Bulls draft for today and tomorrow

Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler.

They are your new Chicago Bulls.

Well, sort of.

The Houston Rockets actually selected Mirotic with the 23rd pick but then traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Chicago took Norris Cole with the 28th pick but traded him and the 43rd pick to Minnesota for the rights to Mirotic. Here’s the hitch: Mirotic — a shooting big man whose ceiling supposedly ranges somewhere between Andrea Bargnani and Jason Kapono — is under contract with the Spanish club Real Madrid until 2015, so don’t expect to see him in a Bulls uniform any time soon. He’s basically a farm experiment with the hope for future returns.

On ESPN 1000’s Chicago’s Gamenight, Gar Forman said: “We’ve done it in the past and Omer Asik is a good example of that. We went into this draft possessing three picks and we certainly didn’t feel we were in a position to keep three rookies, and maybe even two rookies. We obviously want to continue to bring young players into our situation, but at the same time, we feel we’re at a level now where we’re trying to compete and get better and compete for championships. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’ve still got roster spots and some different avenues we can take to try and improve our team. Now that the draft’s over that’s where we’re headed next.”

It makes sense. Rather than draft three rookies — two of which might not even make the team — the Bulls picked a guy who could make an impact a few years from now.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford: “I like the Mirotic pick. He he was a lottery talent who slid because of contract issues, but the Bulls can afford to be patient and allow him to continue to develop in Europe. They do take a risk that he doesn’t ever come here (Mirotic is already getting paid major coin in Europe), but at No. 23, it’s worth the gamble.”

That brings us to Butler.

The Bulls got him with the 30th pick, and there are several reasons to be optimistic about this guy. From everything I’ve heard and read, he’s an intelligent two-way player with a strong work ethic. He’s a solid (though not spectacular) athlete who moves well without the basketball. Butler has a reasonably consistent mid-range jumper he can knock down either pulling up or spotting up. He attacks the rim (6.5 FTA last season) and makes smart decisions (1.59 assist-to-turnover rate). Most importantly, he’s a determined and focused defender.

On the downside, Butler isn’t a three-point shooter (only 34.5 percent during his senior season), can’t create his own offense and doesn’t have a “go to” skill. He has the all-around skills to become a solid roleplayer…but that’s probably his ceiling.

Still, there’s a good chance Butler can contribute “out of the box” as Luol Deng’s primary backup.

Butler has had a difficult life — his mother kicked him out when he was only 13 years old — and the adversity has made him a hard-working, high-character man. That should make him a perfect fit for Tom Thibodeau’s demanding (but rewarding) team culture.

Said Forman: “Jimmy is a guy that we felt really just fits us to a ‘T,’ as far as the type of the person he is, his makeup and his character, and as far as his game is concerned. There’s been no question in our minds for quite a while that Jimmy was a real, real fit for this team and this organization. The thing that we’re so excited about with Jimmy is his versatility. He’s 6-8, he’s got a nice frame, a strong body, he’s a good athlete and he’s a very, very versatile defender. As we watched him throughout his career at Marquette, he could guards twos, he could guard threes, he could guard fours and there were even games where they would assign him to guard the point guard.

“Offensively, he’s got some skills that could help our team moving forward. At his size, he can put the ball on the floor and he can handle it. He’s got a nice stroke. I’d say he’s a mid-range shooter, but with his stroke, we project that he can add range to his shot. He’s a strong driver to the basket and can finish plays going to the basket. Each time we met with him, he really kind of blew us away, so we really feel he’ll be a fit in the locker room, he’ll be a fit with the culture of this team, we think he’ll fit on the floor and we were ecstatic Jimmy was around when we were picking 30th.”

As for Butler, he wants to start defending people right now. Seriously.

Said Butler: “I want to win games and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the Chicago Bulls win a championship. I’m going to guard. I think that’s where I’ve got to make my mark in this league. I’m going to put in that work to be able to guard LeBron and Dwyane Wade. I’m going to be able to spread the floor out. I’m working on my outside shot. But I think the biggest thing is defense. I think that’s where I’m going to be a pest. I’m going to take up everybody’s space, make them work for every little thing.

“I really take pride in my defense. I take it personal when somebody scores on me. I know you can’t shut down guys every night, but you can give it your best effort and that’s what I’m going to do on both ends on the court every night.”

I’ll give him this: He’s ready to challenge the Gods. I hope he’s also planning to work on his long-range shooting.

Said Butler: “I think I will be able to play [shooting guard]. I want to stay at this level for a long time and in order to do that, I’ve got to get better at every aspect of my game, not just shooting, so I’ll be in the gym working on everything because no part of my game’s perfect.”

With a potential lockout looming, the Bulls needed a confident, mature, internally motivated self-starter, and Butler sure seems like that kind of person.

I’m sure Bulls fans were hoping that management would use draft night to address the shooting guard position or find a three-point sniper — I know I sure was — but I think Forman did pretty well. He invested in a potentially valuable future asset and hopefully found a (much needed) backup for Deng. The other needs, well, they’ll just have to be addressed via free agency or trades.

Bonus video of Nikola Mirotic:

 

Bonus video of Jimmy Butler:

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32 Responses to Bulls draft for today and tomorrow

  1. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath June 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I like what they did here.

    I read about Butler the other day and I immediately wanted him on our team. He fits us very, very well and covers us when it comes to some of our current parts that may be traded.

    He appears to be a head-down, yes sir, kind of guy … like our point guard … and let’s add some real mental toughness too.

    I like stashing the other pick in Europe, like many teams did. Save the money and point it at something solid.

    Kudos.

  2. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    A 6’7″ 22 yrs old Small Forward, with a decent mid-ranged shot but isn’t too accurate from beyond the arc. A solid player on both ends of the floor, who wants to be known as a defensive stopper. It appears as though he can contribute right away, even on a good team.

    At this point, I could be talking about our new draft pick Jimmy Butler, or our old draft pick James Johnson back when he was a rookie. Don’t believe me? Read this http://www.mynbadraft.com/NBA-Draft-Profiles-2009/James-Johnson .

    I still don’t see Thibs sitting Deng down for Butler. Maybe if he has a really strong showing in the preseason (assuming we get a preseason). Otherwise, I think he might keep doing what he has been doing and rotating Lu with Korver and Brewer.

    I do like the Mirotic pick though.

  3. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe June 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Bulls were always going to have add a SG in free agency or in a trade.

    A late 1st round pick is NOT going to land a upgrade at 2 for a deep playoff run.

    Even gems like last year’s Kicks’ steal Fields wouldn’t be enough of an upgrade for this team. Guys who CAN get their shot off and drive like 2nd round Gilbert Arenas and Monta Ellis took 2-3 years to develop and they’re small.

    Bulls were always going to have to 1) trade way up in the draft or 2) draft players that are not going to disrupt the team chemistry. They did a bit of (1) and then (2). Obviously the Bulls would never take a chance with a Jeremy Tyler kind of player.

    Bulls were always going to have add a SG in free agency or in a trade.

  4. liebingr@gmail.com'
    Bex June 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    I like it too.

    There wasn’t a solution to our problems in this draft…honestly the draft was pretty weak and I doubt it is solving any teams problems. This way we leave some money uncommitted and get a solid role player. Reading interviews with Butler before he was drafted by the Bulls he talked about taking things “one day at a time”–struck me as a good fit for the Bulls immediately. I bet the bench mob gets a boost from this guy. Both were quality, smart moves.

  5. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe June 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    BFD

    J.J. fell to 16 because of concerns over his character work ethic and focus. Those were apparently well-founded concerns.

    Another talent that fell for similar reasons was the LSU freshman and 6’10 SF Anthony Randolph to 14. He’s more competitive than J.J. but a hot head.

    Butler is a not a guy with a high upside like J.J. – he has the potential to play team D in the NBA but not starter for a deep playoff team.

    Butler, if successful, gives the Bulls options to trade other guys – veterans in a package for a SG.

  6. Inception June 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    liking the Butler pick.

    the guy has a nice shooting form, and i’m sure he can improve his 3 point shot with practice.

    great attitude…he’s already looking forward to going toe-to-toe with wade/lebron…no fear, humble, and all about the team….just like the league’s MVP.

    let’s hope everything goes smoothly for the rookie.

  7. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Maybe JJ fell because of concerns he wasn’t active enough, or confident enough…but I still think where JJ was last year was equal to what we are projected to get out of Butler in this or any year. If the Bulls were willing to trade him for a future second round pick after not playing him all year, then I still don’t see how Butler helps us at all?

  8. evanwbrown89@gmail.com'
    @ItsEvanBrown June 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    JJ was immature, and thought he had a right to be playing more. Maybe he did deserve more playing time, but when he got in he was always forcing plays and making bad decisions.

    Butler, in my opinion, is clearly more humble and eager to help the team than JJ was.

  9. jc_555@yahoo.com'
    cmb2345 June 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    i like the butler pick. tho im not expecting huge min from him i think he can give quality min so deng isnt near 40 min a night. also i dont see the comparison between him and jj. coming into the league they have way different body types jj was coming in a little over wieght and was a sf/pf while butler is being disscussed as a sf/sg. jj came in as a potential offensive threat while butler is defense first who can guard 3 and possibly 4 positions. and comparing their mental make-up really isnt a comparison at all. b/c of the lack of depth at the sf postion and butlers defense i think he could be more realy to contribute then jj was as a rookie and any offense butler gives really is extra but from a few games ive seen him play is mid range game is good but he does need to work on his outside shot alot. he passes the ball well and while he isnt a great shot creator for hisself he will take the ball strong to the basket and get himself to the line.

  10. jc_555@yahoo.com'
    cmb2345 June 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    as for mirotic i understand the idea of the pick and he is talented so im fine with pick overall but im not gonna lie i was kinda hoping we took justin harper from richmond. a versitle pf that was one of the best 3 pt shooters in the draft. he definatley possess the shooting we need and couldve been some insurance if we traded any of our bigs for a 2 guard. im not saying he is better then any big we have (tho he is a better shooter then any big we have)but couldve provided depth for our bigs if any do get traded. but again not mad at the pick we did make b/c there is talent there and i do understand that filling our team out with rookies is not normally a recipe for a chmapionship considering wat our needs our. hopefully mirotic is able to get over here one day and contribute. from the little i have seen of him his game kinda reminds me of danillo gallinari ….just a lil ………..GO BULLS!!!!

  11. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    JJ was immature only in his turnover rate. He wanted to play and to prove himself, just like everybody in the league. It would appear that he read his own scouting report telling him to be more aggressive because that is what he turned into…a guy who rushed his play and would make stupid decisions. I don’t know where people are getting the ‘immature’ stuff from. Is there a link or something? I don’t remember him complaining to the media, and I know some of his teammates thought he deserved a chance (I remember Noah specifically being in his corner).

    I would like to remind you that there is nothing showing that Butler will be any more mature or make better decisions.

  12. jc_555@yahoo.com'
    cmb2345 June 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    BFD,

    i cant speak for anyone else but i didnt mean that jj immature….from wat i remember when he was coming out from college was that his work effort was at question on and off the court…not that he was a bad teammate or a troublemaker on or off the court … that he just lacked a certain work ethic ….coming out he was known for not committing to defense, taking plays off just not being fully invested and i think it also showed off the court b/c when he was drafted his conditioning was horrible he was really out of shape and overweight… then i give him credit he seemed to be alot more invested at the beginning of this season cuz he dropped all that wieght he looked great conditioning was good but like u said when he got on the court he rushed everything and mad alot of bad decisions which resulted in alot of turnovers but he did seem to really put alot more work in this year and i think thats why the players backed him so much before he got traded ….from the games i have seen butler in he seems to play alot more under control and gives it all on every play that alone give him a clear advantage over jj in his first season not to mention bulter is coming in in great shape and a much better work ethic ….so pls forgive me if i used the wrong words in a previous post when explaining why i think comparing those two arent good comparisons

  13. Anonymous June 25, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    James Johnson left Wake early for a reason, along with teague. The immature angle is correct.

  14. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe June 25, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    BFD “JJ was immature only in his turnover rate.”

    JJ didn’t work enough -which I attribute to maturity. He admittedly came in the next summer out of shape, partied like Duhon and he didn’t know the plays.

    and prior to being drafted…

    Johnson’s biggest issue right now might be the lack of focus he shows at times—making some poor decisions at times with the ball, but also making costly fundamental mistakes as well. He tries to do too much from the perimeter on a few possessions every game, over-handling the ball, being somewhat turnover prone, and settling for bad shots. He isn’t as solid as you’d hope either, forgetting to box out his man in crucial moments, being late to rotate defensively, and generally being inconsistent from game to game and often possession to possession. Johnson seems like the kind of guy who needs special attention from the coaching staff to make sure they’re getting (and will get) 100% out of him at all times, although this could be something that improves with added maturity.

    From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/James-Johnson-5053/#ixzz1QHMA5Zk1
    http://www.draftexpress.com

  15. erik.pa_c@yahoo.com'
    Erik June 25, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    I like the picks alot.

    Some mention how Butler may never be any more than an NBA benchwarmer. (which may be true, no one knows).

    But we have to remember this yr was one of the Weaknest NBA draft classes in a long long time, and our pick was #30. So the expectation should be very little.

    If Butler can gone in and sub Deng for 8-10 minutes a game, and play lock down D on the oppositions best wing (be it the 2 or 3). Then just that is worth this pick x5. I think we can all agree from his demenour and what he know about him, he is a great clubhouse kid, and that is one aspect of our team (ie CHEMISTRY) that we have, that many other teams lack.

    as far as Mirotic, i like it.
    – Again we are NOT going to get anyone in this yrs draft that will make a strong impact asap, not gonna happen w/ our picks. So what better way to use it by a huge future (hence speculative pick) here w/ Mirotic, and we do NOT have to start paying the guy, hes not on the team (yet).

    Now, on to WHICH 2/SG and HOW to get them?

    VC got waived – get him cheap?
    I know, he’s not everyones favorite here.

    But I actually am giving it some thought here.

    I love the team and we do NOT want to give u give up anyone. Its human nature. We WANT more players, but don’t want to give up the ones we already have.

    No one wants to give up anyone.
    I could go on and summarize what each player means, but we all know that.

    The advantage to signing VC off waivers is this:
    – we can get him CHEAP
    – we can get him for a SHORT contract
    – He is likely (we hope) to want to play for a contender (as he is ringless)
    – we do not have to GIVE AWAY any of our assets

    If he is not the answer for the Title, the extra piece to get us over the hump, then we have NOT sacrificed any of our core, NOR have me tied up several million dollars and several yrs in a younger SG who also might not be “the answer” either as well.

  16. erik.pa_c@yahoo.com'
    Erik June 25, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Was going to label it side by side of PROs vs CONS

    but its too early, Pheonix still has time

    http://arizona.sbnation.com/phoenix-suns/2011/6/23/2239542/phoenix-suns-extend-deadline-to-waive-vince-carter

  17. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath June 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Interesting little note that I didn’t see before:

    “…A trade target from virtually all of last summer, Rudy Fernandez, moved from the Trail Blazers to the Mavericks. Team sources said the Bulls had discussions with the Trail Blazers this week but opted against bidding for Fernandez because of his erratic season — including comments about returning overseas — and indifferent defense….” Chicago Tribune

  18. erik.pa_c@yahoo.com'
    Erik June 26, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011/06/spare-a-thought-for-vince-carter.html

    I echo his sentiments very closely (in regards to FA search for SG)

  19. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Vince Carter? Only if you want to be playing with another guy who will disappear in the playoffs.

  20. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    cmb2345 – Look, I know this was a weak draft. I’m just saying that I would have rather have taken a guy with some upside than a guy who is decidedly average in everything (but his head which is his only plus).

  21. jc_555@yahoo.com'
    cmb2345 June 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    BFD

    i understand completely with that if im not mistaken bulls were taking w/ the celtics trying to get the 25th pic from them but the celtics dealt w/ nj(not suprisingly) but i was hoping really we got marshon brooks when he started slipping but after him with wat we had available when we were picking the only other option besides butler i think couldve contributed this season was justin harper and that was only if we end up trading a big later in this off season. but like alot of people have been saying i do believe that anything the bulls do to drastically improve wont come from this draft anyway.

  22. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    At that point, I would have rather gotten somebody who couldn’t contribute much this season, but we could stash somewhere like the D-league or overseas so that they could develop into something good. We can easily get somebody off of F.A. to spell Luol this season…way easier than we can get a new SG.

  23. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life June 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Why draft players to stash them, is not the point when you select a player to play him at some point sooner rather than later, sooner being the optum word. I am glad the Bulls filled a need in the coming months our team may change and Deng may be on his way out only because he has become a more valued player in the league and would be in demand in a trade.Free agency may give us the player we need but A trade sure looks more likely.

  24. hellajax@gmail.com'
    BULL4EVER June 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Chicago has always played it totally smart when it comes to drafting prospects, like when they drafted Derrick Rose all the way back in 2008 when they needed a big man, now they drafted two prospects; one forward and one center when they need a lights out shooting guard, hey gotta take the best available prospects and that is what the Bulls have always done recently.GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Brian June 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    i like the Mirotic pick. stashing him over in Europe gives him more time to develop, a la Omer Asik, and it also means we don’t have to drop more coin so soon. very, very smart draft by Chicago, imo.

    you get a guy who was a projected lottery pick by trading two picks, neither of which could probably see playing time in Chicago’s deep rotation. then with the other pick, you snag a guy that can give Deng a breather, and has already embraced the role of gritty defender. sounds like a perfect fit in Chicago.

    the Mirotic pick looks so good to me because while he wouldn’t crack the rotation behind Boozer and Taj, the earliest Mirotic can come over is the 2013-2014 season. at this point, Boozer only has one more season left on his contract, and i’m pretty sure with Boozer approaching 34 years old, and assumingly dropping much lower numbers, Chicago will be in no rush to re-sign him. that is, provided he isn’t moved before then. either way, Chicago will have some solid potential at power forward years from now, and we won’t have to go searching to find it.

  26. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath June 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Also, we have to remember that the stashing can save us money up front and for the near future.

  27. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD June 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    A dollar tomorrow is worth more than a quarter today.

  28. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath June 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Should we invite Lighty to camp? Isn’t it worth a shot?

  29. zilla2033@yahoo.com'
    Mattzilla June 28, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    “There wasn’t a solution to our problems in this draft…honestly the draft was pretty weak and I doubt it is solving any teams problems.” – probably the best quote that could possibly have been made about this draft.

    Once I started getting excited about it and doing my own research, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavs are picking another PG in the lottery and Minnesota is trying to pull a Bulls-Tyson Chandler deal in three years, and we’re only talking about the top two picks! All any team could do was make their picks and move around in THIS draft (because a quick look at draft day trades shows how much teams wanted to keep their picks in future drafts), let the picks simmer, and hope something comes out of it.

  30. erik.pa_c@yahoo.com'
    Erik June 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I prefer Rip Hamilton > Vince Canrter.

    but my opinion is that I would prefer to have a Veteran GS for a short/cheaper contract…

    INSTEAD OF any of the Free Agents (Crawford, Richardson, JR Smith.

    Reason: There is a tendency for players to play very good in the LAST yr of a contract, then fall off as soon as a new one is signed. Also it costs more money, which means less flexibility w/ other things. Also a long term contract must be committed to, so IF its a mistake, its a huge one.

    The trade route worries me also, b/c i like the chemistry on this team so much, and besides Bogans, there is not a player that i want to give up!

    Alot of times veterans will WANT to play for a ring, take less money ANd step up their game. (when going from a bad team to a good one)

    just saying there are alot of factors w/ everything, and even though not the best addition, it does not hurt any other pieces.

  31. Anonymous June 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Everyone is making Mirotic out to be the savior, 4 years from now. Is that another way of saying, “It’s (championship) not gonna happen with Boozer, and we’re stuck with him for another three or four years, but Rose is young and when Mirotic get here we’ll still have a good young team, and the Heat will be older and on the down side, so the Bulls will finally have a shot; MAYBE! LOL (Yes the sentence is deliberately long- as long as the wait for Mirotic)

    Ditto with Jimmy Butler. Hopefully he’ll turn out more like Taj and less like Jimmy (James) Johnson. I’m pulling for the kid. Actually I hope he turns out more like Loul then Taj then we can have solid relief for Deng.

    I don’t think the Bulls can afford to trade either Taj or Omer, with the injury histories of Noah and Boozer, we need to keep both these guys unless we’re getting a solid veteran big man in return such as Scola or Al Jefferson. Maybe we should go after Paul Millsap and really turn into the Chicago Jazz.

    Looks like at least one of JJ Redick or Jason Richardson is expendable in Orlando. The Bulls should go after them hard with any combination package of Brewer, Korver, and Bogans and a future draft pick for either J-Rich or Reddick. I would prefer J-Rich.

  32. Chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj June 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Everyone is making Mirotic out to be the savior, 4 years from now. Is that another way of saying, “It’s (championship) not gonna happen with Boozer, and we’re stuck with him for another three or four years, but Rose is young and when Mirotic get here we’ll still have a good young team, and the Heat will be older and on the down side, so the Bulls will finally have a shot; MAYBE! LOL (Yes the sentence is deliberately long- as long as the wait for Mirotic)

    Ditto with Jimmy Butler. Hopefully he’ll turn out more like Taj and less like Jimmy (James) Johnson. I’m pulling for the kid. Actually I hope he turns out more like Loul then Taj then we can have solid relief for Deng.

    I don’t think the Bulls can afford to trade either Taj or Omer, with the injury histories of Noah and Boozer, we need to keep both these guys unless we’re getting a solid veteran big man in return such as Scola or Al Jefferson. Maybe we should go after Paul Millsap and really turn into the Chicago Jazz.

    Looks like at least one of JJ Redick or Jason Richardson is expendable in Orlando. The Bulls should go after them hard with any combination package of Brewer, Korver, and Bogans and a future draft pick for either J-Rich or Reddick. I would prefer J-Rich.

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