By Justin Ullestad @justin_ullestad on May 25, 2014
Although the Chicago Bulls' bench depth has been key to the team's success in years past, the team struggled to find consistency from its second unit during the 2013-14 season. Basically the team was down to an eight-man rotation by mid-season as only nine players saw playing time in more than 30 games. With the expected departure of Carlos Boozer, the Bulls will need to add size and depth to their frontcourt rotation for next season's run.
Although he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers mid-season, Spencer Hawes made the most of his opportunity, setting career highs in both points (13.5 PPG) and shooting percentage from long range (44.8 percent). Hawes is one of the few big men in the league today who is gifted both with a reliable jump shot and the ability to bang on the block. A combination of Hawes and Gibson would make for a potent offensive force when Noah has a seat.
Shawn "The Matrix" Marion has been playing in the NBA for what seems like forever. Marion, who just finished his 15th season, has averaged double-digit scoring totals in every season of his career. But more importantly, he has the championship experience that the Chicago Bulls are looking for. Marion is still an above average defender at both forward positions, and many teams will be looking for his services. The Bulls could be a front-runner.
The veteran and former Chicago Bull forward Drew Gooden performed well enough in the Conference semifinals to catch the attention of teams around the League. With a notable performance against the Pacers in Game 1 (12 points, 13 rebounds), Gooden may have extended his career a couple more seasons. The Bulls know what Gooden brings to the table from his time with the team (2007-09) and a reunion could be in the works if the price is right.
Although I think the Spurs system inflates his worth, Diaw is still a solid bench player who could be a good fit for multiple teams next season. His high basketball IQ and defensive skill set should have already perked the interest of Coach Thibodeau. His solid play off the bench has earned him a PER rating of 16.1 this postseason, .01 below Chris Bosh. Diaw will most likely re-sign with the Spurs, but the Bulls will have money to throw at him.
This one is all on Paul Pierce. He could go back and be a Celtic if he'd like. No one would blame him if he did. But if he wants to chase another NBA Title, the Bulls might be his ticket to glory. Pierce has adjusted his game over the past few seasons and has shown he has the ability to play multiple positions. Still a lethal scorer, Pierce would bring a championship mindset and pedigree to a team still searching for its first title since 1998.
Justin Ullestad is a Chicago Bulls writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @justin_ullestad. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
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