Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Player on the Chicago Bulls Heading into 2012-13
The Chicago Bulls have been revamped, rebuilt or just redone depending on your perspective. With Derrick Rose out with injury, even the returning players will see their roles changed. Some of the players have seen their stock rise as a result, and some have had it fall.
For each player, the barometer is not relative to one another, but is compared to expectations from the 2011 season. If a player is expected to see an uptick in his production, his stock is up. If he is expected to see his numbers fall off, his stock is down.
Players are ranked according to their expected level of importance to the Bulls this year.
Derrick Rose, Unknown
With Derrick Rose, it's just impossible to say what is going to happen. It's even hard to say how his "stock" is doing if he doesn't play at all. His tears at his shoe release probably did as much to elevate his stock as anything could off the court.
His numbers aren't likely to be anything close to the 25 points and eight assists a game he had in his MVP season once he returns, but if he returns at all, it's a huge boon to the Bulls.
It's just impossible to gauge with Rose right now, so he just gets listed as an unknown. All we know for sure is the next time he is introduced in the starting lineup the roof is going to blow off the United Center.
Vladimir Radmanovic, Stock Down
Vladimir Radmanovic is destined to take over the 12th-man role of Brian Scalabrine, but don't expect any chants for his name when games are well in hand. Radmanovic just doesn't have the same rhythm to it.
RAD-MAN-O-VICH. Nope. It doesn't work.
Last year he played more than 20 minutes in just 13 games, and he's not likely to see much more playing time with Chicago.
His player efficiency rating (PER) of 11.7 last season would have placed him dead last on last season's Bulls squad, well behind Ronnie Brewer's 12.3, and while Brewer was last on the team, unlike Radmanovic, he was an outstanding defensive player who earned his minutes the hard way.
As for SCAL-A-BRIN-E? His PER was 13.5.
When you can't fill the shoes of the "White Mamba", you aren't going to be seeing a lot of court time.
Nate Robinson, Stock Down
Nate Robinson had a nice bounce-back season in 2012 with Golden State. After averaging just 6.8 points and 1.6 assists per game in 2011 in averaging 17.2 minutes per game in 2012, Robinson had 11.2 points per game and 4.5 assists per game in averaging 23.4 minutes.
While some might like to see the exciting, dynamic player starting for the Bulls over Kirk Hinrich or Marquis Teague, he is on a non-guaranteed contract.
Non-guaranteed means that he's on the shortest of all leashes. The Bulls could drop him at any time. For that reason, he, more than any other Bull, has his stock down.
Of course having it down means he has the most room to go up. If Marquis Teague struggles, Robinson could see a lot of minutes and last the entire season.
Nazr Mohammed, Stock Up
Nazr Mohammed will see plenty of court time, mostly by default, but there could be trouble ahead for him.
There is hope that he could have a decent defensive year but mostly because he'll be playing aside defensive stalwart Taj Gibson a lot. Gibson made all but one Bull look better on defense last season.
Mohammed does have a better offensive game than Omer Asik did. Mohammed will have more scoring chances in Chicago than he did in Oklahoma City and has a modicum of a chance at a bit of a bounce-back year.
Last season he averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 boards a game in just 11 minutes per game. Simply by virtue of the fact the Bulls have only two centers on the roster, he'll probably double all of those stats this year, so his stock is up.
But watch out for him too. If his defensive mistakes add up, look for Carlos Boozer, who plays defense much better when defending the center position (but more on that later), to play alongside Gibson.
Marco Belinelli, Stock Up
Marco Belinelli is going to be expected to step into Kyle Korver's role. Mostly what he'll be expected to do is be the shooter on the team. That's going to be tough to do, but more because of how good of a shooter Korver was.
Difficult, but not impossible.
Surprisingly, Belinelli isn't that far off from Korver in terms of his three-point field goal percentage. Korver had a .425 percentage from deep as a Bull. In the same span, Belinelli had a .396 mark. Both players averaged 1.6 makes per game over the last two years.
Belinelli is also a better ball-handler than Korver. Belinelli created 22 percent of his own shots compared to only seven percent for Korver.
Expect Belinelli's numbers to be closer to the 12 points per game he had with the Hornets than the eight that Korver had with the Bulls. The only thing that will change for Belinelli is he'll get more notoriety.
Granted his defense is questionable, but so was Korver's before Tom Thibodeau worked with him.
He would also be a great candidate to replace the Scalabrine chant. One half the arena can chant, "Marco!," then the other half can respond, "Belinelli!"
Marquis Teague, IPO
Marquis Teague is just another student who has passed through the John Calipari School of Point Guardery.
It's only a one-year program.
He'll be joining fellow JCSPG grad Derrick Rose and will be attempting to help fill the void left by his absence.
There's a bit of a question of how many minutes Teague will get to play. The Bulls need a point guard and in terms of pure physical ability right now, Teague seems to be the best they have. On the other hand, Thibodeau has notoriously underplayed rookies.
Teague will probably get minutes until Rose returns, but once Rose does, Teague will find more time on the bench than the court.
Since he's a rookie, his stock can be neither up nor down, so we're just going to give him an IPO.
Jimmy Butler, Stock Up
Jimmy Butler was a Summer League All-Star and shone like one. He averaged 20.8 points and almost 10 free-throw attempts per game, knocking them down at a 90 percent rate.
Butler has a real ability to drive the floor and get to the rim. His scoring this year should go up immensely as he'll be given lots of floor time.
His tenacious defense has already endeared him to Thibodeau, and this year his numbers can be expected to go up. Way up. He has an outside shot at 10 points per game and should easily more than double the 2.9 points per game he had last season.
Richard Hamilton, Stock Down
Richard Hamilton was pretty well celebrated coming into Chicago last season, then he quickly got injured and stayed injured for the bulk of the season.
He ended up missing 38 of the team's 66 games last season and played only 697 minutes overall. When he did play, he actually did relatively well, averaging 16.8 points per 36 minutes, fourth best on the Bulls roster.
It's not likely to be the case that a player with over 28,000 career minutes is going to suddenly get healthier as he turns 34, but there's always a slight chance.
Expect Hamilton to miss more games, and expect his scoring, even per minute, to continue to decline.
Kirk Hinrich, Stock Up
Kirk Hinrich's stock is up in part because it just can't go down, but also because he will be playing better next year.
Hinrich never quite gelled in Atlanta. He averaged just 9.8 points and 3.9 assists per game there. That's not all on Hinrich, though; it's in large part of the offensive system he was playing in.
Atlanta is a largely jump-shooting team. According to Synergy, they went to the spot-up jumper 23.9 percent of the time, while the ball-handler on the pick-and-roll shot the ball only 8.8 percent of the time. For Chicago, the Bulls relied on the spot-up only 18.5 percent of the time, and the ball-handler on the pick-and-roll shot the ball 13 percent of the time.
While you can argue that "ball-handler" doesn't always mean "point guard," and "spot-up" doesn't always mean someone other than the point guard, generally it's true. Point guards are more likely to handle the ball on the pick-and-roll, and they're more likely to pass out to their wings for the spot-ups.
Since the Bulls will be running the pick-and-roll more often, Hinrich will see his numbers go up simply because his chances will go up. The style the Bulls play, regardless of who their point guard is, has been to put the ball in the point guard's hands.
Hinrich won't be the Bull he was when he was with the Bulls in his first stint with the team, but he'll be better than he was last year with the Hawks.
Carlos Boozer, Stock Up?
At this point can Boozer's stock go down any more? Are there even more stocks left to sell? The inclination is to say "stock down" but down to where? Rock bottom is rock bottom.
The chance for Boozer's stock to go up relies on if his minutes at center go up. What's shocking is that if you look at his breakdown by position on 82games.com, he's actually a much better center than he is a power forward.
As a power forward, Boozer was actually not bad on offense (unless you count the times when games actually mattered). He averaged 23.9 points per 48 minutes and had a PER of 19.3. On defense he was horrible, though, giving up a PER of 17.3.
Now it should be said that he actually did outplay his opponent on average. Per 48 minutes he scored 4.5 more points, grabbed 2.9 more boards and shot .527 to his opponents' .468.
There's something really striking though when he played center. He utterly dominated his opponent on both ends of the court. His own PER was 26.3, and his opponents only had a PER of 12.7.
He scored 28.9 points per game to his opponents' 15.7, grabbed 15.2 boards to his opponents' 13.7. And here is the most striking stat of all: He shot .568 to his opponents' average of .400 when he played center.
So here's the gist. Boozer is a better center than power forward, and the Bulls are really sketchy at backup center.
Boozer is just better equipped to play center. His feet aren't quick enough to get into position when he plays power forward, so he just ends up fouling a lot. When he plays center, his feet aren't as important, and his lower body strength makes him hard to push around
Don't be shocked if Boozer's minutes, which have been depleted since being in Chicago because of his shoddy defense at power forward, go back up with him playing a lot more minutes at center. Not only would they go up in quantity, they'd go up in quality too if that were to happen.
A return to his 18-and-10 days in Utah are not at all impossible here. With Boozer, the issue hasn't been so much production while he's on the court; it's been playing enough defense to stay on the court. If he had averaged just 36 minutes a game last season, he would have done that. Extended minutes at center could put him into that range.
Taj Gibson, Stock Up
Taj Gibson is working on his offense. He really doesn't need to work on his defense.
There is a huge sentiment in Chicago for Gibson to take over as the starter, and his electric performance in the the playoffs is a big part of the reason why.
Gibson told ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers some encouraging words. He said:
Thibs (Tom Thibodeau) already told me he wants my role to change, be more of a leader now. I worked out with him a lot during the summer. I worked out with him before the (Team) USA camp. He just wanted me to work out this whole year, build confidence and get better. He thinks I can do a lot more on and off the court. I'm ready to take that next step.
Powers wrote, "Gibson thought the next step was being more of an all-around player." Gibson continued and said:
Just playing more solid, just coming in knocking down some 15-footers, back-to-the-basket play, a lot of stuff like that I've been working on during the offseason, a lot of stuff like that in the USA camp.
When Thibodeau works with players, they get better. He has a much more pronounced history with player development than many people realize because it's not advertised. The list of improvements he made include turning Ray Allen into a passable defensive player to making Yao Ming an MVP candidate to making Derrick Rose an MVP.
Gibson is poised for a breakout year, and an average of 12 points a game is not at all a stretch.
Joakim Noah, Stock Up
For those who didn't read it yet, here's some news from Gary Washburn of NBA Globe via Twitter on Joakim Noah.
Apparently Noah's ankle is fine. Note that this doesn't say Kareem "is going to work with" but did say, "he worked with" and used past tense.
It's also hard to not appreciate that "expects" there.
Noah has already established himself as an elite defensive center. He was named to the 2011 All-Defense team. He's been needing to add more of a post game.
Now it looks like he's ready to. Noah doesn't need to be an elite center on offense. He doesn't even need to be good. If he were merely above average, it would make him a top-five center in the league, and if he cuts loose with the "sky-tornado" next year, watch out. It's not impossible for him to post 15 points per game.
Luol Deng, Stock Down
With Derrick Rose out, the onus of carrying the team is going to fall on the shoulders of Luol Deng.
It's questionable that he can carry the burden, especially with a possible torn ligament in the wrist of his non-shooting hand a lingering issue.
The upside of having a player like Rose on the court is that he makes those around him better. The downside is that when he's not on the court, he can't make them better.
Derrick Rose isn't going to be on the court, and Luol Deng is one of those players he makes better. According to NBA.com, Deng saw his overall field-goal percentage go up one percent while Rose was on the court and his three-point percentage go up seven percent while Rose was on the court.
That means there's a very good chance that Deng's shooting will go down this year. He'll still be the moral and mental leadership of the team on the court. He'll still be the tenacious and consistent defensive player. He'll still be "Glue-All Deng." He won't be as efficient on offense though.
Don't expect a return to the All-Star game for Deng. His stock will be down more because last winter it was at an all-time high. It's just not realistic to expect him to maintain the same production sans Rose.