Winners and Losers from Week 2 of Chicago Bulls' NBA Preaseason

Andres MonteroContributor IOctober 18, 2013

Winners and Losers from Week 2 of Chicago Bulls' NBA Preaseason

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    Derrick Rose continues to improve through the preseason.
    Derrick Rose continues to improve through the preseason.Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Off to a 4-0 start, the Chicago Bulls are starting to see which of their players are likely to make a difference.

    Week 2 got off to a rocky start when the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson reported that Derrick Rose would miss the Washington Wizards matchup due to left knee soreness.

    Chicago's defense was able to hold the Wizards to 81 points as the Bulls walked away with a two-point win.

    The Bulls then hosted the Detroit Pistons, a game that saw Joakim Noah return to action and yielded superb performances from the Bulls' young talent.

    It wasn't all positive, though, as a few players were unable to put together a commendable two-game stretch.

    Who were the winners and losers of the Bulls' second week of preseason action?

Winner: Tony Snell

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    Tony Snell's Week 2 started off as a continuation of his first pair of preseason games.

    The rookie three-point specialist failed to find the range against Washington, making his only shot on a drive to the basket and missing all three of his deep attempts.

    Perhaps what the first-round pick needed was his home crowd.

    Snell's shooting touch was on full display when the Bulls hosted the Pistons. The New Mexico product connected on two shots from downtown, one which came with the shot clock nearing zero.

    Defensively, the Bulls' rookie was just as strong. He used his length to constantly get in passing lanes, leading to three steals.

    The standout moment was a heads-up play on a Detroit inbounds pass which Snell broke up, leading to an assist on a Rose three.

    With Jimmy Butler expected to miss some time with a knee injury, Snell will have a chance to prove himself worthy of cracking Chicago's rotation.

Loser: Erik Murphy

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    The rookie's having a hard time finding his rhythm.
    The rookie's having a hard time finding his rhythm.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Chicago's second-round pick Erik Murphy struggled offensively and could see less time in future games.

    Murphy played 22 minutes against the Wizards and scored only two points on 1-of-5 shooting. He also missed his two attempts from behind the arc.

    However, the forward's biggest obstacle will be trying to get on the court.

    With Noah back in the lineup, Murphy becomes the odd man out. The 22-year-old rookie played just seven minutes on Oct. 16.

    The former Florida Gator could see a small increase in minutes if the Bulls waive a couple more of their training-camp invites.

    Still, Murphy figures to be the one Bull who will spend most of his time on the bench, especially when the regular season begins.

Winner: Taj Gibson

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    Taj Gibson remains the Bulls' most improved player.
    Taj Gibson remains the Bulls' most improved player.Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Taj Gibson followed his strong Week 1 with an equally successful Week 2.

    The 28-year-old forward continued to exhibit his improved offensive game, scoring 29 points across Chicago's two contests.

    Gibson showed a new facet of his post game during the Wizards matchup, facing up on the left block and finishing with a baseline-spin, backboard jump shot.

    Gibson finished that game with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

    In Chicago's following game, the big man's effort on the glass stood out as he grabbed 12 rebounds, five of them on the offensive end.

    Part of Gibson's upturn is due to his jump shot. It looks much smoother than before, and he's following through better as well as adding a touch of arc.

    Gibson is a sure X-factor for the Bulls going forward.

Loser: Marquis Teague

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    The Kentucky product is struggling to run the Bulls' offense.
    The Kentucky product is struggling to run the Bulls' offense.Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Marquis Teague's struggles continued in Week 2 as he still hasn't gotten a hold of running the offense.

    On several occasions, the young point guard failed to get Chicago in its sets, leading to a short shot clock once the ball started moving.

    On Oct. 12, Tom Thibodeau pulled Teague from the game in favor of Kirk Hinrich as the Bulls began to let up.

    Teague also turned the ball over consistently, totaling seven turnovers in the Bulls' two games.

    Adding to the second-year guard's poor performances are trade rumors that began after the Bulls' game in Rio de Janeiro.

    ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Utah Jazz were previously interested in the former Wildcat and could perhaps reassess that notion after their own point guard, Trey Burke, went down with injury.

    There's still time for Teague to turn it around, but with Rose and Kirk Hinrich—and possibly Mike James—the 20-year-old guard might not crack the rotation once the regular season tips off.

Winner: Joakim Noah

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    The Bulls' defensive anchor put forth a great effort in his return to the court.
    The Bulls' defensive anchor put forth a great effort in his return to the court.Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

    In his 2013-14 preseason debut, Joakim Noah demonstrated his defense hadn't lost a step.

    Noah had a strong showing, protecting the paint and constantly challenging shots. He tallied up three blocks in Chicago's win over Detroit.

    The big man's passing also showed no signs of regression as he totaled three assists.

    On the Bulls' first play of that game, Noah handled the ball on the elbow, setting a brush screen for a cutting Derrick Rose. Noah then threw a bounce pass through two defenders and Rose finished at the rim.

    Offensively, Noah couldn't get much going.

    He missed all three of his field-goal attempts but did manage to get to the free-throw line four times; his two makes were his only points of the game.

    Noah will have a few more games to get his feet under him and should be in for another stellar campaign.

Loser: Jimmy Butler and the Starting Five

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    Butler's injury could sideline him for a few games.
    Butler's injury could sideline him for a few games.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    The Bulls can't seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries.

    Prior to the start of their matchup vs. Detroit, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Butler would miss the contest due to a bruised knee.

    While the injury isn't believed to be serious, if the Bulls are conservative with his recovery, Butler could wind up missing most, if not all, of the remaining preseason games.

    Butler is a key player in the Bulls' success, and the bigger loss here could be lost time with the regular starting lineup.

    Chicago's starters consist of Rose, Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Noah, a unit that has logged zero minutes together in regular-season play.

    No timetable has been set for Butler's return, but it's a significant loss of preparation time for a new starting-five group.

Winner: Derrick Rose

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    Rose started off Chicago's second preseason week by missing the NBA's first game in South America due to soreness in his left knee.

    However, Rose made his return to the United Center on Oct. 16, his first home game since tearing his ACL in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

    The Chicago native put on a show for his home crowd, scoring 22 points in 22 minutes and doing so in a very efficient manner.

    D-Rose displayed his speed and explosion to the rim during his time on the court, getting to the free-throw line 10 times while converting on nine attempts.

    He also showed off his isolation skills, taking Pistons guard Peyton Siva one-on-one and finishing a spectacular and-1.

    More importantly, though, Rose's jump shot was finally on target. He made one of his two three-point attempts, and pulled up on one occasion after using a Nazr Mohammed screen.

    Rose's explosiveness has been a pleasant surprise and should only get better as he gets reacclimated to the game.