What will the Bulls bench chemistry be like this season?

One of the great things about the bench mob last season was the tremendous chemistry the group had together. Chicago famously let every bench mob player under contract leave to bring in a new, cheaper group. They were all cut from the high character cloth that Forman/Paxson are famous for going after.

Kirk Hinrich obviously still fits that mold. He knows the organization. He knows a bunch of the players. Chemistry wise, he should fit right back in with the group easily, and his attitude will certainly work well under Thibodeau. While many have questioned his performance over the past couple of years, the way he goes about his business and fits into the locker room should be a big plus [and hopefully the performance will be better than people think].

Nate Robinson's a very loud personality both on and off the court, and it will be interesting to see how he fits into a locker room that hasn't really had a personality like his in it before. I wouldn't characterize him as being a bad character guy, but he's a very different type of character guy than the Bulls have had in the past. In some ways, I think the Bulls might need a shot of his character. Sometimes you need someone to rile everyone up. Too much of that is a bad thing, but not enough of it isn't good either, and the Bulls have likely been on the 'not enough' side of that equation for the past five or six years. While it could obviously go either way, I think Robinson's personality will really help this locker room.

Nazr Mohammad is one of the league's great guys. He's going to fit right in with the organization. He'll do everything asked of him and gives the team an excellent Kurt Thomas-esque type of leadership and presence. He'll be a big plus to the chemistry of the group and provide some veteran leadership doing all of the little things a team needs.

Marquis Teague seems like a big question mark. The Bulls obviously gambled on his talent, but we saw in summer league that he was a fairly low effort guy, and it also explains why he may have been sitting there at the end of the draft. He's also a young guy who likely needs to figure things out and hasn't yet entered a stage in his life where his ass wasn't kicked. It will be a huge wakeup call for him to go from BMoC to scrub hanging on in the league and having to outwork everyone because he's on the low end of the talent totem poll instead of the high end. The Bulls could be a perfect environment for him because of all the solid guys around him to help him, or it could smother him due to lack of opportunity.

Marco Belinelli once refused a D-League assignment with the Warriors which is certainly going to give a guy a questionmark in the attitude column. However, he was coming over from Europe where he gave up good money to play in the NBA and wasn't given much of an opportunity. It's easy to see why he wasn't so happy with a D-League assignment. I suspect that Belinelli will be comfortable in his Bulls role and he choose to come here as a free agent and wasn't locked into a long term under market value contract. He had a reputation as a somewhat low effort player at times coming into the league as well. I wouldn't call him a character risk, but I don't think he's a character plus either.

All in all, this group of players will need to prove that they can gel together to get the same "greater than the sum of their parts" performance that the previous bench mob did. One thing that will work in their favor is Tom Thibodeau is not afraid to trust anyone on the team. Not only will he gave everyone a legitimate opportunity to succeed, but he'll do so at the biggest moments while completely ignoring the salary, reputation, and ego of the team's members.

His philosophy has been successful because of the tremendous buy in of the players. He'll need to get a new group to buy in again this year. I'm cautiously optimistic that the new bench mob can match or even exceed the performance of the old one, but they'll need to find the right fit together to do so.


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  • Bulls chemistry?...What does that have to do with D-Rose selling pizza and shoes to striking teachers?

  • I liked the Bench Mob before all the injuries they played team ball and really moved the ball well. Give Thibs some credit for fundamental movement "inside out." Of course people wanted to see more of Jimmy Butler during a stretch there after he pretty much blanketed Melo.

    This year we'll just have to see how Robinson, Belinelli, Nazr etc. fit in. I saw Nzar on CTL, and he seemed like a great guy honestly. Personally I'm not a Kirk Hinrich fan as I think he can be a pouter and a whiner, but he does bring the effort so we'll see.

    Again, if Lu, Taj, and Jo are healthy then go out, and win as many games as you can until Derrick gets back, but if Lu is hampered and should have gotten the surgery then I think they will seriously struggle and tanking will be something they should embrace, but guaranteed the stodgy Bulls will not.

  • I find it kind of interesting how we are overly concerned with the bench and I think this tells us something about how we feel about our starters......that many of them are flawed and not that good. Boozer and Deng get paid like 20 point all star scorers but both stunk it up against the Sixers in the playoffs. The big problem with the Bulls isn't so much the bench but the top 2 paid players after Rose don't match in what we are missing....scoring firepower. Rose is no lebron 40 pt per game guy so the Bulls are in the near future going to have to address not having a real second option......and that is the real problem of this bull's team. I think this new bench mob can be decent offensively and bad defensively compared to the old one.....probably having Taj Gibson and Deng playing with them helps with that somewhat.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Saying that Rose is no 40ppg guy like Labron is a bit off. Labron gets about 28 and I think Rose was around 25 or 26. That's not much of a difference.
    Maybe not having a 20 ppg guy will hurt them, but they are built to be a team that has several guys getting about 15. They beat you as a team. It's just the way they are built. And I don't think the starters scoring has been a problem. They ran into problems when the bench came into the game. In almost every game the announcers would ask where the scoring was going to come from. I don't see that being much of a promblem with this group. Bellinelli can score, Robinson can score, Butler will have more freedom to score, even Radmonovich (?sp?) is there to shoot the ball. I expect the bench to be much better at scoring than last years team.

  • It's interesting the way the two premier Chicago Bulls blogs operate. The majority of people who offer comments on the two blogs hate Joakim Noah and that's why we would never see things like this: Hall of Famer Russell praises Bulls' Noah

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Noah is a beast. Favorite player in the NBA behind Rose. Not sure what Russell meant when he said the Bulls don't use him right. I think they use his passing ability just right.

  • I think these guys are all pros and really the only thing that would upset chemistry would be a string of injuries that make it difficult for them to settle into roles. Other than that, it should work out fine.

    That and putting Nate Rob and Noah in the same locker room is going to be dynamite. Hilarious dynamite. Be prepared for lots of prank vids on Youtube this year.

  • Nate Robinson I think has similar character to Joakim Noah. He seems like he'd still be a hard worker given that he's always had to overcome being the smallest guy on a team probably since high school at least. Having another fun energetic guy in the locker room might do this team some good to contrast with their head coach and star player. He's also got the irrational confidence of a John Lucas III so I think he'll fit in very well as the emergency PG, although I think he'll end up stealing backup minutes from Teague right off the bat.

  • Could you imagine the screaming and shouts of Hallelujiah that would have rent the air in joyous celebration if Bill Russell, the man considered by many the greatest Center to play the game, had showered praise on Omar Asik the way he did when discussing Joakim Noah. The Russell interview on NBA.Com was all over the news yesterday, but there was silence on the two Bulls Blogs. This is what Russell said about Noah and the rest of his favorite NBA players:
    "Players today such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, LeBron, these guys are first and foremost team guys. A player who doesn't get much attention and is one of my favorites to watch is Joakim Noah.
    "The Bulls don't utilize some of his skills. Not only is he a good rebounder but he's an excellent passer. A good passer is more important to a team than a good shooter on offense.

    "These guys are among my favorites to watch. I like to see if they can take a guy's skills and have them contribute to winning.

    NBA.com: When you watch a game in person or on TV, what are you focusing on?

    Russell: "I watch where the players set up. The really good players do as much without the ball as they do with the ball. In fact, they do more without the ball than they do with the ball. They don't need the ball a whole lot. I enjoy watching to see how they set themselves up to get the ball where they want it and how they want it. And that takes as much skill as it does to go one on one and in a lot of situations, it takes more skill because you have to coordinate it with the guy who is passing you the ball."
    That there sounds to me like Noah and his value even without the ball.
    People like Chad, Edward, Juiceboxjerry and Dave are a disgrace. Why should anybody bother with these BIGOTS when we have people like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Phil Jackson to listen to.
    I know one thing, Bulls management doesn't listen to the fools on this or the other Blog!

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