First-Quarter Report Card Grades for Each Member of the Chicago Bulls
With the Chicago Bulls reaching the first-quarter mark of the season, it’s only fitting to grade every member of the team.
Twelve players have suited up for the Bulls this season. Unfortunately, none of those guys have been Derrick Rose, who’s recovering from knee surgery. The 2011 MVP isn’t expected to return to action until after the All-Star break.
Without the services of D-Rose, Chicago is off to a respectable start, posting an 11-8 record and playing stifling defense.
This slideshow will issue grades to each active Bulls player in alphabetical order. We’ll look at everyone from sharpshooter Marco Belinelli to rookie point guard Marquis Teague.
Stats used in this article were accurate as of 12-10-12.
Marco Belinelli got off to a slow start, backing up Richard Hamilton for the first 14 games.
Now a starter due to Hamilton’s injury, Belinelli has picked it up big time.
After scoring just six points against the Indiana Pacers in his first start, the guard had a season-high 23 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 16 against the Detroit Pistons and 22 against the New York Knicks.
The Belinelli signing is starting to look like a brilliant move by the Bulls front office.
Carlos Boozer’s season has been up and down to say the least. Sometimes he looks like an All-Star and then sometimes he resembles a 12th man.
Boozer’s monster games include a 28-point, 14-rebound effort against the Phoenix Suns, 22 points and 19 rebounds versus the Milwaukee Bucks, and 22 points with 12 boards versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
Unfortunately, he has disappeared several times this year as well, such as his 2-point, 0-of-5 shooting night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Although he hasn’t led Chicago in scoring like some expected him to do, Boozer is currently averaging a decent 14.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest.
Although Jimmy Butler isn’t a threat to put up 25 points, he has truly blossomed into an outstanding defender.
He has a done an admirable job replacing Ronnie Brewer, who is now employed by the New York Knicks.
Butler’s playing time has increased significantly, going from 8.5 minutes per game as a rookie to 16.7 this year.
He is currently averaging 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest, while shooting a red-hot 54.7 percent from the field.
Butler should be in Chicago for quite a while due to his defense, which is what coach Tom Thibodeau is all about.
Luol Deng has stepped up his game and emerged as the Bulls’ go-to guy.
The All-Star forward is leading the team in scoring with 18.3 points per game—his best average since the 2006-07 season.
Deng, one of the league’s better defenders, is playing stellar lockdown D as usual. He’s one of the main reasons the Bulls have held their opponents to just 91.3 points per game.
The former Duke star is so important that he plays a whopping 41.2 minutes per contest. Yes, that's a lot of minutes.
We'll probably witness him wearing an All-Star uniform in Houston this February.
This was supposed to be a breakout season for Taj Gibson. Many people predicted him to be a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.
However, that hasn’t been the case.
Gibson’s numbers this season (5.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 41.7 percent from the field) are down from
last year’s (7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 49.5 percent from the field).
There’s still time for him to step his game up and produce quality numbers.
And although he’s having a disappointing season, Gibson is a solid defender and one of the Bulls’ most important players.
Hoping to finally have an injury-free campaign, Richard Hamilton unfortunately suffered a foot injury on Dec. 1.
Hopefully, the veteran guard will not be sidelined for too long. The Bulls desperately need his help in the scoring department, that’s for sure.
Hamilton has looked great when healthy, serving as the team’s second-leading scorer with 13.9 points per game.
He has dropped 19 or more points a handful of games, including a 30-point effort versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
Will Hamilton continue to be an impact player once he returns to the court?
Kirk Hinrich was acquired to start in place of the injured Derrick Rose.
So far, he has played more like a third-stringer rather than a starter, averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 assists per game.
The former Kansas Jayhawk is also shooting 35.7 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point land and 65.8 percent from the foul line.
Although Hinrich isn’t putting up spectacular numbers in his second stint with the Bulls, he is playing respectable defense.
Will his numbers improve down the road? Chicago fans certainly hope so.
Chicago signed Nazr Mohammed in the offseason to replace Omer Asik, who bolted town for the Houston Rockets.
So far, Mohammed hasn't exactly made fans forget about Asik.
The 6’10” backup center is averaging 0.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.5 blocks, logging six minutes a night behind Joakim Noah.
Mohammed likely won't see an increase in playing time unless a Bulls big man goes down with an injury.
Expect him to be glued to the bench for the rest of the season.
Joakim Noah has been nothing less than remarkable this season.
The sixth-year center is enjoying a career year, producing 13.7 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
And his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 18.6 is tops on the team.
In a recent win over the Detroit Pistons, Noah reached career highs in both points (30) and rebounds (23). He also dished out six assists in the game.
Jo became just the fourth player in the last 25 years to post those numbers, joining Charles Barkley, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett. That’s great company, knowing that those three guys will all make the Hall of Fame someday.
With Dwight Howard out in Southern California, Noah just might be the best center in the Eastern Conference.
Even if you’re the biggest Bulls fan on the planet, you might not know that Vladimir Radmanovic is on the roster.
Saying he hasn’t played much in a Bulls uni is truly an understatement. In fact, he has only appeared in five games, averaging 3.2 minutes per contest.
Producing 1.4 points and 0.4 boards a night, Vlad Rad has scored a total of seven points this season, which is his first in Chicago.
Since Radmanovic isn’t a gifted defender by any stretch, look for him to continue to collect DNPs as the season progresses.
A little bit like Carlos Boozer, Nate Robinson has been inconsistent this year.
Despite turning in a 21-point game, a 19-point game and a pair of 18-point efforts, Robinson has a trio of two-point games under his belt.
Nonetheless, he is leading the Bulls’ bench with 11 points per game, and his 3.5 assist average ranks third on the team.
The 5’9”, former slam dunk champ has served as a spark plug off the bench for the Bulls, one of the league's worst scoring ballclubs.
While Robinson has the ability to score, he isn't the word's best defender, which can't make to Thibodeau ecstatic.
When the Bulls drafted Marquis Teague this year, everyone believed that he wouldn’t play much as a rookie.
And well, it appears that everyone was right.
Tom Thibodeau has chosen to play Teague in only eight games so far. In 4.6 minutes per night, the Indianapolis native has produced 0.9 points, one assist and 0.5 rebounds.
Teague is the third point guard on the depth chart, buried behind Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson. And he’ll fall to the fourth spot at the position once Derrick Rose returns to the lineup.
Teague rarely sees the court, but he possesses the potential to be a reliable reserve in the Windy City.