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Week 2 Report Card Grades for Every Chicago Bulls Player

Ernest ShepardAnalyst IIIDecember 10, 2016

Week 2 Report Card Grades for Every Chicago Bulls Player

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    NBA Week 2 grades for the Chicago Bulls are in!

    Though it is still early in the NBA season, it is never too early to see how your favorite teams and their players are doing.

    For the Bulls, some players played well the previous week while others have struggled. A couple of players have had some eye-catching performances. With the season entering Week 3, Bulls fans want more.

    Bulls fans want improvement from the players who have struggled and some consistency for those who have played well. With the NBA Central Division up for grabs, the Bulls could play their way into a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference if everyone does their part.

    It is time to find out who the Bulls' A students are, and who will need some extra credit. The grades are in Bulls fans!

Vladimir Radmanovic: D

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    Last week’s grade: F

    Last week for Vladimir Radmanovic was unremarkable. This included appearing in one game—against the Oklahoma City Thunder for less than a minute. During his brief appearance, Radmanovic attempted one three-pointer in the closing seconds of the Bulls' 97-91 loss (via ESPN.com, courtesy of Associated Press).

    Just like last week, you must wonder: With the Bulls needing another frontcourt player who can play in the low post, why is Radmanovic holding a roster spot?

    Radmanovic’s appearance came in the closing seconds of the Bulls-Thunder game. This explains why his grade improved.

Marquis Teague: B

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    Last week’s grade: Incomplete

    A hip injury to Kirk Hinrich (via NBA.com) forced Marquis Teague into action during the Bulls' 87-80 win (via ESPN.com, courtesy of Associated Press) over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In only his second stint of NBA playing time, Teague responded well.

    Teague was poised with the ball in his hands. He only scored two points, but he did not record a turnover in six minutes.

    The next test for him will come if Hinrich is out for any extended time. Look for Teague to log at least 12 minutes in each game that Hinrich may miss.

Nazr Mohammed: C

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    Last week’s grade: C

    Grading Nazr Mohammed is a difficult task. Despite appearing in every game, he has not played much. This is partially because Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has used a smaller lineup with Taj Gibson at center.

    Mohammed has not shot the ball particularly well when he has been on the floor, but the Bulls do not need him to score. The Bulls signed Mohammed primarily to play good defense and rebound. He did provide a little bit of both last week.

    Against the Orlando Magic and the Thunder, he offered nothing regarding a positive statistic (Mohammed’s last five games played via ESPN.com). Against the Timberwolves, Mohammed had six rebounds and two blocks.

Marco Belinelli: C

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    Last week’s grade: B

    Marco Belinelli started slowly out of the gate for the Bulls, but he is fast becoming a reliable player to bring off the bench. What he needs to do is string together good games in succession.

    Belinelli’s uneven performances against the Magic and Thunder were afterthoughts given that the 11 points he scored versus the Timberwolves keyed a Bulls run in a decisive fourth quarter. His three shots from behind the three-point line allowed the Bulls to build a reasonable lead.

Jimmy Butler: B

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    Last week’s grade: C

    If you can grade Jimmy Butler on offense and defense separately, he would get a D on offense and an A on defense. The grading scale does not work that way, but maybe you can understand where I am going with this.

    Defensively, Butler has been brilliant. He shades the players in which he is guarding and forces them to the awaiting shot-blockers, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. This gives the opposition two options; either make a bad pass or take an awful shot. Butler has developed into a quality defender.

    The story is different on offense. He still does not look to score, constantly looking to find an open teammate while passing up good shots.

Taj Gibson: B

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    Last week’s grade: C

    Taj Gibson, for a second consecutive week, is a victim of high expectations. His defense is as good as it has ever been. By playing backup minutes at the power forward and the center positions, he has proven how versatile he is as a defender.

    In Week 2, Gibson did not make his shots with regularity. His jumper has not fallen all season, but he has scored well in the post.

    Bulls fans should expect some improvement in this area as he learns how to play with Hinrich and Nate Robinson. They will have a better understanding of where Gibson likes to receive the ball as the season goes forward.   

Nate Robinson: B

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    Last week’s grade A

    Nate Robinson has played well for the Bulls. His success on the basketball court has had a direct effect for the Bulls.

    Chicago is 3-0 when Robinson shoots over 50 percent from the field.

    Robinson has played just one horrible game as he shot 1-for-6 from the field against the Thunder; otherwise he has maintained his good play.

    The downside: Robinson has shown the tendency to pick up cheap fouls and turn the ball over. If Hinrich has to miss more than just a few games, it's not good.

Kirk Hinrich: C

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    Last week’s grade: B

    Kirk Hinrich is listed as day-to-day (via CSNChicago.com) after having a MRI done to see if there was any structural damage in his hip. The results are unknown but barring a change, Hinrich is expected to miss at least the next game.

    The injury may be a blessing in disguise for both Hinrich and the Bulls. This would allow Hinrich to rest his groin and his hip. For the Bulls, they get to see if Robinson, who has worked well with the first team, can run the offense.

    Before the injury, Hinrich struggled with his shot. His .325 shooting is the lowest amongst the starters, and he has scored in double figures (12 points against the Thunder) once this season.

    Despite his struggles on the offensive end, Hinrich has played good defense. A scoring average of 5.7 PPG will not get it done.

Carlos Boozer: D

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    Last week’s grade: B

    No Bull has had his stock fall as far as Carlos Boozer. In the three games of Week 2, Boozer has scored 12, nine and two points.

    The season is early, but the Bulls have a starting power forward with a scoring average of 10.7 PPG. What is more alarming is his reluctance to shoot.

    Boozer passed over several shot opportunities in the Timberwolves’ game. On one instance, Boozer caught a pass in the post and instead of shooting an easy layup, he attempted to pass the ball. Most players would probably have gone up for a dunk, not pass the ball.

    Boozer has to become more aggressive on offense. Until then, his grade will continue to slide.

Richard Hamilton: B

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    Last week’s grade: C

    Richard Hamilton had some good performances in Week 2. He averaged 16.3 points in the three games played, appearing comfortable with his role on offense.

    The offense ran through him at times in those games, making the argument that the Bulls should expand his role. Hamilton looked just like the player who won the 2004 NBA Championship with the Detroit Pistons.

    His defense has also been solid, but he still has sat on the bench in a few fourth quarters this season.

    If Thibodeau and the Bulls coaching staff were smart, they would figure out more ways to get Hamilton on the basketball court.

Luol Deng: A

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    Last week’s grade: A

    In Week 2, Luol Deng showed up bigger than he did in Week 1.

    In raising his scoring average to 17.7 PPG, he has taken over as the team’s leading scorer. He also shot the ball better in Week 2, with a shooting percentage of 50 percent or more in each game.

    Deng’s best shooting performance was against the Thunder. He went 11-for-21 from the field, scoring a season-high 27 points in a losing effort.

    Deng has done an impressive job on defense, forcing the Magic’s Arron Afflalo and Thunder's Kevin Durant to take tough shots.   

Joakim Noah: A

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    Last week’s grade: A

    It is still early in the season, but the MVP of the Bulls has been Joakim Noah. He is second on the Bulls in scoring (15 PPG) and first in rebounds (9.8 RPG), steals (1.7 SPG) and blocks (2.5 BPG).

    Everything the Bulls have needed, Noah has done.

    Noah may not become a 20-point scorer, but his offense has looked superb. His jumper has been reliable and his low post moves continue to show the work that he put in during the offseason.

    Noah’s defense has also improved. Not only is he blocking more shots, he is forcing opposing players to alter their shots.

    Last season, Noah would swipe downward at the shots he defended. The results were fouls called against Noah. Now he keeps his hands high on defense, relying more on his length and blocking shots in the process.

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