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Game 6 Preview - Utah Jazz (0-5) @ Chicago Bulls (1-3)

Game #5 • United Center • Chicago, IL • November 8, 2013 • 6:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports; RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM

Derrick: "Did you hear that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Smaug?" Kanter: "No way, no way, no WAY!"
Derrick: "Did you hear that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Smaug?" Kanter: "No way, no way, no WAY!"
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

The Jazz are the only winless team remaining in the NBA. Chicago is one of six teams that has only one a single game.

Such a bummer ... the Jazz totally blew the chance to go from a match-up of two winless teams Wednesday to a match-up of two 1-win teams today ... which could have led to a game between a couple 2-win teams tomorrow. The entire series of magical numerical contests has been screwed up because the Jazz decided to take the 2nd quarter off against Boston.

I'm still not over this.

What's going on with the Bulls?

First of all, they only have one win. This is surprising people. After all, they won almost 50 games last year without Derrick Rose ... so we all assume that WITH a returning former MVP they're a shoo-in for 60 wins. Right? Right?

But that's not how it works, of course.

Derrick Rose is NOT their leading scorer right now. He is, however, their leading shot-taker. When this happens, it can be a problem. When the leading shot-taker is only shooting 31% from the field ... then there are always going to be serious problems. And that's what's going on.

Rose is back, but he's not really back.

But it's not just Derrick Rose. Noah is shooting a whopping 29% from the field thus far. Deng is under 40%.

Of course, there are always crazy things that happen in the first couple weeks. Dallas once started the year 0-4 and then ended up winning 67 games.

But the Bulls fans are antsy. Here's a few headlines from Blog-a-Bull:

Breaking down a broken Bulls offense

Explaining Derrick Rose's struggles

This may be a problem

How Rose and the Bulls fell apart

So they aren't feeling "not worried" over in the land of Chicago.

What's going on with the Jazz?

In some ways, things are similar to the Bulls. They are struggling. They have had the 29th best offense the first five games (Bulls have been at #28). They have had the 17th best defense to start the year (The Bulls have been at #15).

The strengths of the Jazz offense has been offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line — as has the Bulls. The Jazz struggle making shots and giving up turnovers — just like the Bulls. The Jazz 3-point shooting has been abominable. The Bulls have been 3rd worst in this area.

Beyond that, there are two major issues we see with the Jazz:

#1: 100% of our best players are both young and playing in drastically larger roles this year.

This means that they will struggle with consistency for a while ... it will take time before everybody is comfortable and regularly producing effectively. Hayward and Kanter have been pretty fantastic the last couple games. Burks and Favors have not. Sadly, Hayward and Kanter were not fantastic games 1 & 2 ... had either one been playing like they did the last couple games, the Jazz would have 2 wins right now.

It will probably be fairly rare for all four of them to be playing really effectively in the same game for a little bit. That's just how it goes. Hopefully it won't take too long before we can count on at least 3 being good in the same game.

#2: Nobody else is contributing good things ... like at all.

Mike Harris is shooting best of the rest: 38%. He also has the highest PER: 10.7.

Seriously, the Jazz's entire lineup consists of four decent players and the sludge from the sewer. AND those four decent players have the issues they're dealing with in point #1 above.

* * *

So it's been hard to win.

BobbyD31 was unhappy about the Jazz off-season. He felt like the team did a poor job finding solid players to be a reasonable support while the young guys learn to play well in their bigger roles. It turns out that, thus far, this perfectly describes the Jazz.

* * *

And yet ...

The Jazz are the only winless team, but they are not the only one that is struggling. The Bulls have been as well. Tonight's game is a genuine opportunity for the first win of the year. It will take more than 2 of the young guys playing well, though. It will take them all putting together an effective game.

Let's hope it happens.