Are the Bulls Really That Good?

No team in the NBA through the first week of the season are scoring more points per game than the Chicago Bulls. Only six teams are giving up less points per game than the Bulls are. Who in the hell is this team?

In the first three games of their season, the Chicago Bulls are scoring 113.7 points per game. They’re only giving up 96 points per game. Only the Atlanta Hawks have a better points per game differential than the Bulls do this season so far.

What in the world has gotten into these Chicago Bulls?

You know, the same Bulls that signed signed Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and traded away Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

The same Bulls that missed last year’s postseason with a rookie head coach.

The same Bulls that considered trading away a top-20 player in Jimmy Butler this past summer.

Those Bulls are 3-0 and it doesn’t make an ounce of sense.

Now, before we start getting into the “2016-17 Bulls could hang with the 1995-96 Bulls” discussions, let’s look at this a little more simpler before we dive into breaking it all down.

  • The Bulls have played three games in an 82-game season. There’s a long way to go. (They haven’t even played a back-to-back set of games yet, which they will this coming weekend against the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.)
  • The Bulls played the Boston Celtics in the SEGABABA for the C’s. They also played the Pacers after the Pacers played the night before (and lost to Brooklyn somehow). Monday night brought a 30-point beatdown of those same Brooklyn Nets, who probably won’t win more than 20 games this season.

This isn’t for diminishing what the Bulls have done so far. They’ve looked the complete opposite of how many expected them to look coming into this season.

But, before you start putting them among the likes of Cleveland, San Antonio and Golden State, truly looking at the situation as a whole would be a good idea.

Despite a favorable start (which has been discussed here already in their 10-game slate to start the year), there’s no denying how good the Bulls have been this season so far.

The Bulls are the Warriors and Spurs put together (The Bulliors, or something like that)

In their first three games, the Bulls are shooting 47.2 percent from the field, including a mind-boggling 42.5 percent from 3-point range.

The “Three Alphas” — you know, the guys that can’t shoot from deep — are shooting a combined 43.4 percent from long range.

Because why not, right?

There’s also a ridiculous stat that goes with this, too:

Not only are the Bulls scoring the ball at an absurd clip, they’re sharing the ball as well as any team in the league out of the gate.

Only Golden State, Atlanta and Indiana have a better assist percentage on their made field goal attempts this season than the Bulls’ 67.5 percent. Hoiball might actually be a thing this year.

The Bulls’ winning formula includes a Thibodeau staple

When the Bulls found success under Tom Thibodeau during his five seasons in Chicago, what’s the one thing the Bulls were always good at other than racking up as many injuries as any team in the league and keeping a low defensive rating? Rebounding the basketball.

The Bulls — led by new Bull Robin Lopez (6.3 rebounds) and the red-hot Taj Gibson (9.7 per game) — are doing just that. (Nikola Mirotic is grabbing 7.3 boards per game off the bench, too.)

After three games, the Bulls lead the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (14.7), are fourth in defensive rebounds per game (38.7), second in total rebounds (53.3), and are first in offensive rebound percentage (33.6) and total rebound percentage (58.4)

Lopez has filled in just nicely for the Bulls off the trade this past summer and Gibson is playing like a guy that’s in a contract year and wants some of that big-time revenue being handed out to players across the Association.

Verdict:

The question is, are the Bulls really that good?

The answer is, there’s a legitimate chance they’re much, much better than many (including myself) expected this season.

3 down, 79 more to go in finding out if the Bulls can go 74-8.

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