Chicago Bulls Analysis: Mid-range jumpers large part of Rose’s; Bulls offense


Chicago Bulls rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg has done little to police point guard Derrick Rose’s use of the mid-range jumper. This comes in stark contrast to the way he coached previously at the college level. The Bulls are among the league leaders in mid-range jumper attempts this season, and their offensive efficiency has suffered as a result.

According to player tracking stats, Derrick Rose has attempted 28 mid-range jumpers which accounted for 28 percent of his 100 total shots this season. While this isn’t an astronomical value, it is too much for a player who doesn’t excel shooting this type of shot. He has shot 41 percent during his career on attempts between ten feet and just below the three-point line. 

While Rose isn’t a horrible mid-range shooter, the problem is that all the mid-range jumpers that he has attempted this season take away from him attacking the basket. Rose has had a difficult time getting all the way to the basket compared to previous seasons. According to basketball reference, only 18 percent of his shot attempts came from within three feet of the basket. His previous lowest percentage of total shots from this range was 26 percent during the 2014-2015 season.

In his career, he never attempted a higher percentage of shots from 3-10 feet from the basket than 0-3 feet from the basket until this season. In addition, he has only shot a 3-point field goal on 13 percent of occasions which is his lowest overall percentage since his second year in the league.

His lack of free throw attempts this season provides further evidence for his continued reliance on mid-range jumpers. According to basketball reference, his 3.1 free throw attempts per game is the lowest average of his career.

Nov 7, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

During his previous head coaching stint at Iowa State University, Fred Hoiberg virtually eliminated the mid-range game from his offense. According to college basketball analyst Dylan Burkhardt, only 8.5 percent of shots taken by the Iowa State Cyclones last season categorized as mid-range jumpers . The Cyclones ranked 15th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency largely as a result of their reluctance to take this type of shot. In the aforementioned article, Burkhardt explains the real benefit of this system of offense.

"Deemphasizing the mid-range has resulted in a more effective two-point offense. The Cyclones make their two-point shots at a higher rate than every major-conference team other than Kansas, a clear indicator that they are getting good looks. Considering their size disadvantages – there’s no Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid in Ames and and the Cyclones rank 325th in effective height – that’s an impressive feat. —-Information courtesy of Dylan Burkhardt"

With the Chicago Bulls, Hoiberg hasn’t been able to de-emphasize the mid-range jumper at all. According to basketball reference, the Chicago Bulls come in at ninth in the NBA in percentage of field goal attempts per game  (19.6 percent) that come further than 16 feet from the basket but in front of the three-point line. In addition, almost 12 percent of the Chicago Bulls total field goal attempts this season have come between 10-16 feet from the basket which is sixth highest in the NBA. That means that about 31.6 percent of the Bulls offensive attempts have been mid-range jumpers.  

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  • Hoiberg’s ability to eliminate the mid-range jumper at Iowa State was a major reason for his success. So far, he hasn’t been able to transfer this success to the NBA. His point guard Derrick Rose continues to shoot mid-range jumpers at a high clip while his team collectively sits in the top third of the league in mid-range shot attempts per game.

    Overall, the Bulls haven’t been a very efficient or fast-moving offense this season; two problems that the Bulls expected Hoiberg to fix. According to, the Chicago Bulls rank 23rd in the NBA in offensive efficiency, 18th in pace and 12th in effective field goal percentage. According to Team Rankings’ website, the Chicago Bulls average 9.9 fast break points per game which is 23rd in the NBA and actually a lower average than during the 2014-2015 season (11.0). It is still early in the season, but the Bulls definitely expected higher marks in all of these categories. Long story short, Hoiberg hasn’t done his job thus far.

    Nov 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) celebrates with forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center. The Bulls won 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

    If Hoiberg is able to improve Rose’s shot selection, it could go a long way towards improving the overall efficiency of the Chicago Bulls offense.

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    Rose puts pressure on the defense when he drives relentlessly towards the basket. His penetration collapses the defense and creates open shots for his teammates which, in theory, should increase offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage. When he attempts mid-range jumpers, he allows defenses to take possessions off.

    In order to avoid becoming a one-dimensional player, Rose can’t completely eliminate this element from his game. However, the goal for both Hoiberg and Rose should be to get the latter to reduce his mid-range attempts per game statistic to around 8.5 percent of his total shots(recall that this is the percentage of mid-range jumper attempts that Iowa State took per game last season under Hoiberg).

    In terms of points per shot attempt, the mid-range jumper is the most inefficient shot in basketball. There’s no reason that Derrick Rose, who God blessed with breakaway speed and finishing ability, should continue to settle for this type of shot 28 percent of the time.