5 Chicago Bulls Who Will Be Just Fine Without Derrick Rose
When any star player is lost for an extended period of time, it is hard for the team. However, things can go one of two ways.
Either everything collapses, or the team pulls together and toughs it out. I personally think the Bulls have the players to tough it out and stay competitive.
While it may be tough for them to win 60 games, it is hard to see them losing 40.
Recently, ESPNChicago.com's Nick Fridell predicted the Bulls would win 50 games. In the same article, former NBA coach and current announcer Jeff Van Gundy said the Bulls would be lucky to win half their games.
While Rose is a former Rookie of the Year, three-time All-Star and former league MVP, he is not irreplaceable, and if a few guys step up, it might make them even better in the long run. Give coach Tom Thibodeau three months to plan, and anything could happen.
So who will be fine without Rose and who might be even better without him?
Jimmy Butler is going to be called on much more in his second year in the league.
After only averaging 8.5 minutes in 42 games last season, he is going to be asked to back up Luol Deng and replace Ronnie Brewer.
Based on his play in the Summer League, he might just be ready for it. He averaged over 20 points in four games and shot over 43 percent from the field. The best stat of all, though, were his 39 trips to the free-throw line.
For years the Bulls have been lacking someone who can bring it hard to the basket and draw contact. Besides Rose, there has been no one.
If he can continue to get to the line and sink his free throws, he will provide the team with some easy baskets. Let's hope he is ready for it.
Losing someone like Rose may only help Joakim Noah's game.
Noah very rarely has the offensive run through him. Most of his points come off rebounds or defenders cheating off of him.
Assuming that, there might be more missed shots, which could mean more easy baskets for Noah. On the other hand, it could also limit the time defenders cheat off of him.
Noah was close to being an All-Star the last two seasons, and this might be the year he finally breaks through. That is, if he is healthy.
He decided to sit out the Olympics for France because his ankle wasn't fully healed. Hopefully he is ready and rested for the season, because without Omer Asik, they can't afford to have him out of the lineup.
Luol Deng's wrist will affect his play much more than the absence of the former MVP.
Will he or won't he have surgery? If he has surgery, he could miss the first few months of the season.
Deng originally tore a ligament in his left wrist back in January. It was thought back then that surgery would be required, but then a month ago coach Tom Thibodeau said it might not be needed.
He played all but 48 seconds in Great Britain's opening game loss to Russia on Sunday. Deng scored 26 points on 8-27 shooting.
If he doesn't have surgery after the Olympics, I would expect the same old Deng. With or without Rose, he is good for about 17 points and six rebounds a night while playing solid defense.
Coach Thibodeau won't ask Deng to carry the load offensively and will keep him in his complementary role. The offense is going to have to come from the next two guys on this list.
Richard Hamilton has the least experience of anyone on last year's team with Rose. Therefore, he should be just fine.
Last season, the Bulls had the starting backcourt of Hamilton and Rose together for only a handful of games due to both players missing so much time. Rose only played in 39 games, while Hamilton played in 28 of the team's 66 games.
Without Rose, Hamilton will be called upon to carry more of the scoring load. His ability to play off screens and without the ball should fit just fine with Kirk Hinrich.
They may actually run the offense through Hamilton and allow him to facilitate others. While only averaging three assists a game, he showed the ability to find the open man and is willing to make the extra pass.
Hamilton is only two years removed from averaging 18 points a game, and the Bulls would be very happy if he could return to that form.
They would be even happier if this next guy could return to his All-Star form.
If the Bulls are going to survive without Rose, they need Carlos Boozer to be the man.
Boozer is by far the most talented offensive player on the team besides Rose. Getting him 15 shots a game is a great way to get him back to averaging near 20 points.
Thibodeau needs to find a way to replace Rose's 21.8 points per game, and adding five points to Boozer's average is a great way to do it. If both Hamilton and Boozer can up their averages, along with Kirk Hinrich averaging about 10 points a game, then they are nearly there.
The biggest thing standing in Boozer's way is coach Thibodeau. Will he be able to live with the defensive lapses?
He may have to. Otherwise, the season might be lost.
Let's hope he can, because I'd rather see Boozer taking last-second free throws than any other big man.
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