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Year-End Grades for Every Key Chicago Bulls Player

Mike B.Correspondent IDecember 23, 2013

Year-End Grades for Every Key Chicago Bulls Player

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    The end-of-the-year grades are in for your Chicago Bulls! While some members of the team have looked good so far this season, others haven't been very impressive.

    We'll only cover Chicago's top 10 key players, meaning the trio of Mike James, Nazr Mohammed and rookie Erik Murphy won't make an appearance. And Derrick Rose, who has played just 10 games and is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn meniscus, will not be included either.

    But don't worry; guys like Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson did receive grades for their contributions this season.  

    The injury-riddled Bulls are having a lousy time on the court, currently owning a 10-16 record. It’ll be interesting to see if they can turn things around and reach the postseason for the sixth consecutive year.

     

    All stats are from basketball-reference.com and accurate as of Dec. 23, 2013.

Marquis Teague

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Many people out there consider Marquis Teague a bust. But it's a little too early for that kind of talk, as he's only 20 years old.

    Teague is certainly having a bust-like season right now, averaging just 2.5 points and 1.6 assists while shooting a miserable 24.6 percent from the field.

    When Derrick Rose got injured, the Bulls opted to acquire D.J. Augustine rather than allow Teague to become the primary backup point guard. Management obviously doesn't trust him, and that may not change anytime soon.  

    Hopefully, the Teague experiment eventually works out in Chicago, and he develops into a valuable role player off the bench.

    Grade: D

Tony Snell

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Bulls have drafted extremely well over the years, selecting the likes of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler.

    Tony Snell, whom the team drafted 20th overall last June, just might be the next name added to the list.

    Replacing injured shooting guard Jimmy Butler, Snell has started nine games for the Bulls this year. That's pretty odd, knowing that coach Tom Thibodeau isn't the world's biggest fan of playing rookies.

    Snell is averaging nearly six points per game, which doesn't blow anybody away. However, the 6'7" swingman has put together a few solid performances like his 18-point night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    He has hit at least three from downtown on three different occasions, including five during another contest against the Cavs.

    People wondered if Snell would be a part of the rotation as a rookie. It looks like they've found their answer.

    Grade: B

D.J. Augustin

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    The Bulls signed D.J. Augustin on Dec. 13, a few days after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors.

    So far, the move has made Chicago's front office look brilliant. While he's no Derrick Rose, Augustin has put together a few very solid performances as a member of the Bulls.

    He recorded 14 points and eight assists against the Orlando Magic and came up with a 15-point, five-assist night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    In addition, Augustin was one of the main reasons the Bulls smoked Kyrie Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers 100-84. He contributed 18 points and 10 assists while knocking down four of his six three-point attempts.

    Augustin is shooting just 37.7 percent as a Bull. But oh well, everybody has his flaws, right?

    Grade: B

Mike Dunleavy

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    Mike Dunleavy was acquired during the offseason to help solve Chicago's three-point shooting problems.

    It made a ton of sense, seeing that he shot 42.8 percent from downtown with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.

    So far this season, Dunleavy has hit a decent (but not great) 38.8 percent of his three-point attempts, leading the Bulls in that department.

    His desperation long-range bomb won the Dec. 13 game against the Bucks. Check out the video above. Notice how Bulls announcer Stacey King went off, acting like the team had won its seventh NBA title.

    Dunleavy has reached the 20-point mark three times as a Bull. He only had one all of last season.

    Grade: B-

Taj Gibson

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Is Taj Gibson ready to replace Carlos Boozer as the Bulls' starting power forward? It sure looks like it.

    Bulking up and adding a mid-range jumper to his arsenal during the offseason, Gibson is truly having his best season as a pro, averaging a career-best 11.7 points per game. And his 48.4 field-goal percentage leads the team.

    The USC product was sensational against the New Orleans Pelicans, contributing 26 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the losing effort. During his only start of the season (Dec. 7 vs. the Detroit Pistons), he put up 21 points and 10 boards.

    Gibson had an outstanding preseason, and his regular season is nothing to be disappointed about either. 

    Grade: A-

Kirk Hinrich

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Kirk Hinrich just can't seem to stay healthy.

    He missed 22 regular-season games last year as well as the majority of the playoffs. He has missed five games so far this season.

    When healthy, Hinrich has struggled mightily in terms of shooting (33.7 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from three-point land). Yes, that's what you call horrific.

    "Captain Kirk" was 1-of-10 from the field Dec. 7 against the Detroit Pistons and 0-of-10 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 10. He scored a combined four points in those two losses while playing at least 36 minutes in each contest. “Ouch” is a good word for that.

    On a positive note, he is averaging a respectable 8.6 points and 5.2 assists per game. Get healthy, Mr. Hinrich!

    Grade: D

Jimmy Butler

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Several players on the Bulls roster have missed a ton of games due to injury throughout their careers.

    Let's hope Jimmy Butler isn't the next guy. A turf toe injury sidelined him for 11 games this season, and a sprained ankle forced him to miss one contest.

    This was supposed to be a breakout campaign for Butler, emerging as an offensive weapon for the Bulls instead of just a top-notch defender. But when healthy, that simply hasn't been the case.

    He isn't aggressive, taking only seven or fewer field-goal attempts in eight games thus far.

    Butler did, however, score 20 points on two occasions, including one against the Miami Heat on opening night.  

    There's a possibility that we'll witness this guy develop into an All-Star down the road. He needs to work on being aggressive, though.  

    Grade: C

Carlos Boozer

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    Ray Amati/Getty Images

    This might be the last season we'll see Carlos Boozer wearing a Bulls uniform. Management could very well use the amnesty clause on the veteran power forward next summer.

    He is putting up roughly 15 points and nine rebounds per game, which aren't ideal numbers for a player who makes $15 million a year.

    Boozer has looked great this season against the world champion Miami Heat, averaging 29 points per contest. He has produced eight double-doubles, including an outstanding 26 and 16 against the Utah Jazz.

    Unfortunately, we've seen some not-so-outstanding games from him as well, like his four-point outing against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    He may have to finish the season with Kevin Love/Lamarcus Aldridge-type stats in order to avoid being amnestied.

    Grade: C

Joakim Noah

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Joakim Noah didn't look like himself during the first part of the season. That likely had to do with him missing the majority of the preseason due to a strained groin.      

    Thankfully, he's playing much better nowadays. The 2012 All-Star center enjoyed a monster night against the Milwaukee Bucks, producing 21 points, 18 boards, five assists, three blocks and three steals in the one-point victory.    

    Noah also looked fantastic against the Oklahoma City Thunder, despite the Bulls losing by 12 points to Kevin Durant and Co. He recorded a season-high 23 points to go along with 12 rebounds during the blowout loss.  

    The injury-prone Noah has missed only one regular-season contest thus far, which is great news. If he can continue to stay healthy, this can end up becoming a successful campaign for the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.  

    Grade: B

Luol Deng

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    Allen Einstein/Getty Images

    Luol Deng, "The Man" in Chicago with Derrick Rose unable to play, will become a free agent next summer.

    The way he's playing this season may make him too expensive for the Bulls to retain.

    His career-high 19.6 points per game leads the way for Chicago. Deng has reached the 26-point mark on three occasions, including a season-best 37 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Too bad the Bulls lost that thrilling triple-overtime contest.

    Deng came close to picking up the first triple-double of his career against the Utah Jazz. He recorded 19 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and five steals. 

    The two-time All-Star has missed five games due to injury thus far. No doubt about it, Chicago will fail to make the playoffs if "Lieutenant Deng" can't stay healthy. 

    Grade: A

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