Media Day is October 1, which means the Chicago Bulls training camp is right around the corner! The Bulls come into training camp with many questions, as well as a variety of new pieces on or around the roster.
The Bulls head into this season without their top player, Derrick Rose. Rose is still nursing a torn ACL, and won't be back until around the All-Star break. That being said, here's how the Bulls roster stacks up.
It's been a sad offseason, as we have had to refer to the injured Derrick Rose in those terms for months now. He may be the best player on the team, but what use is Derrick to the Bulls if he can't participate in training camp?
All we can do is hope and pray that Derrick is working hard throughout his recovery, and that he is getting healthy. Until then, Derrick Rose is the least effective player heading into training camp.
Nazr Mohammed has been a backup center in this league for many years, and we know hopefully what to expect from him, even now that he is 35 years old. He is not a great defender, nor a great offensive player, but is a big body in the middle in case of emergency.
If Chicago needs Mohammed to play, they could be in trouble. He should be the fourth big man on the roster, maybe even fifth. If he's any more, we're in trouble.
Vladimir Radmanovic is a power forward known for his long range jump shot. He is a player who has played a lesser and lesser role on each team he has been on for the past few seasons. However he is still a player who can eat up some minutes.
On this team, Radmanovic should rarely play. If he is called on to play, he will do a fine job of taking up minutes to rest Boozer and Gibson, which shouldn't be a problem. At minimum, he could be a decent long-range shooter in limited minutes.
Marquis Teague comes into this season as a highly-touted rookie out of the National Champion University of Kentucky Wildcats. He was projected to be a much higher pick, but he slipped in a solid draft class all the way to No. 29.
Because he's a rookie, it's very difficult to actually gauge where he will be next season. However, in the next year he should get some opportunity on the court, with Derrick Rose out. Hopefully, he can rise up in Rose's absence.
Some Bulls fans are exploding with optimism for Jimmy Butler after seeing him become a Summer League All Star and average over 20 points per game. I'm here to temper those expectations a little bit. Butler is a good defensive player, and a solid offensive player, but let's not place unfair expectations on him.
Butler is a second year player. He will improve quite a bit this season. However, let's not say that he will become an All-Star or complementary scorer. Next season he will be much higher on this list. But until then, he is here.
Marco Belinelli has been a solid starting shooting guard in this league. However, in Chicago he may prove to be one of the better bench shooting guards in the league as well. Belinelli has the ability to both shoot and handle the ball, although he lacks big-time skills on the defensive end.
Belinelli has the potential to be a double-digit scorer for Chicago off the bench. Hopefully he can prove to solve the three-point shooting gap left behind by the departure of Kyle Korver. Once Derrick Rose comes back, Belinelli should prove to be a dynamic sixth man as well.
Nate Robinson is a player who is here this season on a value contract, despite putting up great numbers last season. Because of this, he could end up being one of the biggest surprises for the Bulls this upcoming season.
Last season for Golden State, he was a backup point guard and managed to both share and score the ball. If Robinson can replicate that production here in Chicago, he will have been the value pickup of the offseason, as he is only on a minimum contract.
Richard Hamilton played his first season in Chicago last year, and was actually relatively effective, contrary to popular opinion. He put up solid scoring numbers, solid percentages, and managed to be a secondary ball handler next to Derrick Rose.
Unfortunately, what Rip Hamilton was not is healthy. He missed over half of the games for the Bulls last season, and struggled at times during the games he played in. If Rip is going to be a central part of this team, he needs to stay on the court.
Kirk Hinrich is now entering his second stint as a Chicago Bull. In his first stint, he built a reputation around being a solid defensive point guard, even making an All-Defensive Second Team during the 2007 season. Since then, however, he has regressed.
Even though Hinrich has had trouble producing the past few seasons, he still has a fair bit of athleticism, as well as defensive instinct. While he won't be the player he was in Chicago the first time around, he will still be a key contributor.
Carlos Boozer is one of the more controversial figures in Chicago sports. There is no question that Boozer is a good player; the issue is that he is compensated as if he was a GREAT player. While this may have been true at some point, it is not anymore.
Heading into training camp, I would argue that Taj Gibson deserves to start over Boozer. Gibson is a much better defender, and can still provide many of the offensive services that Boozer does at a fraction of the price. It's only a matter of time before Boozer leaves town.
Taj Gibson has been on the Bulls his whole career, and has built a reputation as a fantastic post defender. He also has a developing offensive low-post game, as well as a solid mid-range jump shot. In increased minutes, he could be producing even more than he already is.
There is no question that in the coming seasons, Taj Gibson will be a central piece. One of the main storylines heading into camp is whether Taj will get a contract extension. If he does not, the Bulls are making a huge mistake and will pay for it when he reaches the open market.
Luol Deng could be heading into training camp ranked No. 1, as he was an Eastern Conference All-Star last season. He has been relied on for scoring the past season, but will be relied on even more this upcoming season with Rose out.
What prevents him from being No. 1 is his left wrist. His wrist has had a torn ligament for the past eight months, and he did not address that in the offseason. We will see if Deng is able to stay healthy this season.
Heading into the upcoming training camp, Joakim Noah is the central player on this team. He has always been the backbone of the defense, and will also try to play a more dynamic role in the offense.
Now the issue heading into training camp is once again health. Noah played almost every game last season before injuring his ankle in the playoffs. Now his ankle should be healthy, but Joakim seems to have an issue with instability in his ankles. It will be a question all season whether Noah can stay healthy.