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NBA Chicago Bulls

Top 5 Players Who Must Lead Chicago Bulls For Them To Compete

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Top 5 Players Who Must Lead The Chicago Bulls For Them To Succeed

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Raj Mehta - USA TODAY Sports

This season for the Chicago Bulls has been both a dream and a nightmare so far. The nightmare started for the Bulls in the beginning of the season, when they started 1-3. There was really no explanation for the bad start. Then, the Bulls found some rhythm and started to resemble the team that lots of people envisioned, rattling off five straight wins. The Bulls were gaining momentum and confidence going into the annual circus road trip.

The nightmares happened during the road trip when the injury bug hit them again. It started with Jimmy Butler, who injured his toe and is out for 2-3 weeks. This was minor compared to this other unfortunate mishap, as superstar Derrick Rose went down with a torn meniscus and will miss the remainder of the season. This injury had a de ja vu feeling to it, and the Bulls must deal with this just like last season. But, as we all know of the Bulls, they will continue to strive.

For the Bulls to continue to play at a high level, some players will be asked to step up their games even further. They had to do this last season with so many injuries hitting the lineup. Coach Tom Thibodeau had to rely on guys who barely played heavy minutes. The formula and system he applies works for this team. The Bulls will have to trust each other even more with precise ball movement. The defensive intensity will have to be ratcheted up even more, because the Bulls will have some nights where they struggle to score.

The Bulls have been down this road before. Here are the top five players who must lead the charge for the team to continue operating at the highest level.

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5. Taj Gibson

Steve Dykes - USA TODAY Sports

Gibson will continue to lead the bench unit and must look for his offense even more. He can be very effective with an improved jump shot, and his energy is always there. He will be needed even more than usual.

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4. Kirk Hinrich

Russell Isabella - USA TODAY Sports

"Captain Kirk" is in a familiar role once again. He is now the starting point guard for the Bulls and will be orchestrating the attack. He is definitely qualified, and the only downside is that he has to be relied on for so many minutes. His playing time must be monitored closely so he doesn't break down like last season.

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3. Joakim Noah

Mike Dinovo - USA TODAY Sports

He's the heart and soul of the team. Noah started slow this season because of an injury, but seems to be getting his stamina and game back to normal levels. He will anchor the middle of the lineup and will have to step up even more with his defense, hustle and passing.

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2. Carlos Boozer

Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports

Boozer has been one of the most consistent players on the Bulls this season. He has flourished in the post, and his midrange game has been on point. He should be the no. 1 scoring option, and the Bulls will run more plays for him with Rose out.

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1. Luol Deng

Russell Isabella - USA TODAY Sports

Luol Deng has become the de facto leader of the Bulls. He has been in this position before and will have to take more of the scoring load, which should be no problem. He is one of coach Thibodeau's favorite players, and he is the do-it-all type of player.