With the Bulls tipping off their 2012-2013 NBA season tonight at home against the Sacramento Kings, we decided to give some insight into the current Chicago Bulls roster. After a very busy offseason, this team looks much different than the last time we saw them take the court...
The biggest changes came to the Bulls' beloved "Bench Mob" - gone are Omer Asik, CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, John Lucas III and Brian Scalabrine and in come the likes of Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic and Marquis Teague. While not all the faces are familiar, besides Kirk of course, we expect to see solid production from this new supporting cast.
The Bulls' core, however, remains intact. With the exception of Derrick Rose, who will be sidelined until March or April with an ACL injury, the Bulls' starters remain the same as they were when they kicked off last season. With Rose out, Bulls fans can expect a more balanced offensive game from their team; looking for higher scoring averages from Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton, Carlos Boozer and even Joakim Noah.
If everything goes according to head coach Tom Thibodeau's plan and the team remains healthy, the Bulls will remain strong by outworking their opponents, thus putting themselves in position to make a playoff run upon Rose's return.
Below you'll find the official 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls depth chart as listed by ESPN.com; keep scrolling to see our positional breakdown of the Bulls roster. If you're interested in seeing the team play live, take a look at our inventory - we have great seats to every game of the season!
2012-2013 Bulls Depth Chart (via ESPN)
Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich (ExpressNBA.com)
With Derrick Rose on his well-documented recovery from the ACL injury he sustained in last year's playoffs, the Bulls will look to Kirk Hinrich, the man who handled the position from 2003-2008, to take over as the starting point guard. Once Rose makes his comeback, Kirk will likely serve as the primary back up at both the point and shooting guard positions. Hinrich, who was traded by the Bulls to the Wizards during the 2010-2011 season, makes his return to Chicago after spending the last season in Atlanta. Among the Bulls other options at point guard will be free agent signing Nate Robinson and their 2012 first round pick Marquis Teague. Robinson has been somewhat of a journeyman over the last 4 years, playing for the Knicks, Celtics, Thunder and Warriors. His ability to score in bunches, capability to play both guard spots and experience as both a starter and back up will make him a value addition to the Bulls this season. While we aren't sure how often we will see Teague's number called this season, his success in college (starting PG of the National Champion Kentucky Wildcats) proves he has the potential to contribute to the Bulls roster.
Richard Hamilton (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
After missing much of last season due to injury, Richard Hamilton looks to provide much more of an impact in the Bulls starting lineup during the 2012-2013 campaign. In his 28 games, Hamilton averaged 11.6 points per game, a number we hope to see raise to 15+ this year. With Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer gone, the Bulls depth at the two guard slot has been handed off to newly acquired 3-point threat Marco Belineli and the fore-mentioned Nate Robinson.
Luol Deng (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
As they did a season ago, the Bulls will look to 8-year veteran Luol Deng as the team's primary scorer in Rose's absence. Luckily for the Bulls, Deng decided to put off surgery on his injured wrist, which would have caused him to miss several months, until next off season If Deng can put up another All-Star caliber season, his efforts will likely be enough to keep the Bulls in playoff contention. 2nd year man Jimmy Butler will be asked to take on a bigger role this season, especially after the team exercised his 3rd year option which will keeping him in Chicago until at least the 2013-2014 season. With Deng of such importance to the team, Coach Thibs may opt for Butler over Deng in situations when the game is secure as to not further aggravate Luol's wrist.
Carlos Boozer (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Last season, and really ever since he got to Chicago, power forward Carlos Boozer has been under heavy criticism due to his big time contract and underwhelming play. In fact, he's the majority of the reason most basketball fans in Chicago know the meaning of an Amnesty Clause. While his much needed scoring ability will likely keep him on the team for the near future, if Boozer doesn't step up this year it may be his last in Chicago. What has fueled the "Get rid of Boozer" fire has been the performance of Bulls' 6th man Taj Gibson, a 3rd year power forward known for his solid defense and energetic play. It's very possible that one day Gibson will find himself in the Bull's starting lineup, but for now look for him to lead the new look Bench Mob. Free agent pick up Vladmir Radmanovic will also be lending a hand at both forward spots this season, though playing time may be limited, his 6'10'' frame and shooting ability will make in an asset down the stretch.
Joakim Noah (NBA.com)
Through out the last few seasons, Bulls Center Joakim Noah has become one of the faces of the franchise. While his rebounding skills are what has garnered the respect of his peers around the league, his energy and personality have made him a fan favorite here in Chicago. While Noah has been known as a hustle player in his first few seasons the league, we expect to see a much more well-rounded game from the big man this year. Backing up Noah will be 14-year veteran Nazr Mahommed, who signed with the Bulls this offseason after the team decided not to match Houston's 3 year 25.1 million dollar offer to last season's backup Omer Asik. After an impressive preseason from Mahommed, it looks like the Bulls made the right choice.