A Layout of The Chicago Bulls 2015-16 Regular Season

3 of 6

Sep 28, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) speaks during media day at The Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Depth Chart

The Bulls didn’t get better during the offseason, but they didn’t get worse either. If the front office would have let Jimmy Butler walk in free agency this past summer, things probably would have been different. But instead, Butler earned the recognition as the league’s most improved player and a new $90+ million deal to stay with the Bulls.

While Pau Gasol has a player option for the 2016-17 season, Joakim Noah will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015-16 season. Not only has Noah been “demoted” to the second unit to start the season, there are still doubts that he can be the Joakim Noah of two seasons ago. Nikola Mirotic emerged late last season for the Bulls in the midst of their injury issues and Bobby Portis looks like a stretch-four of the future for the Bulls with a defensive presence as well.

Guards: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich^, E’Twaun Moore^, Aaron Brooks^

Forwards: Tony Snell#, Jimmy Butler, Doug McDermott#, Mike Dunleavy*, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio#

Centers: Pau Gasol+, Joakim Noah^ and Cameron Bairstow#

*=Currently injured

^=Unrestricted free agent after ’15-16 season

#=Team option for ’16-17

+=Player option for ’16-17

On paper, the Bulls have a good, experienced roster with a nice blend of youth. When the roster is fully healthy, the Bulls can run 10-11 guys on a nightly basis; similar to the early Thibodeau years in Chicago. But, there’s only so many minutes to go around. The Opening Night projected lineup against Cleveland appears to be Rose, Butler, Snell, Mirotic and Gasol. Not many teams have a former All-NBA center coming off the bench (Noah).

ALSO SEE: Taj Gibson is Healthy, But Will The Bulls Move Him?

Similar to all five seasons with Thibodeau, the Bulls could use more perimeter help on the wing. They have the big bodies up front, but behind the injury-plagued Rose, there’s not much there for the Bulls. For the Bulls to really take off, not only does Rose need to get healthy (and stay healthy), the youth have to make plays when they get their chances. McDermott appeared to be finding a groove with Hoiberg’s system during the preseason, but Snell’s a better starting option because of his length and aggressiveness on the defensive end.

Despite the plethora of big men up front, Bobby Portis has to see extended action for the Bulls. There really shouldn’t be any ifs, ands or buts about it. When he’s on the floor, you notice him on both ends of the floor. His jumper is coming along quite nicely and he can guard both “fours” and “fives”. Portis will be a big part of the future, but as for the present, he can contribute in a bigger role than some expect.

Next: Schedule