Beyond the Box Score: E'Twaun Moore getting it done for the Bulls


Beyond the Box Score: E'Twaun Moore getting it done for the Bulls

As the Bulls continue to push for the playoffs, many fans and members of the media have put their hopes in the return of Jimmy Butler.  But after taking a look at the data, we think the return of another guard may prove to be more impactful: E'Twaun Moore.

Moore has been an underrated contributor on both sides of the ball all season, but in the past month he has really upped his game.

Let's take a look at his offense first:

  Pts/Shot Contest+FG% Open+FG% Pts/Chance
E'Twaun Moore 1.25 47.5 57.1 0.15
Aaron Brooks 1.05 45.9 46.2 0.19
Derrick Rose 1.04 43.8 50 0.23
Jimmy Butler 1.04 27.7 66.7 0.18
Justin Holiday 0.89 28.1 53.8 0.12

The first thing to pop out is how much more efficiently Moore has scored over the past 30 days, than the other Bulls guards. According to Vantage Sports, he holds a slim lead over Aaron Brooks in Contested+ FG%, a metric which measures how often a player scores with a defender guarding them closely.  Further, Moore only trails Jimmy Butler in Open+ FG%, a metric that unsurprisingly measures how often a player scores with no defender pressure.  This all translates into his big lead over the other guards in the point per shot department.

What is surprising, however, is Moore's low points per chance figure.  This metric show how many points a player scores per every offensive opportunity, while he's on the court.  Typically these numbers correlate together, since great scorers usually get more chances to shoot the ball, but here that is clearly not the case. As the season winds down, Hoiberg may want to run more of the offense through Moore to give him additional opportunities to score.

  Contest+% Fouls/Shot FG% Against
E'Twaun Moore 48.7 0.05 43.8
Aaron Brooks 46.2 0.15 39.7
Derrick Rose 29.8 0.03 55.4
Jimmy Butler 43.2 0.06 47.3
Justin Holiday 46.5 0.10 44.8

On the other side of the court, Moore once again performs as one of the best backcourt players for the Bulls.  Admirably, he is tops when it comes to Contest+%, and second best in terms of avoiding fouls.  That is a remarkable combo, since typically players who contest a lot of shots are more likely to foul the shooter.

As the year winds down, the Bulls should certainly turn to Moore to anchor the second unit, keeping the team within striking distance, or even helping to take the lead while the starters take a break.  Given his statistical success on offense and defense, it may be Moore who quietly continues his important contributions, leading the Bulls into the playoffs.  

Bulls take tunnel vision approach to Charlotte for opener vs. Hornets

USA Today

Bulls take tunnel vision approach to Charlotte for opener vs. Hornets

The significance of his first opening night as head coach? Jim Boylen wasn’t biting.

Opening with four of five games against teams that didn’t make last season’s playoffs, including Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C.? Boylen steered clear of that.

Addressing the goal stated on media day to make the playoffs? Lauri Markkanen added a qualifier.

“No promises,” he said. “But that’s the goal, for sure.”

The Bulls officially closed training camp Tuesday with a one-game-at-a-time and bunker mentality that would make any fan of clichés proud. They’re focused on the Hornets---and nothing of greater significance for now.

“We don’t talk about playoff team, non-playoff team. We’re talking about Charlotte,” Boylen said. “We’re going to play as hard as we can against Charlotte. That’s what we can control. And then we’ll move on.”

Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. are scheduled to start. Chandler Hutchison, who increased his on-court work but has yet to practice because of a hamstring issue, is the only injured player. Boylen said he’d announce his other inactive player besides Hutchison Wednesday.

“I just want to help the team,” Boylen said, elaborating on the significance of his first opening night as head coach. “As a head coach, sometimes you help them and sometimes you let them help themselves. I want to be there for them, support them. Hopefully we honor our principles. We do our basics better, the best we can, and see what happens.”

Boylen wouldn’t touch the subject. But even with all four games against last season’s non-playoff teams coming on the road, getting off to a fast start is essential.

Beyond the fact it will continue the good vibes that began with a widely praised offseason and through voluntary September workouts, the Bulls are relatively healthy. And the close to their schedule offers some brutal tests, so building a cushion early would bolster playoff talk.

“That’s what we’re trying to do---start off strong,” Markkanen said. “That sets the pace for the rest of the year. We’re going one game at a time, but it’s really important for us to get these.”

The Bulls visit Memphis to face a rebuilding Grizzlies team and No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant on Friday. They will navigate the two-game trip following a preseason in which they played at a faster pace than last season and averaged 39.4 3-pointers per game. That ranked ninth in the league after finishing 27th with just 25.9 attempts last season.

“I think we get a ton of open looks,” Markkanen said. “I’ve had good looks and my teammates have as well. We’re playing unselfish basketball, sharing the ball, making the extra pass. I think it’s going to help us.”

Despite all the optimism and addition of 12-year veteran Thad Young, the Bulls remain young, the league’s second-youngest team behind the Suns. Questions about depth and defensive efficiency are legitimate.

The tests start for real Wednesday.

“I’ve seen a group of guys that want to do the right things,” Boylen said. “It’s a high character group. It’s a willing group. Our care factor is high and I expect for us to care for each other, play for each other, sacrifice for each other. I think we’ll do that well.” 

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Bulls sign guard Max Strus to a two-way contract

USA Today

Bulls sign guard Max Strus to a two-way contract

The Bulls announced today they have signed guard Max Strus to a two-way contract. Strus went undrafted during the 2019 NBA Draft before being signed by the Boston Celtics during preseason. He played in four preseason games for the Celtics, averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

The Celtics waived Strus to make way with athletic wing Javonte Green on the final roster.

Max Strus is a Chicagoland native, growing in Hickory Hills and attending Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. Strus played college basketball at Lewis University in Romeoville before playing for the DePaul Blue Demons.

Standing at six-foot-five and 215 pounds, Strus was named to the All Big-East Second Team after averaging 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35 games during his senior 2018-19 season. As a senior he played 29-straight games with double-figure scoring and set DePaul season records with 113 3-pointers and 311 3-point attempts. His career scoring average of 18.6 points per game with the fourth best in DePaul history.

We’re excited to have Strus back in Chicago and ready to see what he brings to the Bulls when their season starts tomorrow against Charlotte.

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