The Chicago Bulls are slowly drowning, down 2-0 to the Washington Wizards in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs after a humbling 101-99 loss on Tuesday, April 22. For all the hubbub surrounding the Bulls acquisition of former BYU star Jimmer Fredette, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau has elected to sit Jimmer on the bench.
It seems like a dumb move, considering Jimmer shoots about 50 percent from three-point land -- an area from which the Bulls have shot 27 percent during these playoffs. If Chicago needs help from anywhere in this series, it’s from behind the three-point arc.
The Bulls are now in a do-or-die situation, having lost both home games to open the series. That said, Chicago isn’t dead yet; the Bulls only lost Game 1 by eight points and dropped Game 2 by a single basket.
Chicago is still very much in this series -- but something has to change, and fast. The Bulls desperately need outside shooting help. But there are other ways Jimmer can help the Bulls.
While it seems like the Bulls are up against the world right now, the one thing they need is leadership. Jimmer did it at BYU, even without the services of Brandon Davies for a time -- and he can do it here. When Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has played Jimmer significant minutes -- one time, against Orlando -- the ex-BYU star filled up the stat sheet.
If ever there were a team player in the NBA, it’s Jimmer -- who repeatedly has said he will do whatever the team asks of him. Not only that, he’ll do it with a smile on his face. At the moment, the Bulls are down 2-0 in this series and they need a pick-me-up. What better person than the former BYU star?
Field goal shooting
The Bulls are also struggling making shots from the field inside the three-point line. Jimmer comes into his first playoff series shooting 45 percent from the field for Chicago -- and he shot 49 percent when he was at Sacramento. For the series, the Bulls have shot 42 percent from the field.
Free throw shooting
Jimmer is clutch from the charity stripe, shooting 85 percent for his career -- and has only missed twice all season for both Chicago and Sacramento. What’s more is that he’s automatic for the Bulls, having made both free throws he‘s attempted. Considering the Bulls shot 75 percent in Game 2, you already know the right answer. It’s time to let Jimmer play.
As mentioned previously, Jimmer fulfills a need that Chicago must have right away. Knocking down 25 percent of your shots in Game 1 -- and 29 percent in Game 2 -- will not cut it for the Bulls in this, or any playoff series. Chicago needs Jimmer to be their Steve Kerr, and Jimmer can be -- if the Bulls give Jimmer a chance.