5 Possible Starting Lineups for the Chicago Bulls in 2012-13
Chicago Bulls fans may see numerous starting lineups for their team during the upcoming season.
The team's Alpha Dog Derrick Rose will be sidelined for nearly the entire year as he recovers from an ACL injury which he suffered during the postseason. To replace the one-time NBA MVP in the starting five, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will have to go with either the defensive-minded Kirk Hinrich or the speedy Nate Robinson at the point.
With the possibility of other Bulls starters getting plagued by injuries, players like Jimmy Butler and Vladimir Radmanovic could somehow become starters for a few games or so.
Here are five possible starting lineups for Chicago in 2012-13.
Opening Night Lineup
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Kirk Hinrich, Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah
Derrick Rose will not be a part of the Bulls' opening night lineup unless a huge—really huge—miracle takes place.
With that said, Kirk Hinrich will replace the injured Rose at point guard when the Bulls open their season at home versus the Sacramento Kings.
Hinrich, now in his second stint with the team, can't drop 25 points a night like D-Rose, but he is a solid defender and should do a decent job as a starter.
Joining Captain Kirk in the backcourt is Rip Hamilton, who will attempt to bounce back from a rather disappointing 2011-12 campaign in Chicago.
Rounding out the starting five is the trio of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, truly one of the league's better front lines.
"Injured Rip Hamilton" Lineup
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Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah
There's probably about a 99.5 percent chance that Rip Hamilton misses a great deal of time due to injuries this upcoming season, let's just keep it real.
The former Detroit Pistons All-Star has been injury-prone over the last few years. He missed a combined 101 games the past three seasons, including 38 games last season.
With Hamilton likely to be bitten by the injury bug at some point, the Bulls can insert newcomer Marco Belinelli into the starting lineup at the 2-guard spot.
The sharpshooting Belinelli did a fine job as a starter last season with the New Orleans Hornets, replacing the injured Eric Gordon.
"Injured Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng" Lineup
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Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton, Jimmy Butler, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah
Kirk Hinrich hasn't been the league's most durable player lately, as he missed 18 games last season in Atlanta.
In the event that Hinrich goes down with an injury this season, Tom Thibodeau will have no choice but to plug Nate Robinson into the lineup.
Sure to be an instant fan favorite in Chicago, the 5'9" Robinson brings scoring and a bunch of excitement to the table for the Bulls.
Also, Luol Deng could end up experiencing problems with his left wrist, forcing him to miss a little bit of action. If so, second-year small forward Jimmy Butler will more than likely get the nod, serving as a defensive stopper.
The "Shake Things Up/ Joakim Noah Injury" Lineup
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Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed
Without the services of Derrick Rose for a large amount of time, the Bulls could struggle through stretches of the season. This could cause Tom Thibodeau to tinker with the lineup a bit.
Bulls fans just might witness Thibs replace Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton with Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli. Gibson, who has spent the majority of his career coming off the bench, could prove to be a nice addition to the starting five, while Boozer could thrive as the team's sixth man.
In addition, the Belinelli-for-Hamilton switch could wind up being a good move as well.
Joakim Noah missed the final three games of last season's playoff series against Philadelphia with an ankle injury. If the ankle problems resurface this season and Noah has to miss time on the floor, Nazr Mohammed, Omer Asik's replacement, would take his place in the lineup.
Final Playoff Game Lineup
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Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah
Rose returns to the hardwood after missing most of the season, and meanwhile, Thibodeau places both Hamilton and Boozer back into the starting lineup where they really belong.
This is perhaps the best group the Bulls can go with. No, they're not on the same level as the Los Angeles Lakers' starting unit—at least not on paper—but they can indeed lead Chicago to a deep postseason run, possibly battling the likes of the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics.
A healthy Rose is one of the game's top players and Hamilton is a terrific mid-range shooter. Deng, an All-Star last year, is an elite defender; Boozer can score; and Noah is a center capable of producing double-doubles.