The Chicago Bulls currently have a plethora of young talent, guys who range from futures of role players, to guys with futures that include multiple All Star games.
Lets take a look at a few Chicago Bulls players, all former first-round picks and all under the age of 25, and all with very bright futures.
Derrick Rose, PG
Rose is the most obvious person to have on this list, as he is the guy who is being heralded as the next big thing in Chicago, and with good reason.
He is just in his second year and has proven his ability to put on a clinic any night of the week.
Rose has already received enough accolades to call it a career, but he will be moving forward and getting many more.
Last season, he won the Rookie of the Year Award, was on the All-Rookie First Team and he made the All-Star game this season.
His 20.4 points per game has given the Bulls a big boost, and despite the low amount of assists, just 5.9 per game, that has more to do with the bad shooting of the players around him than him being unable to get the ball to open players.
However, this article is about the young players around him, and as these players mature, his assists will rise big time, and he will become a perennial All Star if he continues to grow like he has in his first two years in the NBA.
Joakim Noah, PF/C
Although Noah is lacking in the size department (weight-wise, not height-wise,) Noah has been on a rebounding tear most of the season, and has proven that he was worth the first round pick the Bulls invested in him.
Despite some injuries that have hindered his production throughout the later part of this season, he was third in rebounds per game before all of his injuries.
He has also improved his scoring—scoring about three points more per game than his career average.
At just 25-years-old, Noah has plenty of years left, and although he will never be the most talented player on the squad, he still will be a very important part of this team for the years to come, especially if he can continue to increase his scoring.
He will probably be one of those guys who makes an All Star game or two and is a solid Top-10 center for the next five or so years.
Luol Deng, SF
A lot of people seem to have forgotten about Deng, but this forgotten Bull is still putting up solid numbers for the Bulls this season.
He's scoring around 18 points per game, rebounding about seven per game, and he hasn't let the decline in fan-fare around him hurt his performance, as he is above his career averages in most categories, including three-point percentage, points, rebounds, and blocks.
He still has the chance to improve a little and become around a 20-10 guy for the Bulls, which is exactly what they need from the small forward position, and he will make all those who believe LeBron is coming to Chicago, not be so mad when they see Luol doing just fine.
He should become a guy who will make a few All-Star games who can step up and lead if necessary but mostly compliments the star.
Taj Gibson, F
The second pick by the Bulls in the first round in the most recent draft, Gibson, has been playing above the role of a player picked 26th overall.
He has stepped in, gotten solid playing time and made the most of it.
He is scoring about nine points per game and is grabbing around eight rebounds per game in 26.6 minutes per game.
But to show more of what could happen if he were to be given a starting role, in the month of March he got about 30 minutes of playing time and had 10.5 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game.
He could become more of a scoring threat the more that he plays, however, being 6'9", he will need to be able to switch between both forward positions.
He is another guy who has 20-10 potential if allowed to grow.
James Johnson, SF
Johnson hasn't had too much opportunity to play this season because of Deng's consistency and solid play, however, the Bulls will be trying to get him as much playing time as possible to bring him along.
He was drafted 16th overall and will need to produce more than he has this season to prove his worth.
I think that for him to be able to improve his value he will need to learn to play the power forward position, as his size would allow him to seamlessly move into that spot.
That would also allow him to be able to get more playing time, as there isn't a solidified PF on the squad right now.
The Bulls may not have that one person to put them over the top right now, but out of these five players under 25, they Bulls have a very bright future whether or not they are able to bring in one of the big names this off-season.
Look for the Bulls to only get better and be able to challenge the Cavs within a few years, because even though they don't have that one guy who dominates the whole league, they also don't have that one position where the other team can take advantage.
As these players grow, they will learn to work with each other, and they will become a team that is close not only in age, but in skill.
I'm Joe W.
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