Chicago Bulls: What Players Besides Derrick Rose Need to Step Up?

Steven Elonich@@TheMainSteventCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2012

Chicago Bulls: What Players Besides Derrick Rose Need to Step Up?

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    As the Chicago Bulls have opened up this shortened season with a hot start, there are a few flaws still visible. In order to make it to a rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Miami Heat, the Bulls must improve to avoid an upset in an early round or to a low seed in the East.

    Derrick Rose is the unquestioned leader of this potentially championship-caliber team, but who else needs to step their game up in order for this team to take the next step? This season is still young, but these are the players who need to step up so far.

Joakim Noah

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    Joakim Noah looks softer this season. He still brings a spark and plays good defense, but not the fantastic defense we're used to. Noah has been scored on a few more times than usual and that could simply be rust from the excessive offseason. Let's hope so.

    Noah should also be achieving a double-double game in and game out and be averaging more than eight points, eight rebounds with a 38 percent shooting rate. If you can't make the shots, don't take them, especially with that form.

    You're not supposed to be benched in crunch time, but that has already happened this year to Noah and Carlos Boozer.

Carlos Boozer

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    It seems as if Carlos Boozer is finding himself on all of these lists, but for once I was a little reluctant to throw him on here.

    Boozer's defense has improved. Is it up to the level we want? No, but he could still be improving, and hopefully will. Boozer is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game, which isn't what he's being payed to do, but is just a little below his career average of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

    As long as Boozer doesn't turn the ball over, makes smart passes and continues to shoot over 50 percent on offense, I'll take it, I guess.

Richard "Rip" Hamilton

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    Richard Hamilton seems like he is going to fit in well with this Bulls team. His mid-range shot is a gem and his playoff experience is priceless. The only issue with Rip is that of his health. He has been battling the injury bug early in this season, which can mess with team chemistry, especially with a new asset that wasn't able to practice in a short training camp for more than a week.

    Fortunately, Ronnie Brewer has filled in nicely and has definitely increased his range over the offseason.

Brian Scalabrine

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    When the entire crowd is yelling your name and the team has the game in their hands, you take the shot, Brian Scalabrine. Don't pass the ball. We don't want assists.

    That's all I have to say about that.