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Beyond the Box Score: Analyzing Tony Snell vs. Doug McDermott

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Beyond the Box Score: Analyzing Tony Snell vs. Doug McDermott

Welcome to the first edition of Beyond the Box Score! In this series, we will use advanced metrics and unique statistics to provide deeper analysis on the Bulls.

To start, we'd like to explore how the team has fared at the Small Forward position. This is one of the positions Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has experimented with the most this season, interchanging Tony Snell and Doug McDermott while Mike Dunleavy recovers from offseason surgery.

Since Hoiberg focuses so much on the flow of the offense, let's take a look at each of their contributions on that side of the court. Luckily for Hoiberg, both Snell and McDermott are making significant contributions scoring the ball.

  Pts/Shot Open FG% Contested 3FG%
Doug McDermott 1.42 61.5% 56.8%
Tony Snell 1.05 61.1% 44.8%

According to Vantage Sports - a site which tracks thousands of basketball actions for every NBA game - McDermott holds the edge over Snell on offense.

As we can see, McDermott scores 1.42 points per shot, to Snell's 1.05, meaning McDermott scores more efficiently, and makes the most of his chances. In fact, McDermott's 1.42 pts/shot lead the whole team.

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We have to delve a little deeper to find out why McDermott is scoring at a better clip, however. The first thing that comes to mind, is to check how each shooter fares when they're wide open. Neither player has shot enough open 3's to show any true trend, so let's focus on their overall shooting when there's no defender in sight.

Bulls fans are happy to see that each man shoots very well when they're wide open, at over 61 percent. But since there's no real difference here, we have to look elsewhere to explain why McDermott boasts such a high pts/shot number.

We find one major factor when we explore how well each player shoots the 3, when a defender is contesting, or pressuring the shot. A defender contests, or pressures, a shot when he either gets a hand in the shooter's face, or runs late to challenge the shot, forcing the shooter to react quickly.

Here, McDermott shines, shooting a remarkable 56.8 percent lead the team. That's not to say Snell struggles. In fact, his 44.8 percent rate is second best on the Bulls. However, McDermott's impressive ability to knock down baskets, despite solid defense, separates him from Snell. 

But what about the defensive side of the ball? In addition to experimenting with the starting lineup, Hoiberg has mixed up the defensive rotations at the ends of games. According to Vantage Sports, Snell outperforms McDermott when guarding the ball handler.

  Pts/Shot DEF Contest % Foul %
Doug McDermott 1.00 37.5% 13.0%
Tony Snell 0.81 44.8% 8.3%

We can see that Snell outperforms McDermott in some major defensive categories, including points allowed per shot against. This doesn't meant that McDermott is letting the team down, by giving up one point per shot. But Snell's stout defense gives him the second best pts/shot against number on the team.

To explain this, again, we need to delve deeper into the data. One number that jumps out is the Contest%. This metric illustrates how often a defender contests, pressures, or forces the shooter to alter their release. Here, McDermott only manages a paltry 37.5 percent, which is the worst among all Bulls forwards.  Snell fares much better, with a 44.8 Contest%.

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What's more troubling is the fact that McDermott actually fouls more than Snell, even though he contests fewer shots. Conventional thought would say Snell should commit more fouls, since he challenges more shooters, however his 8.3 Foul% is fourth best on the team. Now that is good D.

So it's clear that each player brings his own special skill set to the court, and not surprisingly, Hoiberg has played each man situationally. What will be interesting to see, is how Hoiberg uses these two role players once Dunleavy returns from injury. Until then, it's fun watching these two do what they do best.

Bulls interested in Jahlil Okafor?

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USA TODAY

Bulls interested in Jahlil Okafor?

A report via Sporting News writer Sean Deveney surfaced early on Tuesday morning, stating that the Bulls possibly have interest in free agent big man Jahlil Okafor. 

Deveny stated:

According to sources, Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall.

The Pacers were listed along with the Bulls as teams that could be looking at Okafor, though neither team was at his summer workouts in Las Vegas.

From a public relations standpoint, the Bulls could sell the idea of having a roster with multiple IHSA champions. It would be a feel-good story, with Okafor and Parker joining a young and developing core. But from an on-court perspective, the move makes little sense.

Chicago has a clogged frontcourt rotation that includes Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, Robin Lopez, Cristiano Felicio and No. 7 overall pick Wendell Carter Jr. And while Parker is likely going to play the majority of his minutes on the wing, he will see time at the four and possibly five as well in spot minutes. Okafor has proven to be a capable low-post scorer and little else at this stage in his career.

Okafor has averaged 12.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game, but has only played 131 games over three seasons. He struggled to get minutes last year with the Sixers or the Brooklyn Nets (12.6 minutes per game in 2017-18). His continued poor defense and lack of rebounding prowess were the main reasons why.

He had a 59.3 true shooting percentage in his 26 games with the Nets, as well as 18.2 points per 36 minutes. But his defensive rating of 110 points given up per 100 possessions would do little to help a Bulls team that currently lacks established defensive centers sans Lopez. Even on a minimum contract, an Okafor signing would likely signal a forthcoming trade from the Bulls. In today’s NBA, having four centers on your roster would be ridiculous, no matter how good the narrative is. 
 

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

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USA TODAY

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

Antoine Griezmann, you just won the World Cup, what are you going to do next?

Apparently, profess his love for Derrick Rose.

In the celebrations of France winning the World Cup on Sunday, French forward Griezmann spotted his teammate Paul Pogba getting interviewed by FOX Sports. Recognizing this was the American audience, Griezmann took the mic from FOX's Jenny Taft and had one thing to say:

"I love Derrick Rose."

Griezmann, who scored a goal in France's 4-2 win against Croatia in the final, is a big NBA fan. He has been spotted at multiple games over the years, including Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Cavs.

This also isn't the first time he has made a comment about D-Rose. He recently signed a contract extension with his club team, Atletico Madrid, but a year ago said the only way he would leave was to play with Rose.

"I would only leave Atleti to play with Derrick Rose," Griezmann said through translation.

In 2015 he posted an image of himself in a Derrick Rose Bulls jersey to his Instagram.

Later that year he took in a Bulls game and got a photo with Joakim Noah.

Maybe when the 27-year-old is ready to leave Europe, he will join a Major League Soccer team just so he can watch more NBA games.

UPDATE: Rose tweeted congratulations to Griezmann.