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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
As the Bulls are in search of offense

By Henry Abbott

I direct you to Kevin Arnovitz's smart post, from last July, about how the Chicago Bulls are uniquely suited to run the flex offense. The Jazz used it, with a lot of these very same players, to have one of the most efficient offenses in the game:

The effectiveness of the flex in Salt Lake City prompts the question: If it's so productive, why haven't more teams adopted it as their offensive blueprint?

The most common answer you get from coaches and scouts around the league goes something like this:

On paper, the system is artful and ingenious. But if you don't have the personnel to run the flex effectively, you're setting up your team for failure. You might be able to incorporate a few flex sets into your playbook, but installing the system as the foundation of the offense is trouble.

What kind of personnel are we talking about? What skills does a player need to have as part of his game to be an effective player in that system? The simplest way to define the qualities of a good flex player is the ability to multitask. In the flex, each player on the floor is a screener and a screenee, a passer and a cutter, a guy who can make plays in a variety of ways by instantaneously reading the defense. Ballstoppers and early-shot-clock freelancers need not apply.

This brings us to the 2010-11 Chicago Bulls.

Last season, the Bulls finished 28th in offensive efficiency. Over the past month, the Bulls have bolstered their roster with a collection of nice pieces, including Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer -- each of whom started the 2009-10 season as a veteran member of the Jazz. Whether it was their primary intention or a serendipitous unintended consequence of the frenetic free agent market, the Bulls have assembled a group that, with the exception of the point guard spot, is more Jazzy than anything Jerry Sloan will put on the court this fall.

In short, the Bulls have a tailor-made roster for a full-fledged flex attack.