Grading the Chicago Bulls' Starting Five from the 2012-13 Season
While it was disappointing to see the Bulls come up short in the second round against a healthier Heat squad, the team has nothing to hang its head about after enduring a season in which multiple players had to battle through injuries.
Here is a quick look at how the starting rotation graded out this year.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 24 points and 14 rebounds in a Game 7 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
When Joakim Noah first came into the league, he was an energetic player whose offensive game was very limited to say the least.
During the 2012-13 campaign, however, Noah's game improved leaps and bounds as he enjoyed the best season of his career.
Although Noah did miss 16 games this year, he recorded career highs in points (11.9), rebounds (11.1) and assists (4.0), while earning his first trip to the All-Star game as a reserve.
My favorite memory of Noah from this past season was his great outing in the close-out game against the Brooklyn Nets.
In the team's first-ever Game 7 win on the road, Noah recorded 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots.
This was by far one of the most memorable postseason performances by a Bulls' player in quite some time.
If he he can remain healthy, Noah has the potential to be the best player at his position in the years to come.
Carlos Boozer scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in the Bulls' season finale against the Heat.
Carlos Boozer has been the scapegoat for the team's shortcomings over the last two seasons, but in spite of all the criticism, he had a solid year for the Bulls.
During the regular season, Boozer was second on the team in both points (16.2) and rebounds (9.8).
Although he still settled for the mid-range jump shot at times, he drove the ball to the basket with greater frequency in comparison to his first two seasons in the Windy City.
If you thought the regular season was a fluke, then you would be wrong. During the postseason, Boozer averaged over 17 points and 10 rebounds in the seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets.
And although his numbers did dip a bit in the second round (15 PPG, 8.2 RPG), he was the team's leading scorer during the playoffs and closed out the season with a 26-point, 14-rebound performance in Game 5 against the Miami Heat.
That said, we should put the amnesty talk to rest for now because Boozer is Chicago's best low-post threat. Both his scoring and rebounding will be valuable when Derrick Rose returns to the lineup.
Luol Deng led the Bulls in scoring during the regular season with 16 points per contest and is their best perimeter defender.
In addition to that, Deng led the league in minutes played per game with 38.7, which is a testament to the fact that he gives the team his all every time he steps on the court.
The only down side to Deng this year was his field-goal efficiency. He only connected on 43 percent of his shot attempts (the second-lowest shooting percentage of his career) and shot just 32 percent from distance, which is his lowest mark since the 2006-07 season.
Although Deng was forced to miss the last seven playoff games, he assumed the leadership role of the team this season during Rose's absence.
Yes. Kirk Hnrich's 7.7 points per game were not overly impressive and he did miss 22 games during the regular season, along with another eight during the playoffs.
However, Hinrich was the Bulls' best point guard this year and his 5.2 assists per game indicates he did a solid job of getting the ball to this teammates where they were most effective.
In addition to that, Hinrich was a solid defender, and he limited Deron Williams to 13-of-39 shooting through the first four games in the first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Another factor worth noting is that Chicago was 38-22 when Hinrich was in the lineup, and just 7-15 when he sat out.
That said, the Bulls' offense is more efficient with Hinrich on the floor, and if he can stay healthy next year, he will serve as a good backup at both guard positions.
Rip Hamilton scores 15 points in Game 5 against the Miami Heat.
Rip Hamilton was acquired to be the secondary scoring option for the Bulls in the backcourt, but injuries hampered the shooting guard for the second straight season.
Hamilton appeared in just 50 games for Chicago this year and averaged nearly 10 points per contest, while shooting just 43 percent from the field.
As a result of multiple injuries, Hamilton fell out of the rotation and was seldom used during the team's postseason run.
While he did play well in Games 4 and 5 against the Miami Heat, his inability to stay healthy and declined production will ultimately be the reasons why fans will not see him in a Bulls' uniform next season.