Studs: Derrick Rose, John Salmons
The Bulls clearly lost a valuable asset in Ben Gordon this offseason, but this young team has plenty of players who are set to benefit from the extra minutes and touches.
We all know Rose is primed to make a solid second-year jump after posting great numbers in his rookie campaign, but his lack of threes holds him back from being considered one of the elite fantasy point guards. Salmons and Luol Deng probably stand to benefit most from Gordon’s absence. Consider Deng a slightly risky sleeper in your drafts.
Tyrus Thomas is an interesting player this year. With his current hip injury and the return of Deng, Thomas could be hard-pressed to get more playing time than he did last year when he struggled with a wrist injury during the latter part of the season and averaged 27:30 per game. When he’s healthy though, Thomas is a great source of steals and blocks along with solid and improving shooting percentages.
Joakim Noah showed flashes of strong play last season and really showed his rebounding and defensive prowess during the playoffs, which should translate well into some more consistent play and more minutes this season. Brad Miller will be backing him up, unless he starts at center and Noah takes the starting power forward job over Thomas. He won’t play a ton of minutes, but he’ll continue to be a good source of rebounds, assists with low turnovers and good shooting percentages. Expect Noah, Thomas and Miller to shuffle around throughout the beginning of the season.
Kirk Hinrich will offer solid value off the bench as he takes over Gordon’s role of sixth man. Don’t forget about him in the later rounds of your drafts.
Jannero Pargo is another interesting Bull. After spending last season in Russia and Greece he’s returning to his hometown. He’ll be occasionally good for points and threes but don’t expect him to be too relevant unless one of the starting guards goes down with an injury.
Relevant fantasy players and projected per-game stats:
PG: Derrick Rose (20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists)
SG: John Salmons (19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists)
SF: Luol Deng (15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists)
PF: Tyrus Thomas (11 points, 7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 2 blocks)
C: Joakim Noah (8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks)
Bench: Brad Miller (11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3 assists), Kirk Hinrich (11 points, 3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.5 steals)