5 Things Every Fan Needs to Know About the Chicago Bulls for the 2012-13 Season
Is the team capable of winning without Derrick Rose, who will miss a significant amount of time while recovering from an ACL injury?
Does Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have the ability to step up their games and lead the way in Rose's absence?
Is the retooled bench ready to produce?
Here are five things every NBA fan needs to know about the 2012-13 Bulls, whether you reside in Chicago or another town.
Rip Hamilton Has a Little Left in the Tank
When the Bulls signed Rip Hamilton last offseason, they thought they were picking up the final piece of the championship puzzle.
Unfortunately, that didn't turn out be the case, as the veteran shooting guard missed a chunk of time due to injury and averaged under 12 points per game.
Expect Hamilton to bounce back next season and prove to the league that he has something left in the tank.
He's not going to put up 20 points per game like he did back in the day, but he can indeed emerge as a valuable contributor to the team.
Jimmy Butler Is Set to Have a Breakout Year
Buried on the bench, Jimmy Butler rarely saw action as a rookie in Chicago last season.
Now that guys like Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer are elsewhere, Butler's playing time should increase dramatically during his sophomore year.
Butler is coming off a fabulous Summer League, putting up 20.8 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in four contests.
Don't be surprised to see his performance translate to the regular season. And don't be shocked to see him battle the likes of James Harden and Jason Terry for Sixth Man of the Year honors.
They Can Win the Central Division Once Again
The injured Derrick Rose will be out for quite awhile, and several key players from last season are now gone.
With that said, the Bulls are bound to have an awful year and miss the playoffs, right?
As long as head coach Tom Thibodeau is on the sidelines and guys like Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are still around, the Bulls have the skills needed to win the Central Division for the third consecutive year.
Yes, the extremely-deep Indiana Pacers also play in the division, but the Bulls' defense can help them come out on top.
The New-Look Bench Won't Disappoint
This offseason, the Bulls' bench, also known as the "Bench Mob," was dismantled. The team cut ties with Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and John Lucas III.
With the Bulls' bench broken up, many fans believe the team's new second unit just isn't as good as last year's.
However, those same fans will think otherwise once the season starts.
Newcomers Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed, Marquis Teague and Vladimir Radmanovic should all prove to be great additions, while holdovers Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler are a pair of reliable reserves.
This group may not be as great as the Bench Mob, but they won't let Chicagoans down next season.
Derrick Rose Will Come Back Better Than Before
Derrick Rose will miss most of the 2012-13 season due to suffering an ACL injury during the playoffs.
A few haters out there think he's the next Tracy McGrady or Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, a superstar whose career will be derailed by injuries.
Nothing against those two former All-Stars, but Rose's name shouldn't be included in the same sentence.
Look for the Bulls' franchise point guard to return with a much-improved jump shot and be a better player than he was before the injury.
Just wait, D-Rose is going to shut his critics up next season and look like he was never injured.