Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Pop quiz hotshot:

What position do the Bulls defend the best?

Would you believe it's the 2?

Position oPER
PG 16.2  
SG 12.8  
SF 14.3  
PF 14.7  
C 14.0  

One theme of this season here has been the need for a 'big' guard to help the smaller Bulls guard rotation of Hinrich, Duhon, and Gordon on the defensive end. As we know while Hinrich came into this league as a point guard, and still occupies that position when Duhon is not in the game, he is responsible for guarding the other team's best scorer. Usually among the two guard positions that is the SG, and thus this opposing PER of 12.8 (remember the 'average' player is a 15) is a testament to how great of a defender Hinrich has become.

Two of the Bulls past 3 games have been against Seattle, meaning that Hinrich had to guard Ray Allen. Here's how he fared:

3/11 - @Seattle

Pts TS%
Hinrich 10 28.2%
Allen 17 42.6%

3/15 - @Chicago

Pts TS%
Hinrich 7 23.3%
Allen 17 41.2%

And for reference, here are the season totals:

Ppg TS%
Hinrich  15.4 49.1%
Allen  23.8 55.1%

Statistically, Hinrich did a fantastic job against Allen, frustrating him to the point where Allen started questioning his tactics . But the toll was obviously taken on the offensive end, where tired legs from chasing around one of the premier players in the NBA undoubtedly contributed to Hinrich's poor shooting. I've said it many times here, the Bulls ask Hinrich to do way too much on both ends of the court.

As great as the Bulls defend SGs, they are at their worst against the PG slot. Coach Scott Skiles has already pointed out how far Gordon needs to come in his defense. The numbers, in addition to verifying those statements, also calls into question the defensive prowess of Chris Duhon. Not only are PGs doing their best against the Bulls, it is at that position where the Bulls give up the most in terms of net production, at -4.3 points in PER. In these terms the SG spot is again the Bulls best position, at +2.1.

 By looking through the trade and free agent market and trying to find the prototypical 'big' guard to help the Bulls defense (and Raja Bell is looking like the best choice), perhaps Hinrich will still be used against the opponent's best guard. But with another defender in the rotation, the guy Hinrich isn't guarding won't be facing the basketball equivalent of a matador anymore.

I'm leaving for Vegas Thursday afternoon, and more than likely there will be no posts by me until next Wednesday. If I never return you can either assume that I have pawned my plane ticket home, jumped out of a hotel window after seeing the Illini lose, or have won big and stayed out to realize California dreamin'.

The search for guest-bloggers has not been 'exhaustive' to say the least. I'll try better the next time, I swear. Make sure you check out the links on your left for all your NBA action. A special nod to the Bulls Report, who have been keeping up with the wins and losses better than I have lately.

See ya next week, a little bit poorer but hopefully wearing a smile full of Vegas memories.