Without Rose the Bulls Need Team Effort

Even if Derrick Rose returns for some portion of the 2012-2013 NBA season, he won’t be the player you’ve come to know and love to watch. His minutes will be limited and he won’t have the burst or cutting ability of years past. At least not right away. With no Rose and a less talented, more affordable bench mob, coach Tom Thibodeau will earn every bit of his 4 year, $17 million plus contract extension. The fifty percent roster turnover will result in an inconsistent rotation until Thibodeau  settles on what works best to stay competitive. Along with the six hold overs from last season come six new additions, one of them being a familiar face to Bulls fans.

2012-2013 Roster

  • Luol Deng
  • Joakim Noah
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Taj Gibson
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Kirk Hinrich C.J. Watson
  • Nate Robinson John Lucas
  • Marco Belinelli Kyle Korver
  • Vladimir Radmanovic Ronnie Brewer
  • Nazr Mohammed Omer Asik
  • Marquis Teague Mike James

Early results show Luol Deng picking up where he left off as last season’s other Bulls all star. He remains the coach’s “glue guy” and will again lead the team in minutes played as long as his wrist holds up. Joakim Noah has upped his scoring while maintaining solid rebounding numbers and, with Dwight Howard’s defection to the Western Conference, he has a legitimate  chance of making his first all star team. Last season, Carlos Boozer thrived when Rose missed time flourishing as a go-to low post scorer. Boozer is still trying to find his way this year though. His points per game are down but many expected him, not Noah, to pick up the scoring void left by Rose’s absence. Boozer has major offensive ability but is passive at times. His scoring should increase as the season progresses. The starting back court of Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton look like they’ve been playing together for years and both appear healthier than in past seasons. Hamilton’s points per game are up and Hinrich’s ability as a combo guard allows him to contribute in multiple areas. Coach Thibodeau has taken an interesting approach to the point guard position with Rose out of commission. While Hinrich starts, former slam dunk champ, Nate Robinson plays almost as many minutes and sometimes is tapped as the point guard to close out games. He has brought energy to the team, both on the court and in the locker room. In his first 10 seasons in the league, Robinson’s assists per game topped 4 only once, mostly hovering around 2.5 . But, last year and thus far this season, he has managed to keep his average above 4.5 allowing the team to stay more involved when he’s on the court. It may be Nate Robinson, not Kirk Hinrich, that turns out to be the most valuable off-season addition to the Bulls. Marco Belinelli has started slow but will be relied upon to replace Kyle Korver as a long range threat. Both attempted over 4 three pointers per game last year with Korver’s success rate at .435 compared to Belinelli’s .377 percentage. When he becomes more consistent, expect his 15 minutes per game to climb. The rest of the bench, Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed and Marquis Teague, have yet to make major contributions to the team. But Mohammed is the Bulls only other center and needs to step up in minutes and contributions or Noah will wear down before the All Star break.

Unlike previous teams that lived or died with Rose’s play, the 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls season will be a collective success or failure. Each player must fill his role for the team to be successful. There is no true superstar – despite all the zeros in Boozer’s paycheck – to carry this year’s team. Watch the games and it’ll feel like the pre-Rose seasons where Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Loul Deng led a group of try-hard players to multiple .500 win seasons. Unlike those seasons, at least we won’t have to deal with the below average coaching efforts of a Vinny Del Negro. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Found It:
NBA Reference

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