With the NBA draft two days away…I have no idea what to expect from the Bulls.
Chicago has the 28th, 30th and 43rd picks. The team needs an athletic shooting guard who can create his own offense, nail jumpers from long range, and (of course) defend. That would basically complete the championship package.
So how does management make that happen?
Through the draft?
With a trade?
The Bulls have tradeable assets (most notably Omer Asik and Taj Gibson) and could package the draft picks to create a deal. There have also been grumblings and murmurs about moving Carlos Boozer, although I sincerely doubt anybody wants to stand within a thousand yards of his contract right now.
Assuming management wants to hang on to Asik and Gibson — or, at the very least, isn’t willing to give them up without a major return — the Bulls will need to pull off a minor late-round miracle. Unless Adam Morrison did something amazing while working out for the team last weekend. Which I doubt.
For what it’s worth, here are some players I think the Bulls either might or should target with their picks.
Marshon Brooks of Providence would be a great fit for the Bulls. He’s got decent height (6’5″), a huge wingspan (7’1″) and great athleticism (38+ vertical leap and a 3.1-second three-quarter court sprint). Last season, he averaged 24.5 ppg while shooting 48 percent from the field. Unfortunately, unless the Bulls trade up, Brooks will probably be off the board by the late first round. Which might be just as well, considering he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too much and lacks defensive intensity. (Of course, those qualities could be coached out of him…)
Georgia’s Travis Leslie might be more attainable. Like Brooks, Leslie has hops (40+ vert) and wings (6’10”), plus he can score efficiently (49 percent last season) and defend. He’s a premier athlete who’s been compared to Tony Allen and claims he’ll be better than Allen on offense despite not having a three-point shot. That deficit — in addition to his lack of handles — worries me.
Butler’s Shelvin Mack is a player the Bulls could probably snag with one of their picks. Having played out his senior season and appeared in two NCAA championship games, he has experience and pedigree going for him. He was a smart and consistent performer in college who hit clutch shots and played tough defense. Unfortunately, he’s a 6’2″ point guard who has an inconsistent jump shot and more strength than speed.
Purdue’s JuJuan Johnson is probably worth a look, and I’m not saying that just because I’m a Boilermaker. A 6’10” power forward, Johnson is the reigning Big Ten player of the year and has skills the Bulls could use immediately. He can score inside and outside, rebound and play strong defense. He’s athletic (38-inch vertical)…but a bit skinny for NBA play (220 pounds). Note that my interest in Johnson assumes the Bulls would be making a trade that involves Asik or Gibson, or that they’d somehow manage to move Boozer’s contract.
I like Duke’s Kyle Singer as a potential backup for Luol Deng. Yes, the Bulls need a SG first and foremost, but expecting Lu to play 40+ minutes every night seems like lunacy. Singer is a pretty versatile scorer — he can drive, post up and shoot — who will crash the boards and make hustle plays. My main worry is whether he’s fast enough to stay with other small forwards at the NBA level. Another potential backup for Deng is Richmond’s Justin Harper. He’s 6’9″ and hit 44.8 percent of his threes last season.
More draft thoughts in the coming days.