Bulls climb to 7th in standings, fall to 16th in the draft

The Chicago Bulls have reclaimed a playoff spot with a win last night, with Charlotte in the midst of a five game slump, the Bulls actually jumped two teams and went from 9th in the East to 7th. Their draft pick went from 9th to 16th which could very easily be the difference between a starter with star potential and a reserve with starter position.

The NBA is littered with guys picked around 10 who've had all-star careers, not so many around #16. In a deep draft, the Bulls may have found a high quality player at #9, and maybe they still will at #16, we'll have to wait and see. We'll also have to see if the Bulls hang on.

What's worse, is it looks quite likely that Charlotte will fall out of the playoffs as well. If the Bobcats miss the playoffs then they'll almost certainly keep their draft pick. The Lakers look like they might climb up the draft boards against some of the East teams, but it's unlikely anyone else from the West falls to below the East, so the 9th best team in the East probably picks 10th at worst.

Meaning any missed playoff spot and the Bobcats should keep their pick.

From a future building standpoint, I was hoping the Bulls would enter this season with their own pick in the single digits, a pick from the Bobcats in the teens, and possibly another selection from a Luol Deng trade. Instead, it looks like the Bulls will battle it out for the East and a 1st or 2nd round exit and more likely than not enter the draft with their own pick in the teens only to watch Luol Deng walk away for nothing in the off-season.

This might create some minimal amount of satisfaction for the casual fans to watch a playoff run, but from a future standpoint, the Bulls will have missed an opportunity to cash in on a strong draft class and may or may not watch Luol Deng leave come season's end.

If the Bulls don't trade Deng now, they HAVE to sign him or will have made the team considerably worse while also minimizing their on draft choice. The worst case scenario for Chicago is that starting next year with Mirotic and an incoming mid/late 1st and outgoing Deng/Boozer. Especially when the Bulls could have had Mirotic, early first, and a mid first.

If the the Bobcats finish 9th with the Bulls being the team to push them out then it could work out better or worse for Chicago in the long run. Whether the Bulls would get better value from that Bobcats pick this season or whether it might be even better in a year or two is up for debate. The Bobcats don't strike me as a team with a lot of positive direction, so they could easily end up giving us an even better selection in the future but draft strength will play into it as well.

All things being equal, I'd probably take my chances with pick #15 this year if I could.

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Tags: chicago bulls, nba


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  • I took a look at the bulls roster the other day in a boxscore and realized everybody was playing other than mr glass knees. At that point i realized there was no way that roster could miss the playoffs in the east. We're screwed.

  • I'm saying I'm not holding my breath (when I really am) concerning how the Bulls play this situation. If they don't decide to tank and move forward into advanced mediocrity, I see other teams ( besides Miami) becoming powerhouses and us having to be in the underdog role, garnering moral victories against teams we don't stack up to talent wise.
    Having a great coach is becoming a double edged sword in regards to making adjustments to win A game against a talent laden team, however during the play offs winning 4 games seems to be where we sputter. We need an infusion of talent and Luol Deng is the first step (he needs to go), he will be the litmus test in terms of are The Bulls realistic or are delusional. We need an infusion of talent when we see one star go down and our ability to create and generate points becomes compromised.
    This is frustrating because anywhere else, if you don't produce you don't have a job. You Must be creative, innovative,and have aplan. The FO seems to be operating under the Assumption that every thing will be alright, this will right itself and we just stay the course.
    If they do nothing and blow smoke up our asses, ,we just better hope all the king's horses and all the king's men can duct tape Derricks knees together again.

  • I would like the Bulls to keep Mirotic under the following circumstances:
    1. They can sign Mirotic at the mid-level
    2. They can resign Butler when his deal is up
    3. They can find more scoring. Perhaps Noah has more trade value than Deng. Noah is not a rim protector and provides nothing offensively outside of passing and rebounding. (No post moves or consistent mid-range game.) Maybe Mirotic helps offensively, but he would replace Boozer, who is (sadly) one of their better offensive weapons - although Mirotic would space the floor nicely for Rose and allow others space inside.

    Resigning Deng is ok unless his contract is so high that it restricts you in other areas. I think $13 mil is too high. $10 mil is probably about the highest that I'd like to land with Deng over 4 years. I'm not concerned about Deng holding up, because he's still relatively young, can play high minutes and stays in shape. It's hard to remain totally injury free these days.

    If the Bulls amnesty Boozer and do nothing else, they will be at $47.7 mil next year. Signing Deng for $11 mil would put them right at the cap so Mirotic pretty much has to take the mid-level. Plus, you need to sign a rookie for $1-2 mil, depending on your pick, and bring over a couple minimum salaried bench pieces.

    I think the Bulls are spooked by the fear of Mirotic wanting slightly more than the available Full Mid Level Exemption and thus, not being able to bring him over. So, they did not resign Deng to a crazy contract last summer - good for them. Bulls and Mirotic did meet in December face-to-face and I'm sure that meeting was key in order to judge his availability.

    I'm not sure trading Deng helps all that much because it will be hard to find a young player that will be better than Deng. Sure, trading Deng and possibly Hinrich would enable the Bulls to crash the lottery, but it's doubtful that they actually attain a top 5 pick. Plus, it's up for debate whether any of the top 5 picks will be better than Deng early in their career. Especially, just outside the top 5 where the Bulls would be most likely to land without Deng.

    So, you just hope to resign him to a reasonable contract. You hope that no other team offers Deng $12-13 mil. If there are 2-3 other bidders and they are in the $10-12 mil range, you just hope you can resign him for $10-11 mil. Outside of going to the highest bidder, which he may, there are only so many attractive NBA destinations.

    He could give up $1 mil/year over 4 years to stay in Chicago. After all, he's in the highest tax bracket. Chicago is a great city and he has a tremendous role in this offense. If Rose is healthy, there is top 5 or 6 NBA talent with Mirotic on board to spread the floor. Outside of Rose's health (a big if) there is stability in Chicago.

    I think resigning Deng to a reasonable contract may be best. Bulls will draft 18-22 most likely and Charlotte pick will probably fall to 2016 unprotected, which could be interesting. Bulls can always trade Noah now and Deng after this time next year. Same with Butler and Gibson. If Jerry is willing to flirt with the luxury tax - and he is given that they did not trade Hamilton last year and signed Dunleavy this year - you resign Deng because it makes the team better. Bulls will probably not be in luxury tax next year unless they keep Boozer.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I meant keep Deng in my very first sentence!!!! Not mirotic!

  • This is the best analysis I've read in a while!

  • Oh no, not the dreaded "
    walk for nothing" plan

    "From a future building standpoint, I was hoping the Bulls would enter this season with their own pick in the single digits, a pick from the Bobcats in the teens, and possibly another selection from a Luol Deng trade. Instead, it looks like the Bulls will battle it out for the East and a 1st or 2nd round exit and more likely than not enter the draft with their own pick in the teens only to watch Luol Deng walk away for nothing in the off-season."

    I am not sure that any of us would call that a plan, but I think that you have nailed the Bulls 2014 "plan" except, of course for replacing the Hole with Mirotic which for some/most if not all of us should be like Christmas in July.

  • I had a feeling in this terrible east it would be hard for the bulls not to make the playoffs and it wouldn't surprise me if we came Deng and everyone but I'm keeping my fingers crosses something happens to take the decision out of managements hand to tank because their to stupid to get it done

  • I love your plan, but it is more like a pipe dream, Doug. I am afraid things will never fall into place for the Bulls like that. The front office is not smart enough to scheme like that, but I do still hold out hope we can get the Charlotte pick and then maybe even move up in the draft...

  • Ultimately, as we know if we have ever raised teenagers, we cannot live anyone else's life, and that includes a FO's. We may not understand the reasoning -- lack of it, I would say -- but it is what it is. If we owned the team, then we could give orders!

    Well, this is not world peace nor a cure for cancer. It is just entertainment. Still, we would like to see a more serious approach to the matter, but it does not matter what we want or what we believe is best long term.

    We should go root for the Blackhawks! The owner/FO has built a annual contender there. Maybe they will buy the Bulls.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Interesting that you bring up the Hawks. I was a big fan as a kid growing up in Chicago, the Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita teams. However, since I moved away from Chicago as an adult, I have never been able to rekindle my interest in the Hawks. Even over the past 4 years as a 2 time champion, I just haven't been able to get very interested in watching them on a regular basis. It is too bad because they have gone from being a doddering mess to a near model franchise.

  • You must have an inside source Doug! How could you know the real GarPax "plan" is to make the playoffs. Get swept by the Heat, make a half hearted attempt to sign Deng. So they can say to the average fan we wanted to sign him but had no idea he would get that much on the market. This is the type of vision I fully expect to see out of a GarPax front office. In fact I would say what we think is worst case scenario (make playoffs, knock Bobcats out of playoffs, Deng walks for no return) is the most probable. Although my worst case might be them keeping Deng for 5 years and 13+ per season thereby sealing us into perpetual mediocrity (which should be GarPax's new knickname...)

  • That is exactly what will happen, Deng walks, Bobcats keep their pick and we get a higher one in 2015 as they improve in this deep draft, and then we pick a bench player/D leaguer as Thibs runs the team hard this season for no reason whatsoever.

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    I actually doubt that the Bulls can sufficiently tank due to how many terrible teams there are this year. Now we have injuries happening to Horford, Paul, etc and you see why it is that Bulls shouldn't tank. If you get a serious injury on the Heat (which they are due for, since they have lucked out last couple of years) and all of a sudden its anyone's game. I think we stack up ok around Indy and probably any team out west. Also, what are the odds we tank and than compete next year. Not good and not good on player morale (most of which we plan on keeping around Rose to try to compete for a championship). Also tank now and SMALL chance of drafting star vs. do NOT tank and SMALL chance of winning a championship (while gaining more experience). I think I agree with what we are doing. We will be the three seed.

  • I'd like for Gar to hold a press conference or at least go on the Score and explain what he's doing, the thinking behind it. I'd like him to answer the direct question of why the Bulls are not tanking and how that fits their goals.

    I would have traded Deng and Hinrich and let Teague be the starting PG just to rub in Stern's face what the league he's so proud of building incents teams to do.

    Realistically the Bulls have never had much chance at a superstar in the upcoming draft, but they at least could have gotten a star at 9 or 10. Now? I think Doug paints an accurate picture.

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