5 Players Who Chicago Bulls Can Turn to for Offense Until Derrick Rose Returns
Chicago Bulls' point guard and superstar Derrick Rose will miss the first few months of the regular season after suffering a torn ACL in the first game of the playoffs last season. In the 2010-2011 season, the last full season for Chicago, Derrick Rose was responsible for over 25 percent of the Bulls overall scoring by himself. His assists average also accounting for over 20 percent of the Bulls' overall scoring as well.
Fact is without Rose, the Bulls are going to need to find other players on the team who will be able to score, and score big. Last year in the playoffs after Rose went out, no player who played all six games averaged more than 14 points per game. The Bulls will need more production from their highest scorer if they want to stay competitive without Rose.
Here are five players who may be able to boost the scoring production.
2012 Stats: 29.8 MPG, 11.8 PPG, 41.7% FG, 37.7% 3P
Marco Belinelli is a shooting guard who lives up to the shooting part of his position. He is a career 39 percent shooter from long range. However, he may be an improvement on former Bull Kyle Korver as he is able to put the ball on the floor and shoot off the dribble at a much higher level than Korver.
In this situation, it is likely that the Bulls will use Belinelli as a spark plug off the bench for quick scoring in limited minutes. When Derrick Rose comes back, he may get some minutes in the starting rotation to provide shooting and a complimentary ball handler at times. Playing next to Rose and Nate Robinson, he will likely get quite a few open three pointers, and he has shown he can knock them down.
2012 Stats: 15.0 PPG, 53.2% FG
Carlos Boozer was the Bulls' big acquisition two summers ago in the legendary free-agent class of 2010. In the two seasons since, Boozer has proven that he isn't a player who will create his own shot at the level that the Bulls need next to Derrick Rose. He also isn't a player who adds much of anything on the defensive end.
Despite that, he is still a player who will be very important for the Bulls next season. Boozer is a player who can be dangerous if he has his offense created for him by his point guard. While Derrick Rose is out, the newly acquired Kirk Hinrich can still run the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop at a passable level. Boozer has shown he can hit the mid-range jumpshot at a high level, and that will hopefully draw out the defense and create room for other Bulls to drive.
2012 Stats: 15.3 PPG, 41.2% FG, 36.7% 3P
Luol Deng is another player who may miss a few weeks of the season as he needs to have surgery on a ligament in his left wrist. Either way, he still will be back before Derrick Rose. Deng is a player who can't score in many special ways, but still finds ways to score quietly.
Last season was a poor one for Deng, but the Bulls must hope that it is the exception, not the rule. In 2012, Deng shot five percentage points below his career field goal percentage, and three points over his career three point percentage. However Deng also led the league in minutes per game last season, so it's easy to see that his legs might have just given out after a point. With Rose out, Deng will be relied on more, and we'll see if he can respond.
2012 Stats: 24.9 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 45.2% FG, 37% 3P
Looking back at the stats from last year, it's easy to argue Rip Hamilton actually didn't have as bad of a season as people think. He shot decent percentages from the field and three, averaged double figures, which doesn't look too bad. However, Rip only played in 28 games out of 66 possible, and that's not going to cut it for a team looking for scoring.
This season is a regular 82 game season, so we will likely see improvement from Hamilton on the injury front, as the Bulls will not be playing so many games in such a short time. Hamilton will be relied on to score and even to create at times, which are the two things he made a living doing in Detroit. We shall see if he can improve his production in Chicago this season both before and after Rose comes back.
2012 Stats: 23.4 MPG, 11.2 PPG, 42.4% FG, 36.5% 3P, 4.5 APG
Last year for Golden State, Nate Robinson played exactly how Chicago needs him to play. He showed that he can score and score in bunches off the bench. In addition, he showed he could create for the Warriors by averaging 4.5 assists per game, despite passing to subpar talent in Golden State. On top of this package, he also shot a solid percentage from three despite putting up a lot of attempts.
It will likely be difficult for Tom Thibodeau to get used to playing a flamboyant player like Nate Robinson, especially since he is used to the straight-laced personality of Derrick Rose. However, especially as a minimum signing, Robinson has the potential to provide an exceptional value and contribute to the team's overall scoring and success.