you don’t know, eFG% “is a basketball statistic (shooting metric) that adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal.” Well, the Bulls ranked 21st .493. Meanwhile, their opponents ranked 10th with an identical .493.
Offensive Rebound Percentage: ORB% is an estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a team grabbed. The Bulls ranked 6th (.280). The teams ahead of them were the Trail Blazers, 76ers, Lakers, Thunder, and Jazz. The team directly behind them was the Celtics. Six of those seven teams made the playoffs, and that group included both the defending champions (Celtics) and the team that went on to win the 2009 title (Lakers).
Defensive Rebound Percentage: DRB% is an estimate of the percentage of available defensive rebounds a team grabbed. The Bulls ranked (ugh) a miserable 28th (.709), ahead of only the Kings and Warriors.
Attendence: People really were lovin’ it live last season, considering the fact that the Bulls ranked 2nd in total attendence (868,667). Only the Pistons had more fans show up (896,971). The Trail Blazers came in 3rd (841,499).