In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the entire Bulls’ roster changed over the summer. It started when Derrick Rose went down in the first game of the playoffs; it was obvious he would be lost for some time. Then came the mass exodus of free agents. Gone was Chicago’s Finest Brew, Ronnie Brewer. No longer would the “Hot Sauce” be passed around the table with the departure of Kyle Korver. The Turkish Hammer would no longer be raining down with Omer Asik’s absence. The “Bench Mob” had officially disbanded in a span of weeks. Sans Rose, the starting core is basically the same. But the Bulls’ new bench has people scratching their heads. A lot of people want to know who they are and if the can play. That’s funny though. Wasn’t the same thing said about the old Bulls’ bench…?
With officially nine new additions to the team, the Bulls bench has become kind of a hodgepodge of busts and so-so free agents. Chicago fans should be somewhat used to this though, seeing as Brewer and John Lucas III spent last season lighting things up when nobody thought they could.
Guard Nate Robinson and center Nazr Mohammed are arguably two of the better signings the Bulls made during the offseason. Now yes, the following may be from only the first preseason game, but both Robinson and Mohammed scored 13 points apiece against Memphis, which was more than three of the starters. We may not be able to expect this from them every night, but did we expect that from Korver and Lucas last year? I didn’t think so.
The fact of the matter is, this Bulls team has the capacity to surprise a lot of people. Mohammed and Robinson are both great, veteran leaders for this team. Another signing, Marco Belinelli, also adds more depth to the front court. Last year with the Hornets, he reached career highs in points and rebounds. Let’s also not forget rookie Marquis Teague, who the Bulls hope can become a one-two punch off the bench alongside Jimmy Butler.
This patchwork of bench players seems to have just as much depth as the old bench. What’s going to make the difference here is chemistry. Last year’s squad had it, and this year’s definitely needs it. A learning curve has to be allowed here, though, with so many new players in the mix. Veteran Taj Gibson will hopefully lead by example and take charge of his new crew. As the only real holdover from last year, Gibson has a lot on his shoulders no matter how you look at it.
Without Rose, the Bulls are going to need everyone scoring. One person won’t do it, as no one else on the team has that superstar quality or even potential. It’ll take a team effort night in and night out. The Bulls may only have one or two players with 20+ points a game, but as long as each player shoulders some of the load, that’s perfectly fine. A new bench mob is rising to the task, and they hope to surprise you just like the original one.
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