Derrick Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau agree that the Bulls point guard will become an elite player again; they just differ on the timetable. | For Sun-Times Media
Omer Asik: He has not developed offensively as much as hoped but he continues to be a dominant interior defender and rebounder. Asik’s injury in Game 3 against the Heat last season was a factor in the Bulls losing to Miami.
Carlos Boozer: The much-maligned power forward has quieted critics down the stretch with solid play on both ends despite playing fewer minutes. At .531, he has the highest shooting percentage on the team and needs more touches.
C.J. Watson: The leader of the Bench Mob is a more-than-worthy replacement for Derrick Rose and one of the better three-point shooters on the team. Look for him to play alongside Rose in the backcourt on occasion.
Luol Deng: Tom Thibodeau calls him the “glue” that holds his team together. He typically guards the opponent’s best player and is second-leading scorer. Has been playing despite a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Ronnie Brewer: With Rip Hamilton’s return, it’s back to the bench for Brewer, who is also an excellent defender and all-around energy source. He will be an important role player in postseason.
Joakim Noah: He’s the heart and soul of the Bulls defensively. He needs to keep making mid-range jumpers to keep defenses honest. He’s also the big man you want in the game late because of his free-throw shooting.
John Lucas III: The biggest surprise of the regular season will see his minutes diminish but might still find himself on the floor on an offensive possession or if the Bulls need scoring.
Jimmy Butler: The rookie has proved he can be effective as a spot defender by guarding LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony this season.
Taj Gibson: Gibson’s versatility as a defender makes him an ideal complement to Boozer at power forward. He’s hitting that 17-foot jumper more consistently this season, too.
Brian Scalabrine: Chants of “Scal-a-brine-ee” are less likely to bring the Bulls human victory cigar off the bench during the postseason.
Kyle Korver: HIs worst five-game stretch of last season came against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. He needs to make big shots for Bulls to be at their best.
Rip Hamilton: All things being equal, he could be the difference for the Bulls. If he can be a consistent producer during the offseason the Bulls are a much better team than last year.
Mike James: The third-string point guard was signed as insurance in case Rose is injured again. If he’s playing it’s bad news for the Bulls.