With fans preparing for the upcoming NBA season, let's further analyze each Chicago Bull to gauge what kind of impact they could have as the team looks to reach the next level. You can also check out the player previews for Omer Asik, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer.
Player: Kyle Korver (G/F)
Salary: $4,024,390 (two missed paychecks in November are taken into account). His contract for the 2012-13 season is not fully guaranteed.
How did he perform last season?: After the Bulls were not able to land a second free agent to pair with their signing of Carlos Boozer, Korver was among the veteran players whom management spent money on to shore up the team's depth. He was the Bulls' best spot-up shooter, hitting a team-high 41.5 percent from three-point range. His shooting helped space the floor, which is crucial for a player who is playing alongside Derrick Rose, and he even became a go-to option for coach Tom Thibodeau during crunch time as the season wore on. Korver connected on several clutch jumpers throughout the regular- and postseason, although he had just as many streaky, ice cold stretches. Case in point, he went 4-for-15 (28.8 percent) from beyond the arc against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals despite shooting 49 percent from three-point range through the first two playoff rounds. Also, Korver had his share of struggles on defense, which were well-documented.
Areas for improvement: He recently told reporters that he worked on his shooting and post-up game during the prolonged offseason. There were games last season in which the Bulls' foe placed its point guard on Korver, who failed to capitalize and take the smaller player in the paint. The Bulls would love for him to be a more consistent long-range sniper and steady defender this season.
Expectations for 2011-12 season: It appears that Korver is behind newcomer Rip Hamilton and Ronnie Brewer, respectively, on the depth chart. But he will head into the upcoming season as Luol Deng's primary backup. He will certainly continue to receive minutes in Thibodeau's rotation because of his shooting prowess and ability to be a threat on the offensive end at all times. Last season, the Bulls probably relied on him more than they should have. The guess here is that Korver sees less time on the court late in contests, although that could change if he proves to Thibodeau that he can be a better knock-down shooter than he showed a season ago. Still, he's an outside presence that can space the floor for teammates. There's no question that it's important to have a player like that on a championship contender, especially one whose star is Rose.