NBA Chicago Bulls

5 Chicago Bulls Who Are Part Of The Future

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5 Chicago Bulls Who Are Part Of The Future

Dennis Wierzbicki - USA TODAY Sports

This season hasn't turned out quite as expected. When the preseason started, there was much chatter of the Chicago Bulls being able to contend and possibly unseat the Miami Heat as champions. The Bulls were loaded with everything: talent, elite coaching, veterans and strong bench play. That said, the season is not won on paper, but on the court. The Bulls are learning that this season and nothing is guaranteed.

The Bulls came into this season with some swagger and a lot of confidence. They were getting their core back from a season ago and were ready to roll. But just like last season, injuries have hit this team once again. You know the story -- Derrick Rose is out again for the season and others have been hit as well. It has been a nightmare of a season for the Bulls and they are trying to pick themselves up.

There's been a lot of speculation throughout the season on what the Bulls should do. Some fans are saying that they should tank and get a high draft pick. That will never happen on coach Tom Thibodeau's watch. It's just not in his DNA and the team itself won't lay down for anyone. Then there's been talk on many trades and for Chicago to blow this team up. That isn't always the best option either because this team can still contend when healthy.

So the Bulls must make some hard decisions on what to do with this roster. Here are the five Bulls players who will be key factors in the future.

Courtney Harden is a Chicago Bulls writer for Follow him on Twitter @courtney110979, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Derrick Rose

Chris Humphreys - USA TODAY Sports

Rose is still part of the Bulls' future plans. We do not know what type of player he will be after coming back from his second knee injury, but the Bulls' future starts and ends their leader Rose.

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4. Joakim Noah

Mike Dinovo - USA TODAY Sports

Noah is another core guy who is a team leader for the Bulls. He is the only legitimate center on the roster and he brings many intangibles. He is their best rebounder, shot blocker and inside defender. He will be here to stay for many years to come.

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3. Jimmy Butler

Andrew Richardson - USA TODAY Sports

The man they call Jimmy "Buckets" is one of the young, up-and-coming Bulls players who is definitely part of the future. He has earned the starting 2-guard spot and is another key to the Bulls' success moving forward.

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2. Taj Gibson

Anthony Gruppuso - USA TODAY Sports

People have been waiting for Gibson to emerge, and he has taken his game to new levels this season. He is ready to unseat veteran Carlos Boozer in the starting lineup. Gibson has so much potential and keeps improving.

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1. Tony Snell

Mike Dinovo - USA TODAY Sports

One of the youngest Bulls player on the roster, he has earned minutes as a rookie with his 3-point shooting and hustle. That type of play will keep him around for quite some time.