Bulls 2014 Season Preview: Shooting Guards

Finally….the NBA season is upon us. The preseason is winding down, and all roster moves are set. The Bulls season officially starts Oct. 29 on the road against the New York Knicks. Before that game, we will preview the Bulls depth at each position.

Last time the Bulls depth at the point guard position was examined, now the shooting guards. The Bulls missed on adding any players via free agency at shooting guard, but with a deeper lineup the Bulls can get creative.

Jimmy Butler 

(Photo credit usatoday.com)

Butler was the workhorse of the team last year. He averaged 38.7 minutes per game, and with coach Tom Thibodeau habit of playing his starters heavy minutes it seems unlikely Butler will get less playing time. The reason that this year looks better for Butler is that he will be asked to do less in the offense. Last year statistically Butler had a down year he scored 13.1 points per game but he was less efficient, he shot 28.3 from the 3-point line. Butler’s lack of efficiency was mostly due to his new responsibilities as a primary ball-handler.

This year the Bulls have depth at the point guard giving Butler the chance to play off the ball more, and hit 3-pointers like he did in the preseason. Butler will also have more energy to spend on defending the best offensive option on the opposing team. Butler can guard the any shooting guard and small forward, and that makes his contribution on the team more important on defense.

Tony Snell 

(Photo credit thestarters.nba.com)

Snell was the typical rookie under Thibodeau’s system. Snell played 16 minutes per game, because he was not good enough in Thibodeau’s defensive system. The summer league was where Snell showed that he is ready for serious playing time with the Bulls. He averaged 20 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field in Las Vegas.

Snell gives the Bulls spacing on the floor. He can be paired with any of the small forwards on the perimeter to open on driving lane. Snell ability to make the 3-point shot makes it harder for teams to double Pau Gasol in the post. At 6-foot-7 200 pounds, Snell has the size to play shooting guard, and with the lack of teams with both shooting guards and small forwards that can score, Snell does not have to guard the best scorer on any team in key moments.

Derrick Rose 

Rose’s can spend some time at the shooting guard this year. Rose is the best scorer on the Bulls, and he has the ability to take over games at will. When Rose gets going in the regular season, teams can send multiple defenders at him to force him to get rid of the ball. If the Bulls move Rose up to the shooting guard, and play him with Kirk Hinrich or Aaron Brooks, it will be harder for teams to double team Rose.

The biggest reason that the Bulls should play Rose at shooting guard is the looming matchups with the Cleveland Cavilers. LeBron James is still one of the best on ball defenders in the NBA. Bulls’ fans know this when he shut down Rose in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. James occasionally does struggling guarding players off the ball. The Bulls can have Rose run off picks to free him up against James. With Rose at the shooting guard the Bulls can add even more shooting around him to make getting defensive stops harder for the opposition.

Next time the small forwards will be examined.

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