Playing Boom or Bust with Each Member of the Chicago Bulls New Bench Mob

Kyle Ramos@Kyle_RamosCorrespondent INovember 6, 2012

Playing Boom or Bust with Each Member of the Chicago Bulls New Bench Mob

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    The focus on the Chicago Bulls this season remains primarily on the return of Derrick Rose and how well they can fare without him.

    However, with Rose's absence, the bench players in Chicago have become more important than ever in his tenure as a Bull. Now that the Bulls are without their leading scorer for at least the majority of the regular season, they will have to find other ways to create offense.

    Because of this, the Bulls were active in free agency during the offseason, trying to assemble a solid reserve team that can contribute, with or without Rose in the lineup.

    With that being said, let's go through each player in Chicago's bench mob and see if they will be a boom or a bust this year.

Nate Robinson, PG/SG

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    Nate Robinson has been known around the league as the little man who could and this season has been no different for him as the main spark off of Chicago's bench.

    Standing at only 5'9" hasn't stopped the 10th year veteran from being a versatile scorer in his NBA career. Robinson has showed that he can light up the scoreboard (career high of 45 points) with a combination of shooting and getting to the rim and finishing with his insane vertical ability.

    So far in his 2012-2013 campaign, Robinson has been showing the Bulls why he was worth signing by posting averages of 12.7 points per game and an impressive 21.9 PER. Though it's still early in the year, these are good signs for Robinson and the Bulls who will need him to keep up his contributions throughout the season.

    Verdict: Boom

    Thanks to his great start to the year and track record of scoring potency, Nate Robinson may be one of the Bulls' most important bench players.

Taj Gibson, PF

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    If there was someone who fits perfectly into the Bulls' defensive-minded culture right now, it is Taj Gibson.

    Now in his fourth NBA season, Gibson has seen his role diminish from starting forward to key reserve, but his energetic play and hustle, combined with defensive presence in the post propelled him to a nice contract extension early this season.

    With the distraction of whether he will stay in Chicago now out the window, Gibson can continue to focus on playing basketball and helping Chicago wherever they need it.

    In terms of stats, Gibson won't blow you away with numbers, but his physical play and abilities to defend and rebound make him a valuable part to this Bulls team. 


    Verdict: Boom

    Taj Gibson isn't the flashiest player or most skilled, but his hustle is contagious and vital to Chicago's success without Derrick Rose.

Nazr Mohammed, C

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    Nazr Mohammed came over to Chicago this past summer to fill the void left by Omer Asik as the backup center for the Bulls.

    While Mohammed is a few years older and not quite as good as Asik, he is still a decent and cheap replacement for Chicago.

    He's not much of an offensive threat, but as a talented offensive rebounder (career average of two per game) he fits in well with his role on the Bulls.

    Even after a solid preseason showing (6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest), Mohammed hasn't seen much time so far this season with just 7.7 minutes per game. However, his contributions will be vital to Chicago when starter Joakim Noah needs a breather.

    Verdict: Boom

    Nazr Mohammed is the type of player that Chicago needs for front court depth and his championship experience is a nice plus.

Vladimir Radmanovic, SF

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    It's always interesting when a team brings in a journeyman role player like forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who has bounced around to six different teams in his 14-year career.

    Known for his sharpshooting around the perimeter, Radmanovic is a potential threat on offense whenever he's on the floor. However, other than being able to knock down some threes and spreading the floor out, there isn't a whole lot to Radmanovic's game.

    With the departure of Kyle Korver, maybe Chicago was hoping that Radmanovic could help to fill the void Korver left as the designated deep man. Whether Radmanovic can or can't fill or help to fill that role remains to be seen, but for now, he's not of much use for the Bulls.

    Verdict: Bust

    A good shooting stroke simply isn't enough to make up for Radmanovic's lack of versatility and overall one-dimensionality.

Marco Belinelli, SG

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    Unlike Vladimir Radmanovic, this 26-year-old Italian shooting guard has a more beneficial package to bring to the Bulls.

    Marco Belinelli has been making his name in the league as one of the more deadly three-point specialists and has seen a steady increase in his points per game average over the five years of his NBA career.

    Aside from just shooting, Belinelli is also able to handle the ball rather well, making him a useful tool on offense to set up and facilitate plays. Overall, Belinelli has a solid skill set for a role player and the Bulls have used him accordingly.

    All of this is good in theory for Belinelli, but he has struggled thus far in the season with his three-point percentage. His 37.5 percent this season is below what he's shown to be capable of (career average of 39.3 percent) and Belinelli will have to shoot out of his funk if he wants to hang onto his 20-plus minutes per game.

    Verdict: Boom

    A slow start doesn't help Belinelli here, but he could become an important player if he gets out of his early troubles.

Marquis Teague, PG

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    We haven't gotten much of a chance to see any action from the Bulls' 2012 first-round pick, Marquis Teague.

    What we do know is that he is coming from a successful career at Kentucky, where he was part of their national championship run this past March. With Derrick Rose's injury in the playoffs this summer, the Bulls decided to find some help at the point guard spot through the draft.

    At the bottom of the first round, there isn't too much spectacular talent left, but Chicago may have found a diamond in the rough with Teague. Right now, he is very raw and needs some seasoning, but Teague has shown that he has great handles and a quick first step that he likes to use to finish around the hoop.

    Until he gets more burn in the league, we will have to wait and watch him develop.

    Verdict: Undecided

    It wouldn't be fair to label him as a bust this early into his career, and Teague has some potential to become a good contributor to this Bulls team.

Jimmy Butler, SF

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    Lastly for the Bulls bench mob is second-year forward Jimmy Butler, who has shown flashes of coming into his own as an NBA player.

    With small doses of playing time last year, Butler didn't have much of a chance to showcase his talents, but his work on the defensive end has earned him some decent minutes so far this season (11.3 per game). While he's not much of a stats guy (4.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.3 steals per game), Butler's defensive mind set fits in perfectly to this Chicago team.

    Butler, on offense, is more of a slashing forward, who attacks the rim to draw contact where he can convert fouls into points with his superb free-throw shooting. However, he has not found much luck in the scoring department thus far this season.

    While it's still early in the year and in Butler's career, there has been a lot of promise in the small sample size that he's provided. 

    Verdict: Boom

    It may be premature at this point, but there's reason to believe Butler could become a vital defensive contributor off the bench for Chicago, who takes pride in its strong team defense.