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Chicago Bulls 2013 Draft Preview
By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor

The Chicago Bulls expect to be a major force next season in the NBA.

With former MVP Derrick Rose expected to return this season after a torn ACL cost him the whole 2012-13 campaign, he should be better than ever.

In his absence, the Bulls performed valiantly in the postseason. They bested the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, then gave the Miami Heat all they could handle in round two.

All of their key pieces are in place for this season. Their projected starting five of Rose, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are under contract. Key reserves Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson will be back as well.

So the Bulls can address depth issues in the draft.

Chicago can take the best player available although their bench could take a hit in free agency if both Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli bolt. Guards like Shane Larkin of Miami, Glen Rice, Jr., a D-League standout, and Allen Crabbe of Cal could fill that void.

One spot the Bulls didn't replace last season was the backup center spot, which became open when Omer Asik signed with the Houston Rockets before last season.

Steven Adams is a project from Pitt, but he's a legit 7-footer. Gorgui Dieng of Louisville, or Jeff Withey from Kansas might make sense. A foreign big man like Lucas Noguiera of Brazil, or France's Rudy Gobert is an option.

Players under contract: G: Derrick Rose; F: Carlos Boozer; F: Luol Deng; C: Joakim Noah; G: Richard Hamilton; G: Kirk Hinrich; F/C: Taj Gibson; G/F: Jimmy Butler; G: Marquis Teague; F: Malcolm Thomas

Free agents: G: Marco Belinelli; C: Nazr Mohammed; G: Nate Robinson; C: Vladimir Radmanovic; G/F: Daequan Cook

Recent Draft History: 2012: Marquis Teague (29)

2011: Norris Cole (28), Jimmy Butler (30), Malcolm Lee (43)

2010: Kevin Seraphin (17)

2009: James Johnson (16), Taj Gibson (26)

2008: Derrick Rose (1), Sonny Weems (39)

Draft picks: 1st round (20th overall); second round (49th overall)

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