Well Bulls Fans I have appreciated covering another draft with you. This short note is just going to cover what the Bulls needs and what I at least hope to see attempted. With the way the Bulls are set-up, we are going to have to eventually trade one of the core four in my opinion or we will not be able to make any moves for the future.
I also don’t see us signing the creating ball-handler that we need just from by pursuing ring chasers on the MMLE. On top of that, keeping Taj and Asik is going to get expensive. I hope the Bulls can make a move in this draft with Luol Deng because it would open some cap space, give us a chance to get a playmaker on offense, and create some future flexibility. I will take a look at different tiers of players that I feel might help us (different parts of round 1).
Also, we desperately need to add some athleticism to our team as Rose, Taj, and Noah are the only ones considered at least above average for playoff contending type teams. While I have appreciated our core four, I just hope there is some way to get a playmaker to take some pressure off of Rose. I think the earlier, the better. I would hate to see us put extra pressure on Rose and his recovering knee right away.
Before I jump into covering type of players that suit our needs, I would like to emphasize that this is a very deep draft in terms of all-star type players and players with good role player potential. I don’t know if I see a superstar in this draft such as top 10, but I definitely see some good players. Even though I think Anthony Davis will be a good player in this league, I have my doubts if he is even the best pick in this draft. Davis is the safest pick in this draft with some upside, but he needs to develop a nasty streak. Is he going to be a Marcus Camby type with some ball-handling and some more skill, or will he develop an offensive game to be a Kevin Garnett type player?
1st 10 (outside of Anthony Davis) – would require Deng/Gibson/Charlotte Pick Type Mixture if just clearing space.
Thomas Robinson – PF –Even though we have Power Forwards in Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson, Robinson is a game-changer at the PF spot. He can create a lot of attention based on athleticism, aggressiveness, and an improving jumper. To me, he has the athleticism and aggression to be a mini-Blake Griffin or Shawn Kemp. Can he hone the jumper to become a superstar?
Bradley Beal – SG (Florida) - A solid shooting guard that has a great form, can be a good defender, good work ethic, unselfish, and high basketball IQ. He did not flourish at Florida, but started to come on as the season went along. Can he create enough to be a difference-maker or is he just solid? I saw flashes of him getting to mid-range, but that is something that will have to be determined. In high school, he showed much more versatility. Scouts/Front Offices will have to determine if he was held back by playmaking guards at Florida or if he is limited.
Harrison Barnes – SF (North Carolina) – Several people say his game is similar to a Luol Deng, but one thing I can see for Barnes is that he has more athleticism and has better ball-handling. While Barnes is more of a one to two dribble pull-up jumper kind of guy, he is much more fluid handling the ball, and I feel will be much more rounded offensively in terms of creating shots. Deng is much better off-the-ball in terms of finding spots, but Deng is also premier in the league for that.
Jeremy Lamb – SG (UConn) – Have already covered him. He presents a lot of what I like for a Shooting Guard – can play off the ball, good shooter, has secondary creating handles in finding a mid-range shot, huge wing-span to guard opposing shooting guards, and a very high basketball IQ. The big question mark is can he play with a consistent motor? If he puts it together, I think he can be one of the best, if not the best offensive weapons in this draft.
Dion Waiters – SG (Syracuse) – Strong, stocky build that can get to the rack and score, create for others, and is a solid shooter. Has a good understanding of getting his shot off as a scorer and can use hesitation dribbles at times. Defensively, is very strong and solid athleticism can knock opponents off at the point of attack. Is an aggressive player, but is he a selfish player? I don’t know if he can blow by someone, but he is an intriguing player. Again, can he be unselfish?
Austin Rivers – SG (Duke) – The best creating shooting guard in the draft. He can get to the mid-range and use a variety of up-and-unders, floaters, and pull-up jumpers. When he is on, he is a very hard player to stop from scoring. He is cold-blooded and not afraid of the big shot. Outside of that, can he do anything else? He is lean as a defender and was not always the best passer even though he can pass. When his shot is off, the only thing he can do is score in the lane. One thing though is that he is elite at getting his shot off in the lane and that usually translates in the league. Potential is very high and I don’t see him as a bust, but unless he adds to his game, he could be very average. Depending on where he is picked, average is okay.
Terrence Ross – SG (Washington) – He is not as good of a creator as the other shooting guards on this list and he is not really elite at any thing outside of athleticism. However, at 6’7, he is very good at many things. He is a smooth athlete that can shoot, has the ability to defend, shows flashes of at least being adequate at getting his shot, and has average basketball IQ. Can he be anything more? If he can max out some of his potential, he is a draft steal and provides much of what the Bulls might need.
Meyers Leonard – C (Illinois) – Meyers is nowhere as ready to reach his potential as others above. However, he provides enough of a body, size, athleticism, and want to at least come out with a hustle, defensive type center. If he can develop more physically and a few post moves, along with his under-rated jumper, he could be one of the better players in the draft. While we have no need for him as our team is currently constructed, drafting him would allow for some flexibility to move some of our frontcourt pieces.
Jared Sullinger - PF (Ohio State) – He is slipping due to back concerns and limited athleticism. While I would not draft him in the lottery, if he started to slip into late teens and he is available, then he is a nice option to try and trade up to get if we are not giving up a ton of valuable assets. While we have Boozer, Sullinger at his best could be a tougher minded Boozer and that is quite a steal.
Arnett Moultrie - PF (St. Bonaventure) - An unheralded prospect that is creeping up the boards. He can be a little soft sometimes, but he does fight and is a great stretch four at the next level. He can shoot well, but possesses enough of a post game and mid-range game to keep people honest. While I have concerns if he can guard Power Forwards, many Power Forwards today do not really possess much of a post game. He is a solid rebounder and could be a steal.
Royce White - SF/PF (Iowa State) – Can he stay focused? White is a very multi-faceted player that should contribute at the next level. Does he have the will to stay in shape and can he expand on his outside shot. He is very versatile dribbler, very tough and physical, and can pass the ball. With his skills, he reminds me some of Boris Diaw. While I like him, I don’t think he is enough of a force to take right now with his off-the-court issues in mind.
Tier 4 (Raw, but potential Steals)
Evan Fournier - (France) – I don’t know as much about his game as I would like, but he has a lot of skills. Fournier possesses swagger to go along with a good skill-set. While not blazing fast, Fournier possesses a good first step to get to the lane or mid-range. He offers a nice jab step as a counter dribble, and has a nice step back jumpers. His concerns are in toughness and outside shooting? He will take a little time to develop his game, but the potential is there if he is around our pick.
Quincy Miller - SF (Baylor) – I am not as high on him as others, but he does have some promise. Miller at 6’9, before ACL, had solid athleticism to go along with great ball-handling, solid basketball IQ, good passing, and an inconsistent jumper from outside with bad form. He looked very slow this year and made some interesting decisions with the basketball to say the least. The talent is there, but can he regain his quickness, is he tough enough, and can he play organized basketball or does he just look good in streetball style?
Tony Wroten - PG (Washington) – A 6’7 Point Guard with good athleticism, great handles with his left hand, and can get to the rack. He is a very bad shooter outside of 5 feet, averaged more turnovers than assists with a loaded Washington Offense, and plays Streetball. The talent is there, but I don’t want him on the Bulls as I feel he is selfish.
Marquis Teague - PG (Kentucky) – A 6’2 Point Guard with blazing speed and good defense. Teague is fast in the open court, great with handles and hesitation dribbles, and is a great guard that can get to the rack. Can he play in the half-court, can he develop an outside shot, and will he be able to produce at the next level soon? I think his speed, toughness, and developing game is intriguing at pick 29. I don’t question his ability to want to win and develop like Wroten or Miller.
TyShawn Taylor - PG/SG (Kansas) – A senior combo guard that is more of a point guard whom still shows to be erratic at times. However, Taylor is a great defender with a long wing-span as a 6’4 combo guard. He possesses elite speed and can find ways to get to the lane. His shot is very inconsistent and he still turns the ball over way too much. I do think he will be a player at the next level and at pick 29, his defense, speed, and ball-handling would be a nice asset next to Rose.
Will Barton - SG (Memphis) – A 6’6 Shooting Guard with excellent length, erratic, but shows skills with an inconsistent, but respectable jumper, a good and improving slashing game, elite athleticism, good ball-handling, inconsistent, but flashes of passing, and great length to defend. The concerns are mainly if he can play in a structured style, can he play less streetball, and can he develop to be a side-kick and not a go-to-mentality? The talent is there and he wants to win, but can he adjust?
Jared Cunningham SG/PG (Oregon State) – A 6’5 combo guard at the next level, Cunningham is a great and smooth athlete. He has good handles at the shooting guard position and showed a knack to getting to the line in a Princeton Style Offense that did not fit his game. Cunningham is not a great shooter from three when on the dribble, but is solid in spot-up situations, has a good understanding of the game, and can pass the ball. Cunningham needs to improve his floaters and mid-range game off the dribble.
What I really like about Cunningham is his defensive ability in that he is very disruptive and can guard either guard position. He gets after it like Avery Bradley and is two inches taller. If Cunningham can develop a mid-range shot off the dribble, he is going to be a steal at pick 29 and is actually my favorite to take a risk on. He does not have a bad understanding of the game, but he is not a go-to-guy offensively. He is a game changer defensively though that should be solid offensively and possibly good offensively if he can develop a couple of moves to his arsenal as is.
Kevin Murphy - SG (Tennessee Tech) – I think he belongs in tier 4, but he is a mid second round pick. He will either be a steal or out of the league. His game intrigues me because he has above average athleticism at 6’7, can shoot from three and mid-range, and has some pull-ups. He is not a great defender, but he can be at least average with good coaching. Could be a huge steal if he pans out right.
Overall, as mentioned, this is a very deep draft. Obviously, I did not mention all the top draft picks, but just picks that I feel Bulls could center around. My opinion is that we need to take chances to develop our team long-term. The draft is not nearly as deep next year and assets such as Taj Gibson and Luol Deng’s trade value is never going to be higher than it is now. We need to at least create some payroll flexibility along with some playmakers outside of Rose in my opinion.
The Bulls obviously know what is available for what. I just don’t see how we can make trades for non-draft players to get that unless we are taking on a player such as Tyreke Evans or getting lucky in the free agency with a ring chaser such as Jason Terry and that is slim to none at the salary we can offer.
If there is a way to trade Luol to the Kings for say Francisco Garcia and the number 5 pick, I would do so. Garcia is going to cost 6 million next year and we can be done with his contract. I like Michael Kidd-Gilchrest a lot, but at pick 5 I would love to have either Beal, Barnes, or Robinson for our team fit. If we can do this, I am very excited about the possibilities.
If we cannot make a trade such as scenario presented above, I believe we need to make a trade to try to get into the mid-teens if possible. Someone such as Terrence Ross, Meyers Leonard, Jeremy Lamb, Jared Sullinger, or Austin Rivers is going to fall, and if there is some way to trade up for that player, it could provide some flexibility (in the case of Leonard) and a possible game-changer for us.
Outside of that, at pick 29, even though there are players such as Doron Lamb or John Jenkins, I feel we need to take a chance on a playmaker that is not selfish if we cannot move up to get one earlier in the draft. If we move up earlier with a trade such as Deng for #5, then I would love to draft the best fit if all is available are raw players (Wroten, Miller, Teague).
Buying second rounders is crucial in this draft as there will be at least 5 or 6 contributors regularly in my opinion. With our scouting department, I feel confident we will land a contributor if we can land such a pick.
With the new CBA and this year’s deep draft, teams scouting departments are really pivotal this year. In my opinion, we at least have to make some kind of move to get to mid-teens at bare minimum if possible. I feel this is the time to take calculated risks and I hope to do so. I hope our first pick is not at pick 29.
I hope the Bulls surprise me this year and we start the re-tooling process to get ready instead of regretting by being the 90’s Jazz/Cavaliers/Knicks, but the real chance to be a legit title contender in a few years.
Thank you for all your support, feedback, and interest Bulls Fans.