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Chicago Bulls: Is the New Bench's Ceiling Higher Than the Departed Bench Mob's?

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Chicago Bulls: Is the New Bench's Ceiling Higher Than the Departed Bench Mob's?
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

During the 2010-11 and 2011-12 NBA seasons, Chicago finished the regular season with the top record in the league. This achievement was due, in no small part, to the Bulls' second unit's ability to demolish opponents' benches.

The "Bench Mob", as the Bulls second unit was nicknamed, routinely outscored opponents' benches and either closed deficits or extended leads while on the court. That group was primarily made up of C.J. Watson, John Lucas, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.

Gibson will be the lone member of the Bench Mob on Chicago's 2012-13 roster. One could argue that last year's first round pick, Jimmy Butler, was part of the bench mob too, but I do not think he played enough of a role to be considered a key piece.

Butler will see much more playing time this season and should find his role on the bench. It looks like he will fill the wing defensive stopper void left by Brewer's departure. However, Butler looks to be much more offensively skilled considering his recent play during this season's NBA Summer League and his selection as part of the All-Summer League team.

To replace the departed members of the Bench Mob, Chicago has reportedly agreed to contracts with this year's draft pick, Marquis Teague and free agents Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich and Vladimir Radmanovic. The team is also reportedly on the verge of signing Nazr Mohammed and we can anticipate that Chicago will look to sign Butler's fellow Summer League standout Malcolm Thomas.

Not considering the injury to Derrick Rose, and penciling Rose, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah in as starters, I would argue that this year's bench players have a higher ceiling than the former Bench Mob.

While the new squad will not have the same chemistry and defensive synchronicity as the departed, the new bench has much more offensive ability and could eventually become almost as strong of a defensive unit as its predecessor.

If coach Tom Thibodeau can work his magic and convince the new bench players to buy in to his defensive philosophy, then the new bench has a higher overall ceiling than the Bench Mob.

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