Chicago Bulls Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After the First Month

Mike B.Correspondent IDecember 4, 2012

Chicago Bulls Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After the First Month

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    Although the Chicago Bulls have played just 15 games, it's not too early to look at whose stock is falling and whose is rising.

    While some members of the Bulls have looked great this season, others have looked, well, not so great.

    Luol Deng has been "The Man" in the Windy City so far, while Nazr Mohammed is yet to impress anyone.

    This slideshow will cover three players whose stock is rising as well as three players whose stock is falling after the first month of the season.

     

    Statistics used in this article are accurate as of 12/3/12 .

Rising: Luol Deng

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    Luol Deng, now in his ninth season in Chicago, is enjoying a great season for the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.

    The former Duke Blue Devil has stepped up in Rose's absence (ACL injury), leading the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game, while logging a crazy 40.7 minutes a night.

    Deng has scored at least 25 points three times so far this season. He poured in 27 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 26 against the Boston Celtics and, more recently, 25 against the Philadelphia 76ers.   

    The Bulls' record of 8-7 certainly isn't one of the league's best. However, that record would be a lot worse if it weren't for Deng's contributions on both ends on the floor.     

    An All-Star for the first time last season, Deng just might get the nod two years in a row.

Falling: Kirk Hinrich

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    Kirk Hinrich was signed to start in place of the injured Derrick Rose at point guard. So far, the move hasn't looked too great for the Bulls.

    Hinrich has played solid defense and has done a decent job in terms of assists (5.6 assists per game).

    However, he is only averaging 6.2 points per game, which is highly unacceptable. That average should really be more around 10 points per game.

    Also unacceptable is Hinrich's horrid shooting. The Kansas product is shooting 32.2 percent from the field, 29 percent from beyond the arc and just 62.5 percent from the foul line.     

    A ton of NBA fans know that Hinrich is a much better shooter than what this season's numbers indicate.

    Until he can start to knock down jumpers on a consistent basis, though, he will remain on the "stock falling" list.      

Rising: Joakim Noah

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    Saying Joakim Noah has played brilliant basketball this year is clearly an understatement.

    With Derrick Rose unavailable, Noah is looking like an All-Star, showcasing his all-around skills.

    Noah is averaging 13.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Bulls. He's also shooting 47 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

    Recently, Luol Deng declared Noah the top center in the Eastern conference. While he may not be the best center the East has to offer, he's definitely one of the best.

    No doubt about it, Jo is having the greatest season of his career as he has elevated his game to the next level.  

Falling: Marco Belinelli

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    Chicago signed Marco Belinelli to replace Kyle Korver, who is now a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

    Belinelli, though, has shown that he's no Korver, as he has shot a career-low 37 percent from the field.

    Due to his poor shooting and less-than-spectacular defense, the 6'5" guard is only getting a tad under 15 minutes per game.

    It's early in the season, meaning Belinelli has time to improve. And with Rip Hamilton's injury, he just might emerge as an impact player here shortly.        

Rising: Rip Hamilton

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    Last season, Rip Hamilton's first in a Bulls uni, was far from pleasant. The facemask-wearing guard missed 38 games due to injury and averaged less than 12 points per contest.

    Fortunately for Bulls fans, this season has been much better.

    Hamilton, who has played in all 15 games for the Bulls, is currently the team's second-leading scorer with 13.9 points per game. He has also made 40 of his 43 free-throw attempts for an insane 93 percent.

    At times this season, Hamilton has resembled the player he was during his time with the Detroit Pistons. He has scored at least 19 points five times, including a season-high 30 against the Milwaukee Bucks in a losing effort.  

    Let's hope that Hamilton, who suffered a foot injury during a win over the Philadelphia 76ers, won't be sidelined for long. The Bulls surely need his scoring punch.

Falling: Nazr Mohammed

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    After losing reserve center Omer Asik to the Houston Rockets, the Bulls went out and picked up Nazr Mohammed.

    Nobody expected Mohammed to become the next Asik, but some people believed he could serve as a decent backup to Joakim Noah.

    So far, the Chicago native is struggling, producing just 0.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game. He's shooting an anemic 12 percent from the field as well. 

    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has chosen to play Noah heavy minutes due to Mohammed's failure to get it done off the bench. The hometown big man may never see much action this season.