Previewing the Chicago Bulls' 5 Biggest Training Camp Battles
Both the center and forward spots are basically set. In the middle, Joakim Noah will start over Nazr Mohammed, Omer Asik's replacement. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng will start at forward, with the likes of Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Vladimir Radmanovic coming off the bench.
However, the guard rotation seems to be wide open, especially with superstar Derrick Rose recovering from an ACL injury.
Here are the five biggest training camps associated with the Bulls.
5. Nate Robinson vs. Marquis Teague
Kirk Hinrich will likely start at the point in place of the injured Derrick Rose, but who's going to be his primary backup?
Nate Robinson—signed by the Bulls as a free agent this summer—and rookie Marquis Teague will square off for the No. 2 point guard spot on the depth chart.
Robinson, a three-time NBA dunk champion, will bring a bit of excitement to the lineup, while the super-speedy and athletic Teague can get get the the basket with ease.
Teague, however, isn't expected to receive many minutes, meaning Robinson will likely be the first point guard off the bench.
4. Rip Hamilton vs. Marco Belinelli
Rip Hamilton—who the Bulls signed last offseason—is expected to start at shooting guard for the team once again this season.
There's no guarantee, though, that he'll start as newcomer Marco Belinelli could end up grabbing the job.
A three-time NBA All-Star, Hamilton is more experienced and certainly the better defender of the two. However, Belinelli is lights-out from downtown and should do a nice job replacing Kyle Korver as a the Bulls' three-point specialist.
At the end of the day, though, look for Hamilton to win the battle and keep his spot in the starting five.
3. Taj Gibson vs. Jimmy Butler
Fourth-year power forward Taj Gibson and second-year small forward Jimmy Butler will duke it out for the Bulls' sixth man role.
Gibson has been one of the team's most important players ever since he arrived in Chicago via the 2009 draft.
Meanwhile, Butler hasn't proven much, as he rarely played as a rookie last season. The Marquette University product is sure to see his minutes increase this upcoming season with the departures of several key players.
It remains to be seen whether Butler can beat out Gibson for the Bulls' top bench player role.
2. Kirk Hinrich vs. Nate Robinson
While D-Rose is sitting on the bench in street clothes, somebody is going to have to start at point guard.
The Bulls went out and re-acquired Kirk Hinrich this offseason, but that doesn't mean he's a lock to be the starter. "Captain Kirk" may have to battle fellow new addition Nate Robinson for the job.
Hinrich has a reputation for being an above average defender, while Robinson is the better scorer of the duo.
Because of his defensive skills, Hinrich will more than likely win the starting job.
Defense is what Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is all about, right?
1. Luol Deng vs. Carlos Boozer
Rose isn't expected to return until March. With that said, who on the Bulls' roster is going to step up and emerge as the team's go-to scorer?
Well, it's safe to say that guy will be either All-Star Luol Deng or former All-Star Carlos Boozer.
Last season, both players had pretty much the same scoring average. Deng put up 15.3 points per game and Boozer chipped in with 15.0.
Boozer averaged nearly 20 points a few seasons back, so look for him serve as the team's go-to guy guy.