Looking at the Chicago Bulls roster, who would you say is the most overrated? And which player should be considered the most underrated?
Perhaps some people—not any Bulls fans of course—would place the “overrated” label on Derrick Rose. Chicago’s superstar point guard missed all of last season while recovering from ACL surgery. Without Rose's services, the Bulls had a fabulous season, posting a 45-37 record and landing the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They even managed to slip past the injury-free Brooklyn Nets during the first round of the playoffs.
Sure, the Bulls obviously didn’t need Rose to have a winning season and experience a little bit of postseason success. However, they cannot be considered legitimate title contenders without him in the lineup. He’s easily one of the league’s top-five players when healthy and possibly the best point guard on the planet. Therefore, he shouldn’t be referred to as overrated.
Nazr Mohammed is a great candidate for the Bulls’ most underrated award. Although he averaged only 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last year, he serves as a solid reserve big man.
Mohammed came up with a few huge performances in 2012-13. Examples include his 16-point, 13-rebound effort versus the Toronto Raptors as well as nine points and six rebounds during Game 4 of the Brooklyn Nets series.
So just who are the Bulls’ most overhyped and underappreciated players?
Most Overrated: Carlos Boozer
Hopefully you weren’t expecting Joakim Noah or Luol Deng. Neither player is overrated, but their frontcourt mate Carlos Boozer definitely is. His massive, larger-than-life contract makes him associated with the unwanted “O” word.
If you didn’t follow pro hoops and happened to read the NBA’s player salaries, you might believe Boozer was a superstar. He will make $15.3 million next season and a whopping-$16.8 million in 2014-15. He’s a good player, but he’s simply not worth that kind of cash. And no Bulls fan would argue with that statement.
During the summer of 2010, the Bulls signed Boozer to a five-year contract worth nearly $80 million. He was supposed to ease the fans’ pain of failing to land fellow free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He was also expected to emerge as the perfect sidekick for Rose, serving as a dominant low post-presence.
Unfortunately, Boozer hasn’t exactly lived up to his contract thus far. He hasn’t been the same player that he was during his Utah Jazz glory days.
Last season, the two-time All-Star put up decent numbers (16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game). However, he doesn’t play any D, as he often loses focus while guarding his man.
Boozer is extremely inconsistent. While he’ll give you 25 points and 12 boards on some nights, he’s known for completely disappearing as well. During last season’s playoff series versus the Miami Heat, Boozer had a pair of single-digit scoring performances.
It’s possible that Boozer will be amnestied next summer in order to help create cap space. The majority of Bulls fans won’t shed a tear if such a transaction takes place.
Most Underrated: Jimmy Butler
When you think of the word “underrated,” the name Jimmy Butler has to come to mind. Many NBA fans know who he is, especially after a breakout 2012-13 campaign. Yet, people underestimate him by predicting that he’ll develop into an outstanding role player.
“Jimmy Buckets” has the potential to be more than a role player. This kid will blossom into an All-Star in the near future.
Butler looked like a superstar at times last season. He scored a career-high 28 points against the Toronto Raptors back in April. Also, his 21 points and 14 rebounds helped the Bulls win Game 1 of the Miami series.
The former Marquette star is already a superb defender. And his offense will come around shorty; just be patient. He must improve his ball-handling skills, which would help him create his own shot by shaking off defenders.
Butler’s outside shooting is improving by the day. During last season’s playoffs, he hit 40.5 percent of his three-point attempts, an increase from 38.1 percent in the regular season.
If he continues to work on his jumper and improves his handles, there’s no reason Butler can’t morph into a big-time star within the next few years. The Bulls need a top-notch scorer to pair with Rose, and Butler can be that guy.
Butler, the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft, could go down as one of the biggest steals in NBA history. Will he end up becoming the next Scottie Pippen? Let’s not go that far just yet.