2015 Bulls Draft Intro

Editor's Note: Kevin States is back to cover draft prospects who could be in Chicago's draft range. Welcome back to the madhouse, Kevin!

Well Bulls fans, it has been an interesting season and should be an interesting offseason (assuming the FO will actually be aggressive for once). This season, the team obviously never got into rhythm and it's questionable if they wanted to play for Coach Thibs at all times. Thibs also seemed to mail it in this year, so it should be interesting to see what happens. One thing I'm looking forward to is the possibility of younger guys maybe getting more of an opportunity depending on the new bench hire. There is absolutely no way Kirk Hinrich should have received more minutes than Tony Snell. While we don’t know what we truly have in Doug McDermott, we do know he was drafted for offensive purposes and did not play for an offensive minded coach. It will be interesting to see how he plays out depending on if/whom we replace Thibs with.

The Bulls obviously have a lot of great young pieces to build around. The front office has done a tremendous job building for the present as well as the future. Nikola Mirotic is a potential future perennial All-Star and the same can be said for Jimmy Butler. The Bulls need some young contributors at center (Pau and Noah are eventually going to slow down) and point guard (can’t count on Rose staying healthy for too long and keep hoping for miracle point guards to be ready).

This draft is not as deep as last year's, nor likely to have the possible impact players of a star-studded draft. However, the draft has some good players in the top 4. I think there are a couple of most likely solid contributors in the top 8, but there are a wave of bust type players throughout picks 6-12 or 13 due to potential and teams rather taking a chance to getting an impact player than just a solid player taking up space and spending future monies into. I do think there are a few seniors and a few players from picks 13-20 that can be had, who could become good players down the road though.

The Bulls have done well drafting players that have a high basketball IQ, who plays hard, and had a somewhat high skill level. While I don’t think there will be any center prospects available if we stay where we are at, I do think there are some point guard and combo guard prospects that can definitely meet the criteria that GarPax looks for. I still believe in drafting BPA; especially at pick 22. We are right at that threshold for drafting players who could make contributions at the NBA level. Hopefully we get some athleticism to go along with our pick this year.

If you have any particular prospect you would like me to cover, please let me know.

Thank you and Go Bulls!


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  • nbadraft.net had Delon Wright to the bulls a few days ago. Base on the highlights and stats. He seems like a pretty good prospect. Very athletic, good size, not sure if he is a good 3 point shooter but he improved a lot from last year to this year. Will love to see your take on him

  • In reply to handushk:

    Will have a write up on wright soon.

  • Honestly this years draft is a bit underwhelming to me. I would like to see us walk off with a big point guard we can develop but options are limited. Our 1st rounder is in the 22 range and I'm not particularly impressed with whats left over. Hopefully Paxson found another diamond in the rough overseas or something.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I still think there will be about 2 or 3 players that will be contributors at where we pick. Just got to make right decisions!

  • Can you let us know what you think about Jerian Grant and if there's a chance he falls to us?

  • In reply to drtoboggan:

    Grants a guy I've kept my eyes on for a while and i would be happy if we drafted him. He has all the tools to be a potent guard but my only knock on him is he needs to improve his outside shooting. Still for a rookie I would take my chances but I doubt he falls to 22. However we may still be able to make some kind of trade as he won't be a lottery. Given the lack of quality pg's outside of Mudiay, I could see him going somewhere in the 15 range.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    You are correct in the range!

  • Hey Kevin. Look forward to your draft analysis as always.

    Quick thoughts: it's tough not to be a little bummed out about consolidating two picks into a senior who couldn't get any court time. Hopefully McDermott can at least find his three point shot in volume, and then will go from there. Also so far my top picks from last year James Young and Cleanthony Early did little to nothing so I'm not feeling to excited going into this year. Oh well, might as well have some fun with it as after No. 10 it really is somewhat a roll of the dice.

    My early favorites for the Bulls at 22 are R.J. Hunter and Terry Rozier. As per usual there are some early second round 'steals' I'd like to get in on but likely won't happen. Namely Jospeh Young who IMO is a can't miss prospect and the other guy I like is Mickey Jordan. And finally if Bobby Portis would drop for some reason unless it's character problems i.e drugs, violence, theft etc. I'd be very interested in him as well. Anyway, look forward to taking a look at the available talent.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm not so sure about Rozier. At 6'1 he's already at a disadvantage in a league that's already dominated by big explosive guards. My major concern with him is on the defensive end. He has the potential to be Aaron Brooks 2.0 or worse case scenario Teague. I do respect your selections though because they make sense but this draft in general has high bust potential.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I don't care for Early or Young. I still think McDermott can succeed with the right coach. I do like Joseph Young in second round with his speed and streaky shot but worry about his character. Will write about Rozier and Hunter.

  • Thanks, Kevin, for doing this every year. It seems harder this year than most to nail down what the Bulls are really trying to do. I've seen the rumors that Taj is on the trade block. If that's true, Harrel from Louisville could be a guy they target. I like Justin Anderson a lot as the ideal 3&D guy (if his shooting #'s are for reall). Plus, he would give another bodey that can stand against James. Hollis-Jeferson is interesting if you want a Tony Allen clone. I think the point guards are loaded in this draft. Personal favorite is Grant, but can't see the Bulls getting close to him. Tyus Jones and Delon Wright are a coin flip to me. Both have flaws, but have NBA skills I love. Jones looks like a team leader, but is so small. Can he defend at the NBA level? Wright is big, can defend anyone, and seems really smart, but is he any better than what the Bulls already have in Moore? I would love to hear what you have to say about those guys. Also, PG George Lucas and SG Timothe Luwawn.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Good insight. Will try to write up on most, but can't guarantee all.

  • Just read on realgm that the Knicks are very open to trading their #4 pick, saying they aren't interested in a long rebuild. That is innept management. I was cuttting Phil some slack that the team was only this bad so they could rebuild. Guess that's not true. Maybe the Bulls can get in on this. Not that I want them gone, but trade Noah, Gibson, and the Kings protected pick for #4?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    If D'Angelo Russell will be there at 4, I would absolutely trade Rose for the pick plus other assets, like possibly the 2017 #1 pick.

    Russell is legit (poor man's Rose, maybe even the equivalent to the 2015+ Rose... and he can stay healthy.) and I would take him right after Towns. (Towns is way better than Okafor because of his defense.)

  • In reply to Granby:

    I don't think Russell will be there at four but I would trade Rose for him as well. Too bad Zeke is no longer the Knick's GM.

    If Saunders doesn't draft Towns he should be immediately fired. A TWolves core of Rubio, Wiggins, LaVine, Muhammed, Dieng, and Towns will be fun to watch.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Once upon a time, the FO would have been hung for trading Rose, but to dump his salary I would trade him to the Knicks for the #4 pick. They FO would have to throw in more, of course.

    Then if Butler and Mirotic are doing great, they should have a shot at one of the big FAs in 2016. I doubt the Knicks would do that deal.

  • Some thoughts:

    1. If Bulls keep their pick I think Justin Anderson is the way to go. The league appears to be changing to the GSW model where you have interchangeable athletes able to guard more than one position.

    2. Wright would be my second choice in that he has size and could back-up both Rose and Butler.

    3. I would definitely take a close look at Upshaw. If his head is on straight and he really impresses at workouts he would jump ahead of Anderson.

    4. I would explore a trade with NY, ORL, or SAC to move-up for WCS.

    5. I think it's a mistake to consider Mirotic a "potential perennial All-Star." If he were 20 years old I would think differently. I think he is a very flawed player and I predict Bulls Nation will fall out of love with him next season.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    1. All I know is that after watching GS in the playoffs, I want to emulate them as much as possible.

    2. ok.

    3. ok.

    4. I would DEFINITELY not touch WCS unless he falls far enough.... like if he's there for Bulls, sure, whatever, he's worth a shot. I'm a UK grad and watched most of the games the last 3 years. He's gotten better, but he's still VERY raw offensively. He did nothing in the finals tourney games that mattered. He got overpowered defensively, IN COLLEGE, so imagine how much stronger and meaner he'll have to get in the pros. Remember how it took about 6 years for Tyson Chandler to become good? If WCS is going to be an impact player, it will take a long time. My biggest worry is that he's just not that into it. He doesn't absolutely love the game. He has many outside interests. He is disinterested many nights.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    We shall see about Niko. We all see that he's not an all-star now but many of us think he will be. I think the crux of the debate is how much he will grow and improve. You seem to think he won't improve much since he's 23 where I think he will still grow and improve quite a bit since 23 is still quite young and he was a rookie.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    It does feel like most Bulls fans are on the perennial all star bandwagon for Niko. That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Prior to last season Fran Fraschilla who seems to be up on the overseas guys said he was a solid starter with his upside being borderline all star. That seems more reasonable. Niko seems like he might be a matchup player, as opposed to someone who can thrive all the time against anybody. Maybe, his best role is super sixth man, scorer off the bench. He does have numerous flaws in his game which need to be fixed, starting with the backward leaning tower of pisa 3 point shot(put).

    It will come down to how much room he has to grow and improve. Everyone associated with the team seems to think that he is a hard worker and a smart player, if so then he should still have a lot of upside. My concern is that he doesn't look like he has a great deal of athleticism and right now he is not all that strong either, as a PF you pretty much have to decide to be one or the other if you can't be both.

    Will he even be a starter next season, does that depend on Thibs leaving, or Noah or Taj or heaven forbid, Gasol.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    It's not just you by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason the overwhelming majority of fans agree 100% that "If he were 20 years old I would think differently".

    It's as if players stop developing when they are 22, which couldn't be further from the truth. There are plenty of 19-year-olds in this draft who won't get appreciably better in the next 10 years, and there are 22-year-olds in the league who will get much, much better in the next few years.

    Last year at this time, Jimmy Butler was 24 years old. Noah was 22 years, 9 months old when he played his first game as a Bull. Taj was 24 when he made his NBA debut. Those guys have obviously improved quite a bit from the time they were 24, Butler went from an offensive liability to a legitimate All-Star, and Noah went from a 24 minute player on a .500 team at 24 to First Team All-NBA and top-5 in MVP voting.

    Niko had only played 1,009 NBA minutes in 59 games thru February 28, and we all saw what he did in the only month he actually got 30 minutes consistently at his natural position.

    Niko still has all kinds of room to improve, and I expect he's going to show a hell of a lot more next season if he is given the chance to be a big part of the offense (which I have no doubt he will).

  • Two things:
    1. Man, unless Towns forces his way to LA, that TWolves team could be legit in 2-3 years. Wiggins could be a total stud (or not) and Towns could be Cousins 2.0 without the attitude. (He can score, defend, make FTs... not a A+ athlete, but he's so long and well positioned that it doesn't really matter.) Plus, a lot of other young guys with upside.

    2. I am firmly on the Hoiberg train now after watching Golden State play the last few weeks. Man, Golden State just plays a faster, freer style... the players just play. This assumes that Hoiberg will play a freer, open court style. But, I'm not sure if this is the model he will run. Does anyone know?

    All I know is that I want that style with guys like Rose and Butler and if Snell and/or McDermott ever pan out. Even Gasol, who has great range. I don't want a Thibs/Van Gundy type mucking it up with hard nose D and slow offense with tons of play calls and shots within 5 on the shot clock. Experience optional.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I think Steph Curry and Klay Thompson would make most any offense look good.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    You and Granby are both right. Curry and Thompson would make any offense look good. However, the Bulls are Exhibit A in demonstrating that if a team allows the opponent to set its defense it is difficult to score in this league unless you have a guy who can get into the lane (like Rose in his MVP year) and at least 2 very good 3-point shooters on the floor. If you don't have that then the half-court offense is a real grind.

    I am now a believer in the up-tempo offense. Get down the floor before the other team can locate and close on your best shooters.

    I think one of the reasons Thibs likes his offensive sets so much is because he makes sure that at any time in the offensive sequence a shot goes up, there are at least two guys in great position to get back on transition defense. If you watch the Bulls offense strictly from that perspective it is actually quite impressive. Of course, the main job of an offense is to score points. On that front,Thibs' offenses are not so impressive.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Your last paragraph was especially interesting to me. I had never discerned that, nor do I recall anyone making that observation before. So Thibs' scheme was sacrificing some O for better D, which did not turn out well.

  • If this year's draft class is as weak as they are saying it is, I would like to see the Bulls use the pick as incentive to move Noah's contract. I believe the 76ers are in the business of taking on bad contracts in exchange for a pick. Not sure if they want another big with Noel and Embiid there but who knows.

    If we are keeping the pick, I'd like to see us get a big man who can learn behind Gasol/Noah or get a PG that we can groom if Rose goes down or leaves in 2 years. I dont know if there is a draft and stash player like a Mirotic somewhere either but that might be an option.

    Overall - this offseason is not about this draft pick. Its about the coaching situation, the continued growth of Butler and Mirotic, and to see whether McBuckets is an NBA player or not. We could also use more 3&D guys.

  • fb_avatar

    This yrs draft is not as good as last yrs draft, nor as deep? That's not saying much cause last yrs draft choices was way overrated. What's Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Nik Stauskas, Noah Vonleh, or Aaron Gordon doing for their teams other than cheering from the bench?

    With that being said I agree with Kevin on the Bulls needs to go younger, especially in the front court and they need a shooter/ ball handler in the backcourt.

    The Bulls should look to trade Noah and or Taj. I would look to Minnesota, Philly, and the Knicks as potential trade partners in order to move up in the draft and snag a top 4 draft pick.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Actually, Rodney Hood put up some impressive numbers for Utah to close out the season, and they finished the year with one of the best records(19-10, I believe) after they traded Kanter and moved Gobert into the starting lineup. Which was also about the time that Hood started playing and maybe even starting by the end of the season. I didn't see Hood play at all, but I kind of kept an eye on his boxscores just to torture myself, since we could have had him with the 19th pick, after maybe taking Nurkic with the 16th pick instead of McDNP. We certainly have to hope that McDNP makes Butler like jumps in his second and third seasons. Maybe he'll spend the offseason training with Ray Allen.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    It's way too early on some playersmyountalked about; especially Exum. There are some solid players but from top to bottom this draft does not have as big of superstar talent.

  • I'm seeing the "trade Taj and Noah" stuff, but I don't think there's a team in the NBA that would give up anything for Noah, nor one which would give up more than a second-rounder for Taj, even though I think they probably should offer more since he's a valuable, starter-caliber player. If anything you'd have to part with assets to unload Noah, an asset like, say, Taj.

    I think a realistic trade is, Bulls give up Taj, Noah and a first in exchange for a future protected second rounder, i.e. nothing. Hopefully a team with a hole at PF would see the value in Taj and offer a late first for him, but that's really reaching.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Well, I don't see the point of giving up 2 assets, Noah and Taj, for nothing. Don't they come off the books the next year anyway (2016)?

    If Rose, Butler, and Mirotic all improve, some of the big 2016 FAs might be liking Chicago, especially if the new coach is special.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    That's what I'm saying: It sounds nice in theory to trade Noah but in practice, we're probably stuck with him. Unless there's something to this article about potential interest in OKC, which I doubt:


  • In reply to Roman F:

    I have to assume that you are joking, but I really don't get it, a future protected second round pick isn't worth anything, maybe a Hangdog, but Noah, Taj and a first?

    I also don't buy that Taj is worth more than Noah, especially since Taj has 2 years left on his deal and Noah has only one, and Noah is a starting center(not a PF) while Taj is only a PF and not really a starting caliber one for any team that isn't just going through the motions. A true starting caliber PF has to be worth more than a second round pick or even a late first.

    If neither Noah or Taj are worth even a late first, then there is no point in trading them.

    I doubt that Sacto has any interest in trading Rudy Gay, but they are a wild card franchise with their new ownership. I would offer Taj and the Sacto pick and/or our #1 for Gay. Gay obviously starts at SF and can easily play backup PF in small ball lineups.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I am joking or at least, I'm saying that there's little to no return for trading Noah. Would any team consider a broken-down and regressing Noah a starting C? If so, they should be willing to give up significant assets to get him -- but I don't think there's a team that believes that. Would you give up Noah for a second round pick? That's the question you have to consider. I would.

    Meanwhile, even with obvious flaws, Taj is a starting PF, on a reasonable deal. If you're trying to free up space for FA's, you're better off with Noah but if you're trying to win now, you're better off with Taj, and his 2 years are hardly an albatross Taj strengthens the PF position on any team, that should be worth a lot more in a trade than it probably is.

  • I think you guys are way off on Noah's trade value. Yes he had a down year, but he was coming off knee surgery and never got a chance to fully recover. He should have sat out until ~January 1st or so, which would have given him a chance to be fully healthy (which he never was all season).

    A guy doesn't go from 1st-Team All-NBA and top-5 in MVP voting to 'no trade value' in the course of a year. Not at age 30 anyway.

    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Noah go to the Knicks as part of a larger deal for the #4 pick. Noah's a perfect center for the Triangle with his passing and rebounding, and he doesn't need to score a lot on a team with Melo dominating the ball.

    Phil wants veterans and a quick rebuild, and he has all the cap space in the world this summer. The only players under contract are Melo, Hardaway and Calderon - and I'd love to have Calderon as the Bulls' backup PG. He's a veteran who can come in and keep the floor spread with his 3-pt shooting, and I'm sure Phil would love to move his salary since he is still under contract for two more seasons.

    It's early in the process, but right now I'd do Noah + Gibson + Hinrich + #22 for #4 and Calderon. Depending on how Phil does in FA, he can keep Taj or trade him for a guard. He can trade #22 for a veteran as well.

    Again it's early, but I'm liking Kristaps Porzingis right now at #4. http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Kristaps-Porzingis-7119/ I want another big man who can shoot and keep the lane clear for Rose and Butler. Gasol is under contract for two more years, which will give Porzingis time to develop and get stronger for the NBA game.

    PG- Rose, Calderon, Vet Min
    SG- Butler, Moore, Vet Min
    SF- Snell, McDermott
    PF- Niko, MLE, Bairstow
    C- Gasol, Porzingis, BAE

    With the huge trade exception(s) we'd get from the Knicks deal, we could even trade future 1st-rounders and the Sacramento pick for an "overpriced veteran" that someone will be dumping, and we wouldn't have to send out salary to make the deals work. Preferably an older vet with lots of playoff experience who wouldn't need many minutes in the regular season but would be able to turn it on for the playoffs, i.e. Paul Pierce.

    I'd love to see a small-ball lineup of Rose, Butler, Snell, McDermott and Niko out there, that is some crazy shooting and one hell of an open floor for Rose and Butler. What I'd really like to see is the 2014-15 Bulls roster being coached by a guy who actually believes in developing young talent during the regular season, and who will make adjustments in the playoffs. But, obviously that ain't happening.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Love it. Can you coach or be GM?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I like this, Don, "right now I'd do Noah + Gibson + Hinrich + #22 for #4 and Calderon." Altho it might be a mistake to move both Noah and Taj. But they both disappeared in a number of playoff games.

    That trade would free up some cap room - which is why the Knicks might not do it. On the other hand, if they sign a big FA, then adding Noah and Taj to the mix could give the Knicks a decent team.

    If the Bulls could land a starting big with the #4 pick, on a cheap contract for 4 years, they could well land a big FA in the summer of 2016. Especially if Rose, Butler, and Mirotic all improve next season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Porzingis is not an NBA center. Bairstow is not an NBA anything. Your proposed front line doesn't work without at least another bona fide back-up big man who won't hurt you if Gasol gets injured. And, no, I am not talking about Nazr. Need someone who is not eligible for social security.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Obviously we don't agree on Noah's trade value, but I think there's gap between what his value SHOULD BE, which is what I think you're writing about, and what it actually is. Even last year where he was DPOY, 1st-Team All-NBA and top-5 in MVP voting, I don't think there was much to get for him in a trade. Teams tend to over-value young players and picks, and under-value vets like Noah. At this point, I don't think there's a taker. If you want to argue that there SHOULD be a taker willing to offer significant assets for him, I'd agree, but I think most teams would see more value in a mid first-rounder, even a late first-rounder.

    It would be nice to find a desperate team like the Knicks but I don't know if Phil would deal with the Bulls.

  • Porzingis is not an NBA anything right now, I'm not sure he'd give you anything as a rookie other than the ability to keep the floor spread with his shooting range. But he certainly appears to have the potential to be Chris Bosh playing center, and if March Mirotic continues to be the outstanding defensive rebounder he was this season, that's a PF/C combo that can't be guarded.

    The Bulls would certainly need to spend the Full MLE on a 3rd big man, one who defends like Taj used to and who hits the defensive boards as effectively and efficiently as Niko and Pau. Then they'd need to spend the BAE on another rebounding/defending big man.

    I have no clue what we have in Bairstow, he showed some promise in the 2014 FIBA Worlds, and I'm not judging ANY rookie who had to "play" for Thibs his rookie season. He can shoot from outside a little bit, and he's signed for the next two seasons at the minimum. Why not keep him around as the 6th big.

    Rose - Butler - McDermott - Niko - Porzingis could be a downright deadly NBA offense in about 2 years.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Can we dump Noah and somehow keep Gibson? Maybe add Snell and even next years 1st if we must? Gibson is a nice 2 way player and two more years on a great contract. I'd hate to depend on a 20 yr old skinny euro kid like that in year one. If he's for real, trade taj at the deadline.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I think I'd rather have a younger big man for the Full MLE, someone who will defend like Taj used to, who will crash the defensive boards (Taj has never been even an average defensive rebounder, and his defensive rebound percentage seems to keep dropping each season.

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