Living in Minneapolis and without access to a private jet regulates me to either watching the NBA on TV or going to the Target Center and checking out a Timberwolves team that is one of only 6 NBA teams with a losing record at home. Since I don’t really care about the Timberwolves, I go to the game to watch the other teams like the Jazz on March 11th and the Bulls on March 30th. It was shocking to see the difference between the Bulls and the Jazz as viewed through the prism of playing against the Timberwolves.
The Jazz looked completely lost on defense and only slightly better on offense. The Bulls on the other hand looked like a well-oiled machine, where each player knew their role and the offense was designed around making the extra pass and getting an open shot. While watching the Bulls play I didn’t really care who won and was just going to see a good team, but suddenly I became a little melancholy. Why? I realized that the brand of basketball the Bulls were playing looked exactly like the old Jazz teams.
42% of the Chicago Bulls minutes have been allocated to Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. I decided to see how the minute allocation would compare with the past three Jazz seasons with the one substitution being Derrick Rose for Deron Williams. Below is that comparison:
The Bulls are following the same strategy as the Jazz used by playing an All-Star point guard with the same exact 3 players approximately the same amount of minutes. They have taken the baton and are now doing better than the Jazz ever did. What is frustrating is that the Jazz were so close to having the team the Bulls have right now, which means the Jazz were that close to being a championship level team. If they could have improved their bench (Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and even C.J. Watson would be an improvement over the Jazz bench options) and hoped that Williams would make a Rose like leap then the Jazz in the famous words of Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront “could have been a contender.”
The Jazz have now taken a few steps back and are now somewhere between a team that is rebuilding around the current players and a team that is about ready to be blown apart. The Jazz can watch the Bulls in the playoffs and reminisce about the time when they had a star point guard, a well-respected coach, a 42% three-point shooter and an above-average shooting guard option that is in the discussion for the all-defensive team. Good luck in the playoffs, the Chicago Jazz.