The Gathering Storm that is the Chicago Bulls

When I was attempting to predict the Chicago Bulls win-loss record this season, I predicted 53 wins, but hedged my bets.  I said if the Bulls get the hang of Tom Thibodeau’s defensive principles, their numbers will inflate.  I expected the inflation to come in the second half of the season.  It has.

The Bulls are playing championship defense at the moment, folks.  Last night I watched them completely subjugate a decent Atlanta Hawks offense and I was in awe.  It was like watching the Panzer tanks roll through the Maginot Line.  The Bulls imposed their style and will on the game and the playoff bound Hawks could offer virtually no resistance.  It was so impressive that right now I make the Bulls the favorites to win the NBA Finals.  The whole shebang.

At the end of the game, the cameras focused on the team’s purported MVP, Derrick Rose.  Rose is having a very fine season, but if the cameras were looking for the source of the team’s unbelievable success, the cameras were missing the mark.  The team’s true MVP is its coach, defensive genius Tom Thibodeau. 

Prior to the All-Star break, the Chicago Bulls Opponent Win Score per 48 was a handsome 35.30.  Since the All-Star break it has been an epic 29.60.  An Opponent Win Score below 30.00 is the surest sign of a true championship contender.  Its time to get it through our collective melons — the Bulls are for real.

A lot of the reason for that is the Bulls improved roster.  A lot of the reason may also be Thibodeau’s defense.  Last season the Bulls Opponent Win Score was 42.82, meaning the Bulls defense from last season would have been expected to produce 17.8 victories to this point in the season, whereas the Bulls defense under Thibodeau has produced around 22.4 victories. 

Here is a breakdown chart of all of the Bulls numbers from this season and last, including the Bulls numbers since this season’s All-Star break:

  Eff Scor Poss Crea Net Help MWS ExpW% ActW%
2010 Bulls 2.28 36.69 3.25      
  3.21 36.51 3.11      
  -0.93 0.18 0.14 -0.061 0.491 0.499
             
2011 Bulls 5.51 37.39 3.75      
  -0.12 31.25 2.23      
  5.63 6.14 1.52 1.321 0.719 0.721
             
Post All-Star 6.05 40.21 3.79      
  -1.65 29.51 1.75      
  7.69 10.69 2.04 2.042 0.839 0.813

As you can see, the Bulls are an improved basketball team in every way, and they appear to be getting better.  Moreover, if you remember my post from February in which I broke down the Team Marginal Win Scores for every NBA Champion of the last 15 seasons, the two most prevalent characteristics of each championship team were above average (1) Opponent Effective Scoring; and (2) Team Possession Creation.  The Bulls are super strong in each category.

They look scary.

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One Response to “The Gathering Storm that is the Chicago Bulls”

  1. reservoirgod Says:

    How have the Opp. Win Scores for each Bulls player changed since playing for Thibodeau?

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