Grading Every Position Heading into Chicago Bulls Training Camp
It's time to hand out grades for every position as the Chicago Bulls prepare for training camp. The grades are based on each player's current strength and not on their potential.
Derrick Rose, of course, did not receive a grade since he'll be inactive once training camp rolls around. The NBA's 2011 MVP will likely miss most of the 2012-13 season, as he recovers from a knee injury which he suffered in last season's playoffs.
The Rose-less Bulls will start the season with 12 active players unless the team picks up a veteran or two here shortly.
Here are the Bulls' grades heading into camp.
Joakim Noah is set to enter his sixth season as a member of the Bulls and will start at center once again.
Last season, the 6'11" big man produced 10.2 points, 9.8 rebounds as well as 1.4 blocks per game.
Year-in and year-out, he contributes mightily when it comes to defense and rebounding the basketball.
Backing up Noah in the middle is Nazr Mohammed, who the Bulls signed this summer to replace the departed Omer Asik (now with the Houston Rockets).
Although Mohammed won't put up eye-popping numbers (2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds last season), he's still a decent reserve.
Carlos Boozer occupies the Bulls' starting power forward spot for the third consecutive year.
Ever since his Chicago arrival in 2010, Boozer just hasn't been the same star that he was with the Utah Jazz. However, he can still get you 15 points and nearly nine boards a night, which isn't too horrific.
Chicago fans will soon find out whether the former All-Star can return to his own ways in Derrick Rose's absence.
Taj Gibson and Vladmir Radmanovic are currently second and third on the Bulls' depth chart at power forward. The defensive-minded Gibson is absolutely one of the league's best sixth men and "Vlad Rad" is a sweet-shooting stretch-four.
Starting at small forward for Chicago is none other than Luol Deng, an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve last year.
This offseason, Deng chose to forgo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. Skipping the operation could prove to be a great thing for the Bulls, but also a bad thing.
Chicago needs Deng's scoring and lockdown defense all season long if they want to earn a spot in the postseason. If he experiences problems with the wrist and has to miss a significant amount of time, the team will be in store for a disastrous year.
Jimmy Butler—who was buried on the bench last season as a rookie—should receive plenty of playing time in 2012-13 backing up Deng. The 6'7" Marquette product will get the chance to show Bulls fans that he clearly belongs in the league.
Richard Hamilton is expected to start at shooting guard for the Bulls in 2012-13.
Signed by the team last December, the three-time All-Star was a major disappointment last season, as injuries forced him to miss 38 games.
Hamilton averaged just 11.6 points per game, the lowest number since his rookie year back in 1999-00.
He will attempt to bounce back and put together a productive season for Tom Thibodeau's Bulls.
Hamilton is slated to start, but it wouldn't be a shocker if Marco Belinelli ends up stealing his job. Belinelli, known as an excellent long-range-shooter, has drilled over 100 treys in each of the past two seasons and did a fine job as a starter for New Orleans last year.
Kirk Hinrich, whom the Bulls signed in July, is now in his second Chicago tour of duty. The former Kansas Jayhawk spent his first seven seasons with the Bulls, before making stops in Washington and Atlanta the past two years.
With Derrick Rose likely out until March, Hinrich will serve as the team's starting point guard.
He doesn't possess the ability to carry a team like Rose can, but he has a reputation of being a respectable perimeter defender.
Fellow newcomers Nate Robinson and rookie Marquis Teague will play behind Captain Kirk to open the season.
Robinson, a three-time NBA dunk champ, could prove to be a spark plug off the bench for the Bulls, while Teague might not receive much playing time during his debut season.