Chicago Bulls must adjust to defensive strategy being used against them

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

It seemed like just a little while ago the Chicago Bulls were in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Now, they sit in the four seed and are completely reeling.

Losers of five in a row, the Bulls look out of sorts and are searching for answers. They are only a half-game ahead of the Boston Celtics and are in danger of dropping to bottom half of the top-8.

The losing streak began February 26 against Memphis, when Ja Morant went nuclear in a 116-110 loss for Chicago. Since then, the Bulls have dropped games to the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

All five of those teams used the same defensive strategy against the Bulls, according to big man Tristan Thompson. Although Thompson didn’t add specifics to this particular strategy, one can assume exactly what he means.

The Chicago Bulls must recognize how teams are defending them as of late and make quick adjustments.

If anyone has watched the last five games, it’s been apparent. It’s easy to spot just how teams are defending the Bulls — and it should be easy to adjust. Billy Donovan pointed the finger at himself recently, but the Bulls need to figure this out collectively.

A lot of the time, DeMar DeRozan is the one bringing the ball up the floor. It has looked painfully easy for opposing teams to quickly double DeRozan, trapping him and either forcing a bad pass, picking his pocket, forcing a jump ball or maybe just a plain, old bad shot.

When Zach LaVine is handling the ball at the top of the key, towards the beginning of a possession, it’s the same exact strategy. They’ll crowd either DeRozan or LaVine, but most of the time it’s been DeRozan — and it’s led to disaster for the Bulls.

At this point, the Bulls are showing a lack of faith in rookie point guard Ayo Dosunmu. It’s not that they don’t have any faith in him, because he’s being trusted to start over Coby White in the place of Lonzo Ball.

But, if Dosunmu was allowed to be the primary ball-handler when bringing the ball up the court, it would allow for more movement on DeRozan’s part — this also impacts LaVine, too.

The Bulls haven’t had enough movement on offense as of late, and it’s because of teams doubling DeRozan and forcing the team out of any offensive rhythm.

This team is at its best when they are moving and allowing the guy at the top of the key to make the right pass. When that player is usually DeRozan, teams are making it tough on them.

More. Bulls: 5 villains worse than Grayson Allen. light

Having DeRozan not be the main ball-handler might be the key ingredient to stop teams from having so much success against them. Let him move around, set some screens and get him open. He’s still more than capable of playing iso, but he has to have some room to work with first.