The NBA title hopes for Chicago went out the window this past season whenstar guard Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in the opening game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. Rose, the MVP of the league in 2011, was the catalyst for the Bulls and without him playing the Bulls had no chance, as the Sixers won the series in 6 games.
Rose averaged 22 points and 8 assists a gameduringthe regular season and he likely will miss a chunk of the upcoming season because of rehab to his knee.
Inpreparationfor life without Rose -- at least for half of the year -- the Bulls loaded at the position this summer. They selected point guard Marquis Teague out of Kentucky with their first-round draft selection. Teagueaveraged10 points and 5 assists in helping the Wildcats win the NCAA Championship.
Chicago also added veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich this summer. Hinrich used to play in Chicago and is a reliable back-court player. Hinrich averaged a career low 6 points and 3 assists last season as a backup in Atlanta. The Bulls weren't done, bringing Nate Robinson on board. The short but extremely athletic Robinson comes over from Golden State where he put up 11pointsand 4 assists last season.
Another key reason to sign Hinrich andRobinson is because Chicago lost veteran guards John Lucas III and C.J. Watson to free agency. Both Watson and Lucas provided quality minutes during the regular season when Rose missed time as well then due to injury. Lucas signed on with Toronto while Watson went to Utah.
The Bulls also cut ties with shooting guard Kyle Korver and swing man Ronnie Brewer who were both key contributors off the bench. Korver was dealt to Atlanta for cash and trade exceptions, while Brewer signed with New York.
Chicago hopes guard Richard Hamilton can bounce back from a sub-par, injury plagued-season in which the veteran scorer only averaged 12 points a game. A career 18-point- a-game scorer, Hamilton was expected to do more for the Bulls but he had a frustrating 2011-12 campaign.
Up front, Chicago gets center Joakim Noah and power forward Carlos Boozer back for another season. Boozer averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds while Noah scored 10 points a game and hauled down 11 rebounds per game. Taj Gibson, a key member off the bench, also returns for the Bulls.
Chicago's front court is set but the back court without Rose is the big question mark when the 2012-13 season starts. If the Bulls can hold down the fort until Rose returns, watch out for a deep run in the playoffs.