Initial 2013 Chicago Bulls Post-NBA Draft Depth Chart Projections
Looking around the NBA, teams are making their plans on how they want to fill out their rosters. In Chicago, the Chicago Bulls are no different. Fresh off of what they hope turns out to be a successful draft, the Bulls are in the beginning stages of arranging their depth chart.
Finalizing the roster will take some time, but only because of their salary cap restraints.
The Bulls have 11 players on the roster if you include Richard Hamilton and their two draft picks, Tony Snell and Erik Murphy. Hamilton will be bought out, and that will force the Bulls to have to fill out at least three more roster spots.
How does the Chicago Bulls' depth chart look at its current state?
Starter: Joakim Noah
Noah is the incumbent starting center, and that is not expected to change. He is tenacious on defense with his shot blocking, rebounding and footwork.
While not settling for the label of a one-way player, Noah’s offense has evolved from non-existent to consistent. Scoring has become something that is expected of him now. He raised his scoring average to 11.9 points per game in 2012-13, up from 10.2 points a season ago.
Backup: Erik Murphy
Do not expect Murphy to hang onto the role as Noah’s primary relief. The rookie with a dangerous three-point shot will keep the backup center seat warm until the Bulls sign a veteran to man the pivot.
It would not be shocking if the Bulls re-sign Nazr Mohammed or dangle their $3 million exception as bait for a younger center.
The Power Forwards
Starter: Carlos Boozer
Hold on to your seats! Carlos Boozer will return as the starter in the 4-spot. With his patented elbow jumper and his constant grunts, Boozer should be able to match his success from last season.
Without Derrick Rose in the lineup, Boozer took on the reigns as a go-to player on offense. Uneven play from the point guard position last season hampered Boozer’s production. It still did not prevent him from averaging 16.2 points per game.
This time with Rose returning to the team, Boozer's scoring should increase. Thus the Bulls should be better.
Backup: Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson returns to the Bulls with his usual brand of tough interior defense and thunderous dunks. He will once again reprise his role coming off the bench to spell both Boozer and Noah.
If Gibson can avoid foul trouble and show improvement in his perimeter shot, he could wind up playing starter's minutes.
The Small Forwards
Starter: Luol Deng
Lieutenant Deng, as CSN Chicago’s Stacey King calls him, will once again be the Bulls’ starting small forward.
Deng is always involved in several trade rumors and scenarios. Some fans and observers want to see him gone, while others want to see him remain with the team. It seems as if the water cooler is divided.
Rest assured that the Bulls are a better team with Deng than without him. He is their best individual defender and is a terrific rebounder for his position.
Backup: Tony Snell
2013-14 will be Snell's inauguration into the NBA and with a veteran such as Deng to learn from, the transition for Snell can be seamless.
Snell must show that he can defend in the NBA, as well as make shots in order to get consistent minutes. His length, ability to shoot the basketball and his maturity (Snell is 21 years old) will allow Bulls' head coach Tom Thibodeau to give him a chance.
If Snell proves himself, he can become the first rookie to get significant minutes for a Thibodeau-coached team.
The Shooting Guards
Starter: Jimmy Butler
Would you like to know a secret?
The Bulls do not have a natural shooting guard on their roster. Never fear as Butler has shown that he can handle the 2-guard spot when he is pressed into action.
The biggest question regarding Butler going into last season surrounded his shooting. On cue, the swingman's shooting improved over the course of the season, answering that question.
In April, Butler shot 48 percent from the field, including 56 percent from behind the arc. His shooting waned in the playoffs, though fatigue was definitely a factor.
The Bulls’ postseason run ended against the Miami Heat when Butler missed a three-pointer as time was expiring. Expect Butler to learn from that game and tear it up next season.
Backup: To Be Determined
The Bulls will look to sign a backup shooting guard to a minimum deal later on in the summer.
The Point Guards
Starter: Derrick Rose
The MVP is back—well, not until the season opener—but the angst in Chicago can officially cease.
It is hoped that Rose can return to form sooner rather than later, though the coaching staff would be wise to monitor his minutes throughout the season. That will free up playing time for his backups, while letting Rose get his legs and confidence together.
Primary Backup: Kirk Hinrich
After starting in place of the recovering Rose, Hinrich returns to the role he is best suited for at this stage of his career—primary backup point guard.
Multiple injuries kept him out of the lineup for 30 games, including eight playoff contests.
The Bulls struggled without his steady play, going 9-13 in the regular season and 3-7 in the playoffs when he was absent.
Secondary Backup: Marquis Teague
Teague saw limited playing time in his rookie year and that will most likely continue next season. The only way that this changes is if Teague shows that his decision-making on both ends of the floor has improved.
Given the injury history of both Rose and Hinrich, Teague must be prepared to play at a second’s notice.
Depth Chart Synopsis
The Bulls still have some holes to fill in their roster before they can complete their depth chart. With only the $3 million mini mid-level exception to lure prospective free agents, the Bulls hands are somewhat tied.
Their plan is to find players who are willing to accept veteran's minimum contracts. They are hoping that interested players see the success that Nate Robinson enjoyed this past season. Robinson’s performance will lead to a multi-year deal somewhere in the NBA.
Other players the Bulls will look fill their roster with will be those who are playing on non-guaranteed deals.