5 Year Rear View Mirror: Looking Back At The Bulls 2011 NBA Draft

5 Year Rear View Mirror: Looking Back At The Bulls 2011 NBA Draft

We began our summer series looking in the rear view mirror five years with the Cubs and White Sox in honor of the MLB Draft beginning on Thursday evening.

Now, let's turn our attention the Chicago Bulls.

The 2016 NBA Draft begins on June 23, and the Bulls are still in search of lots of answers. And, ironically enough, one name that will undoubtedly be at the center of a lot of talk between now and the draft - rightfully or not - will be the man the Bulls selected with their more notable first round pick in 2011.

The 2016 NBA playoffs have been a good indicator of how deep the quality in the 2011 NBA Draft has proven to be in the years since.

Cleveland selected Kyrie Irving with the number one overall pick, and came back with forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall selection. Last year, the Cavs added Iman Shumpert via trade; he was the 17th overall pick by the Knicks. Both are playing an important role in the Cavs getting rolled by the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

And one of the centerpieces of that potential dynasty Golden State has built is Klay Thompson, who the Warriors selected with the 11th overall pick.

Other postseason stars who were selected in the first round in 2011 include Enes Kanter (3), Bismack Biyombo (7) and Kawhi Leonard (15).

The 2011 NBA Draft was an unsettled time for the Bulls. Derrick Rose was named the NBA MVP after the 2010-11 season as the Bulls finished the regular season with a league-leading 62 wins. But a conference finals loss to Miami ended a promising season earlier than fans wanted.

The Bulls were active during the draft. At the deadline during the 2010-11 season, Chicago acquired Miami's first round pick (#28) from the Toronto Raptors for James Johnson; Toronto had acquired the pick when Chris Bosh left for the Heat. With the 28th pick, the Bulls selected guard Norris Cole.

Cole, of course, never played a game for the Bulls. Instead, Chicago traded the rights to Cole to Minnesota with guard Malcolm Lee (who the Bulls selected 43rd overall) during a flurry of deals that ended with the player Houston selected with the 23rd pick coming to Chicago.

Nikola Mirotić being property of the Bulls was the end result of the Cole trade, and immediately became a second coming of Toni Kukoc. The Great Unknown playing in Europe was a chip Bulls fans used to keep their souls happy through dark days as DRose continued to get injured during the coming seasons, but he didn't sign with the Bulls until the 2014-15 season.

In his two seasons with the Bulls, Mirotić has averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. During the 2015-16 season, he shot 36 percent from deep.

Two picks after Cole, with their own pick, the Bulls selected guard Jimmy Butler from Marquette.

There were some terrific players drafted ahead of Butler in 2011 - Thompson and Leonard have certainly established themselves as annual all-stars - but a case can be made that the Bulls got the best value with their pick of Butler at 30th overall. Indeed, if the Sacramento Kings hadn't selected Isaiah Thomas (now with Boston) with the 60th and final selection in the 2011 Draft, Butler would have been the "steal" of the class.

Butler has average better than 20 points and five rebounds per game over the last two seasons. Whether or not he can get along with Rose may tell the tale of which/either of them is in Chicago longer than June 24th of this summer, however.

 

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