The Chicago Bulls have their MVP back, and with some new faces on the roster they'll have to figure out the most effective lineups for him to play with.
Versatility is on Chicago's side when it comes to assembling successful lineups with Derrick Rose. It can choose to make him either a passer or a scorer.
The Bulls' big free-agent signing this offseason, Mike Dunleavy, allows them to try multiple things offensively. They can play him at the 2-guard or small forward positions and even as a stretch 4 at times, allowing him to stretch the floor.
This is also the first year Rose will play with third-year swingman Jimmy Butler in significantly long stretches.
Butler will give Rose an extra option on drive-and-kick opportunities and will get to the line on a consistent basis.
So, what five-man units give Rose and the Bulls the best chance to succeed?
Rose as the Off-Guard: Kirk Hinrich, Rose, Deng, Taj Gibson or Carlos Boozer, Noah
Having Rose play off-ball lets him use his speed and quickness to make strong cuts to the basket.
Kirk Hinrich is great at running the offense and often puts his teammates in the right spots and finds the open man.
With Rose working the baseline, he can come off a screen set by any of his bigs to curl into the top of the key and pull up or drive to the rim.
If he draws in an extra defender—which he often does—he can kick it out to Deng for a three.
Rose can also hit one of the bigs with a bounce pass for a mid-range jump shot; it would depend on where the double-team comes from.
This could be one of the more effective lineups if Rose can consistently get in the paint coming off screens.
Three-Point Shooting: Rose, Tony Snell, Deng, Dunleavy, Noah
One of the Bulls' biggest improvements this year is their perimeter shooting.
Aside from signing Dunleavy this summer, the Bulls also drafted New Mexico product Tony Snell with the 20th pick and Florida Gator Erik Murphy in the second round.
Surrounding Rose with three-point shooters will help the Bulls in their half-court sets and during fast breaks.
In this lineup, the Bulls have four players capable of stepping behind the arc and knocking down a shot, most notably Dunleavy, who shot 43 percent last season.
With Rose as the ball-handler, he can drive and kick the ball out to one of three options.
Both Deng and Dunleavy are effective when moving without the ball, and using Noah as a screen setter can help them get open on either wing.
Combining that with Rose's penetration, Chicago has a chance to become a threat from downtown, a welcomed improvement from last year's 29th-ranked three-point offense.
Starting Five: Rose, Jimmy Butler, Deng, Boozer, Noah
It might seem like an obvious choice, but this specific lineup has yet to play a single minute together.
Rose, Butler and Deng can all attack the rim and can get to the line at least five times each, allowing the Bulls to control the pace of the game with their half-court tempo.
They can also go to Boozer in the post and use him on pick-and-roll sets with Rose.
While this lineup plays to Chicago's half-court strengths, it's also a group that can push the ball.
Butler is the Bulls' second-best athlete and Deng is a good passer and finisher in transition. Noah is one of the few bigs who can run in transition and is also one of the best passing big men in the league.
Chicago's perimeter shooting doesn't suffer either.
This backcourt can shoot the ball well, both having improved over the summer, and Deng could have a bounce-back year after shooting 32 percent from deep in 2012-13.
Rose's return makes this Bulls team a contender, and pairing him with the right personnel is key.
The Bulls have a lot of players Rose hadn't played with in the past but whose skill sets mesh well with his style of play.
Whether he's kicking it out to an open three-point shooter or finding his man during a backdoor cut, Rose has more option available to him than in prior seasons.
Chicago's offense this season can run, it can shoot and will be able to slow it down and play half-court basketball with any team.
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