Final Grades for Every Chicago Bulls Starter in 2012-13
Ten players for the Chicago Bulls started at least five ballgames this season. It’s time to hand out grades for each of those guys, from Taj Gibson to Carlos Boozer.
What a wild 2012-13 campaign this was for the Bulls. Playing without their franchise point guard and former league MVP Derrick Rose, the team earned the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and reached the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Rose, who tore his ACL over a year ago, was medically cleared to return this past March. Yet, he decided to postpone his comeback until next season.
Without D-Rose’s services, several players stepped up such as Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Boozer.
Here are the grades for every Bulls starter this season.
Taj Gibson is a quality reserve big man, and he’s an effective starter as well.
In five games as a starter, Gibson averaged a highly-respectable 16 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Bulls. He played in every playoff game, but was never a part of the starting five.
Gibson recorded 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks versus the Orlando Magic back in January. Then the following month, he scored 19 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and swatted three shots against the Atlanta Hawks.
Gibson would make a decent starting power forward if the Bulls decide to part ways with starter Carlos Boozer this summer.
The Bulls signed Nazr Mohammed last summer to replace the departed Omer Asik, who is now with the Houston Rockets.
Mohammed is not on Asik’s level, but he’s a decent backup center for Joakim Noah nonetheless.
Mohammed started 12 games this season filling in for the injured Noah during the final three months of the regular season.
It wouldn’t be a shocker to see Mohammed re-signed this summer.
It’s crazy to think that Nate Robinson played for the veteran’s minimum this year. A soon-to-be free agent, there’s no way his next contract will be that inexpensive.
Robinson had a phenomenal campaign for the Bulls, playing in every single ballgame. He started 23 regular-season games as he replaced the injury-prone Kirk Hinrich. He also started eight of the Bulls’ postseason contests.
Robinson scored 34 points against the Denver Nuggets in March and no one can forget his other 34-point outing in Game 4 versus the Brooklyn Nets. Little Nate was basically unstoppable during that game, scoring 23 fourth-quarter points and leading Chicago to a triple-overtime win over Deron Williams and the Nets.
The Bulls likely won’t be able to re-sign Robinson due to his ability to score at will. The team will miss his contributions next season, that’s for sure.
Was Jimmy Butler even on the Bulls’ roster last season? It didn’t seem like it. As a rookie, Butler rarely touched the court as he made just 42 appearances during the regular season.
This season, though, was a much different story. He played all 82 games and started 20. More importantly, Butler started all 12 postseason games, putting up 13.3 points and 5.2 boards.
Butler looked like an All-Star during the Bulls’ Game 1 win over the Miami Heat, producing 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Thanks in larger part to his smothering D, Butler will likely be the Bulls’ starting shooting guard next season and possibly for many years to come.
In July, Marco Belinelli signed a one-year deal with the Bulls worth $1.9 million. The 6’5” Italian guard should receive several offers from other teams this summer due to his solid play, meaning Chicago may not be able to retain him.
Belinelli started 12 games during his debut season in the Windy City. He averaged 13 points per game as a starter, showcasing his ability to run the point at times and drive to the basket.
Belinelli also started seven of the Bulls’ 12 playoff games. He had an impressive Game 7 versus the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 24 points and knocking down three of his six three-point attempts.
We may never see Richard Hamilton in a Bulls uniform ever again, as the team will more than likely buy him out here shortly.
One of the main reasons for his expected departure is the inability to stay healthy. The three-time All-Star guard missed 32 games this season. He started 45 of his 50 contests, though.
Hamilton fell out of coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation during the playoffs as he failed to start in any of his four appearances.
It’s sad that Hamilton never emerged as the shooting guard the Bulls hoped he would be.
The Bulls signed Kirk Hinrich to replace the injured Derrick Rose at point guard last summer.
Hinrich played his first seven seasons in Chicago so Bulls fans knew exactly what they were getting—a stellar perimeter defender.
Captain Kirk started all 60 of his regular-season games in 2012-13, averaging 7.7 points, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Unfortunately, Hinrich would get injured during the postseason, forcing him to miss eight games. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his four postseason contests.
Hinrich looked great during the Brooklyn Nets series, shutting down Deron Williams in Game 2 and coming up with an 18-point, 14-assist performance in Game 4.
With Derrick Rose in street clothes all year long, Joakim Noah emerged as “The Man.”
Noah started 64 of his 66 games. He also started all 12 playoff games for the injury-riddled Bulls.
This was undoubtedly the best campaign of his six-year professional career. The former Florida Gator reached career-highs in scoring, rebounding, steals and free-throw percentage.
But the most impressive stat was his career-best four assists per game. Noah played a little bit of “point center” without Rose, the Bulls’ top playmaker when healthy.
Selected as an All-Star for the first time ever, Noah had a plethora of memorable performances this season. His 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in Game 7 versus the Brooklyn Nets were truly spectacular. And oh yeah, he managed to accomplish the feat despite battling plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition.
Luol Deng could very well be traded during the offseason. If the Bulls wind up dealing him, some team out there is going to get its hands on a fantastic two-way player.
Deng started 75 games this season, leading the Bulls in scoring with 16.5 points per game. He contributed his usual lockdown defense and earned his second consecutive All-Star selection.
While Deng only missed five games during the regular season, he would miss seven postseason games. His scoring average dropped to just 13.8 points per game in his five playoff contests.
It would be wise for the Bulls to keep Deng and avoid shipping him out of town. The team will need him in the lineup if it wants to contend for a title in 2013-14.
Many Bulls fans wouldn’t mind seeing Carlos Boozer get amnestied or traded this summer. Due to the two-time All-Star’s lack of defense, fans believe the team will never win it all with him in the lineup.
Whatever you think about Boozer, you can’t deny that he had a nice season. He started a team-high 79 regular-season games and all 12 of the team’s postseason contests.
Boozer averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. He put together several outstanding performances, including his 36-point, 12-rebound effort versus the Toronto Raptors back in January.
Boozer averaged 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds during the playoffs. Getting rid of a guy who puts up roughly 16 and 10 just doesn’t make much sense.