Well Bulls Fans, sorry I was not able to hit every prospect I wanted to cover near our current range. However, I felt I covered as many as possible and want to highlight a few I was not able to get to along with some second round prospects. One of my next articles will also highlight my suggestions. A lot can change as honestly I hope we can get a superstar!
1) Jerami Grant (SF/PF – Syracuse – 6’8, 215 lbs, Sophomore) - A very good athlete that plays with a high motor. Limited offensive game right now as he does not have the perimeter jumper nor the driving ability to take small forwards. Against power forwards, Grant can develop enough of a driving game, hustle plays, and somewhat of a mid-range jumper, he could be serviceable.
Defense is his calling card as he can cause fits for opposing small forwards and with bulk, guard power forwards from time to time. To me, his game is Luc Mbah-Moute with a chance for a better mid-range jumper. At this point, I would rather the Bulls draft a more dynamic playmaker as we already have several offensively challenged defenders.
2) C.J. Wilcox (SG, 6’5, 200 lbs., Washington, Senior) – One of my favorite players predicted to go late first round/early second. Wilcox’s calling card is his shooting as he shot near 40% from three on over 7 attempts a game. He can also shoot from anywhere off the floor and can get shots off picks really well.
While Wilcox is a very good shooter, he is nothing else to write home about. Essentially, he is a solid athlete that has potential to be a floor spacer without hurting you on the floor defensively. If Wilcox could muster some pump fakes and dribble off the fakes when opponents coming closing out on him to quickly, he could be deadly.
3) Cleanthony Early (SF, 6’7, 210 lbs., Wichita State, Senior) – Good athlete with solid mismatch potential offensively. Early is somewhat of a tweener at the next level. While a good athlete, Early played power forward at the college level and can be beat easily by small forwards. Offensively, Early can post up against smaller opponents or shoot the 3 solidly.
The issues are whether he is going to be good enough at anything to really play at the next level? Will he be able to guard small-forwards? Will his outside shot improve enough and have more arc on it? Will he be able to post up bigger small-forwards? With a questionable basketball IQ, I would rather pick other players, even if we traded back into late first-round.
4) Jabari Brown (SG, 6’4, 205 lbs., Missouri, Junior) – One of my favorite prospects for late first to mid second round. Brown while slightly undersized can defend quality shooting guards due to his build and quick reflexes. Offensively, Brown is known as a shooter as he shot 41% from three on near 6 attempts a game.
Brown improved his game offensively by showing his ability to take players off the dribble to get to the rack or shoot mid-range jumpers. That said, he is somewhat of a black-hole once dribbling the ball and might struggle to score in the paint against taller defenders. However, if Brown can accept a role as a 3-and-D guy with occasional scoring, he could be a steal when he is picked.
5) Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG, 6’4, 185 lbs., Missouri, Junior) – Clarkson is an exciting talent that is a classic combo guard with some point-guard talent. At near 6’5, Clarkson can score from three, create by using variety of dribbles such as euro step, push off, or crossover dribbles, can finish from mid-range, and has some floaters. He can also create for others when opportunity is available.
My concern for Clarkson is whether he is particularly great at any one skill and does he have the basketball IQ to contribute regularly? While a good athlete, Clarkson did struggle to blow by people, struggled with assist/turnover rates, struggled defensively, and is not a great shooter. A late first-round pick, Clarkson will either do really well or be a bust if he cannot develop his game further. I think he is an intriguing talent, but he must improve his floor game for what he is.
2nd round prospects
Justin Jackson (SF/PF, Cincinatti, 6’9, 220 lbs., Senior) – While this kid is very raw offensively and can make some questionable basketball decisions, he is pure energy at 6’9 and can guard both small-forwards and power-forwards. At 6’9, extremely quick with a great vertical, Jackson just gets after it defensively averaging near 3 blocks a game, near 2 steals a game, and over 7 rebounds a game.
Combine this with a 7’1 wing-span, and I feel you have the makings of a dynamic defensive player at the next level. If drafted in late second round, Jackson has the chance to make an impact off the bench as a hustle guy that can provide toughness.
Russ Smith (Louisville, 6’1, 165 lbs., PG, Senior) – One of my favorite players in the second round if he can get up to near 170 pounds. While slightly undersized as a point guard with more of a shooting guard game, Smith improved much this year in decision-making skills.
The reason I love Smith is that he really gets after it defensively, is extremely fast, and is aggressive at all times offensively. While he can be over-aggressive and is more of a scorer off the bench, I feel he can be an energy plug for a team such as the Bulls. I feel his speed is elite and while he is a streaky shooter, he can shoot.
Deonte Burton (PG, 6’1, 190 lbs., Nevada, Senior) – Like Russ Smith, Burton is not a natural point guard, but is a very athletic scoring guard that would suit well off the bench. Burton is an athletic freak that can get into the lane at will and is strong enough to finish.
The issues with Burton are questionable decision making, perimeter shooting (though not broke), and running a team. If being asked to be a scorer off the bench only, Burton would be a great addition for many teams picking in the second round as he is very aggressive, very athletic, and has a great first step. he could be a steal if developed by right team.
Joe Harris (SF, 6’6, 215 lbs., Virginia, Senior) – This is one of those guys that the Spurs would pick and develop. While most people are probably not high on him, I can envision this kid having a game similar to Matt Harpring or Andres Nocioni. At 6’6 and an average athlete, Harris is a very hard-working and spirited player.
While he will never be particularly great at anything, Harris is a very good shooter at 40% from three, plays hard, is tough, and is a very smart player. I just have a gut feeling if picked by the right team and expected to be a role player, he will provide that off the bench. The question is will he be good enough shooter and not a liability at the other end? He is not a stiff, but he is not a J.J. Reddick type shooter. He has just enough ability to play in this league.
Spencer Dinwiddie (SG, 6’6, 205, Colorado, Junior) – Coming off a torn ACL, will Dinwiddie be ready to play by season’s start. While Dinwiddie is not particularly great at anything, he is very steady at many tasks. At 6’6, Dinwiddie was Colorado’s starting point guard this year and improved his game until his torn ACL in early January.
Dinwiddie handles the ball really well for a 6’6 guard and can pass or create off the bounce in solid dosages. While not a blazing fast guard, he does possess enough versatility and average athleticism to create off pick-and-rolls and either shoot from mid-range, three, or create for others.
The questions for Dinwiddie are whether his well rounded game is good enough to make an impact at the next level. Dinwiddie, while a steady player, often strayed away from contact in the past and has somewhat of a lean frame. While an improved shooter, it is hard to judge if his 41% from three will carry over to the next level.
Defensively, while solid, he could be screened off easily against other two guards and is not quick enough to guard point guards. I think he could be a solid player, but others may be available that I would want to pick ahead.
Jordan Bachynski (C, 7’2, 255 lbs., Arizona State, Senior) – Bachynski’s greatest strengths for the next level are providing size and shot blocking. He averaged 4 blocks a game and is a heady player. While not an offensive threat, he can score occasionally on the low block with a jump hook, but I do not see that happening much in the future. While I don’t think Bachynski will ever do much, I do think he can be a serviceable space eater that can block shots a few shots.
Kendall Williams (PG, 6’4, 185 lbs., New Mexico, Senior) – Like Dinwiddie, solid at many facets and is a tall point guard. Williams is a solid athlete, makes good decisions (averaging near five assists a game), and shot near 40% from the college three. While he is solid across the board, does he do anything really well? While he has somewhat of a three ball, it is very inconsistent. While he can pass, he does not have blow by speed to set up teammates regularly. I think he can be solid at the next level and is an intriguing talent for late second round or undrafted free agent.
Jordan McRae (SG, 6’5, 180 lbs., Tennessee, Senior) – Rail thin shooting guard that is a solid shooter from deep, can take the ball off the bounce occasionally, and is a savvy player. McRae is a solid athlete for the shooting guard position. He is a solid passer and possesses a great wing-span at around 7’0. The question is can he do anything well and is he strong enough to play at the next level. At his weight and only shooting 35% from three, I have concerns on spending a 2nd round pick when we are trying to gain quick assets right now, but think down the road he can be useful.
Bryce Cotton – (PG, 6’0, 165 lbs., Providence, Senior) – While nothing really stands out about Cotton, he is very quick, is a good shooter, and can pass the ball. He is pretty small and therefore, I think will struggle getting shots off in the paint or playing defensively. I think he would be someone to keep an eye on as an undrafted free agent.
Scottie Wilbekin (PG, 6’3, 170 lbs., Florida, Senior) – This cat is an aggressive player and gets after it. I like him compared to many of the other solid point guards that are similar to him such as Kendall Williams because he plays hard all the time. The undisputed leader for the mostly ranked #1 Florida last year, Wilbekin is solid at everything and a very good defensive player.
While he is not a natural point guard, Wilbekin is a solid shooter from three, can get by opponents with a solid first step, can hit mid-range jumpers, and hits floaters all over. There is nothing that screams out about him, but he is a smart player, plays hard, plays good defense, and can hit big shots. I think he is a steal for a late second round pick.
Andre Dawkins (SG, 6’5, 205 lbs., Duke, Senior) – He came back to Duke after sitting out a year. Point blank, the Bulls keep mentioning they need shooters and Dawkins fulfills that role perfectly. While he is not a very good defender and can’t do anything, but shoot, he is an elite shooter and is an average athlete. Add this to the fact that GarPax seems to like Dukies and we might be running short of them soon, and I can see Dawkins being a good fit for the second round.
Cameron Bairstow (PF/C, 6’10, 255 lbs., New Mexico, Senior) – Mainly, Bairstow is intriguing for late second round because he can shoot from mid-range and is crafty around the rim. With quite a bit of bulk compared to today’s NBA game, Bairstow could do a little damage down-low. Stating this, Bairstow is also below average athletically, below average defensively, and is likely a bit-role player if he makes it. At his best, he could be a Luis Scola type. I think he will probably go undrafted, but an intriguing prospect.
Xavier Thames (PG, 6’4, 185 lbs, San Diego State, Senior) – Thames is a hidden talent to me. While he will never be a natural creator offensively nor a great scorer, he is a very heady player that can get into the lane with some floaters, hit mid-range jumpers, has a decent, though flat, outside shot, and plays good defense. He does many little things and I think can be a solid backup in the league if he can hone his shot more from the perimeter and focus on defense. Very heady player.
Stay away from
Johnny O’ Bryant - (PF, 6’9, 260 lbs., LSU, Junior) – This kid will either make it in the league and provide a nice role or be out of the league instantly. Normally, for a second rounder, he is worth the pick. O’ Bryant possesses a nice offensive game in that he is able to post up and hit a fade-away or shoot a mid-range jumper.
The problem for me is that he is a black-hole with the ball, makes low basketball IQ decisions, does not always play hard, is not very good defensively, and is not consistent. While he has some offensive skills, he settles way too often for a jumper at his size. If playing for a basketball coach that demands basketball precision such as Coach Thibs, I don’t see the style of play meshing very well.
Isaiah Austin – (C, 7’1, 220 lbs., Baylor, Sophomore) – This player has a ton of skill and is semi-athletic. He can shoot the three, pass, and is a tremendous shot-blocker. My concerns are will he ever be able to add weight to his frame as he gets bullied around by college players? Also, at 7’1, he only averaged over 5 rebounds per game. I just don’t see Austin making a contribution for a few years at the least.
Glenn Robinson - (SF, 6’7, 210 lbs., Michigan, Sophomore) – This kid has a lot of talent and is one of the top 5-10 athletes in the draft. He shows some potential in that he has a solid mid-range game, he can play good defense, can put the ball on the floor a tad, and can shoot on occasion from college three.
The issue for me with Robinson is that he is not consistent at any particular skill nor does he go all out for a player that should be known defensively. Playing power forward this year, he averaged less than 5 rebounds a game. Offensively, while there are some skills there, he is not particularly average at any particular one. Therefore, until he finds his niche, I see Robinson struggling at the next level. The talent is there, but can he hone the skills?
I don’t watch enough footage of International Players to give a good enough opinion on many prospects. However, with the possibilities of the Bulls wanting to stash a player, two that have caught my eyes might be late first round picks or early second round picks. This is on limited date and watching however.
1) Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG, 6’6, 205 lbs., 21yrs.old) - Bogdanovic is intriguing to me because he has performed at the highest level and improved as a good combo guard prospect at 6’6. He is an above average athlete, has a good wing-span at 6’11, is an average 3 point shooter, and can slash a little. This year at times, Bogdanovic handled point guard duties and while a natural point guard, he can handle the ball and create a little for himself and others.
He is also a hard-nosed player which is a Bulls staple. He does have weaknesses though in that while he is a solid athlete, he sometimes does not always play 100% all the time. While he is skilled at many aspects, he is never going to blow someone away either. Either way, if we have a late first/early 2nd, I’m intrigued by his potential and especially someone that can handle the ball at the shooting guard position. One of my favorite players outside of maybe 10-15 players.
Walter Tavares (C, 7’3, 270 lbs., 21 yrs. old) - Only playing the game for a few years, Tavares shows nice potential defensively with his shot-blocking ability and rebounding. While not a very coordinated athlete, he plays hard and does hustle all over the place. Offensively, right now he does not really have many skills.
With his size and ability to pick up the game quickly, Tavares could be a very nice player in a couple of years if he works on his body and also just honing his defensive skills at NBA speed. I think Coach Thibs could mold him if we somehow got him in late first. He could only be a 20 minute type player, but make an impact in those 20 minutes.