Bulls swingman Kyle Korver, who scored eight points, looks for an opening on the baseline against former Bull Ben Wallace. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 11, 2012 8:20AM
It’s a misconception to think that Kyle Korver is paid solely to shoot.
There’s no better proof of this fallacy than when the Bulls hosted the Hawks on Jan. 3 and Korver played more than 14 minutes in the first half without attempting a field goal.
Sure, the 6-7 swingman is one of the NBA’s best from long range, but his presence alone helps spread the floor and open passing lanes, making it easier for Derrick Rose to run the offense.
“You’d like to think that you’re able to manage it [shot-taking] every game, but sometimes you come out and you really want to get one up,” Korver said. “And sometimes you’re a little more patient. It’s a constant battle, but I don’t like taking shots just to shoot shots. I want to take shots to make the shots.”
Korver has seen increased minutes in the wake of guard Rip Hamilton’s groin injury, allowing him to ease into the offense more when he comes off the bench. He can let the offense come to him instead of worrying about when he might be pulled back onto the bench.
More important, Korver has improved his defense, which was exposed in the Eastern Conference finals by the Heat’s Dwyane Wade.
Reeling from that performance, Korver dedicated himself to improving his footwork in the offseason, which will help him stay on the floor.
“A lot of it is just a year into the system, trying to continue to play smarter and know all the coverages,” he said. “I’ve worked a lot of side-to-side movements this summer, just trying to be a better athlete, trying to be stronger.
“I still have a ways to go. It’s a work in progress, but I feel like I’m doing all right.”
Before the game Monday against Detroit, coach Tom Thibodeau emphasized the need for the catch-and-shoot style Korver brings to the offense as opposed to three-point attempts off the dribble.
Thibodeau dismissed the idea that any improvement in Korver’s defense has increased his confidence in putting him on the floor in key situations.
Korver scored eight points in the 92-68 victory over the Pistons.
“Kyle, since he’s been here, has done a terrific job,” Thibodeau said. “He played a lot of big minutes for us last year — big fourth-quarter minutes — hit a lot of big shots for us.
‘‘He’s a smart player, he’s a tough player and his shooting opens up the floor for us.”