Bulls select James Johnson #16

The Chicago Bulls selected James Johnson with the 16th pick of the draft.   Johnson has been the man I’ve hoped the Bulls would take since I began scouting players for the draft ranking 9th overall on my personal draft board. Johnson excels at taking players off the dribble.   He has the weight and bulk to bang with guys, but he has the ball handling of a guard.   He’s physical, doesn’t settle for shots, and attacks the basket relentlessly.

The largest downside to Johnson is probably that he’s 22 years old which is very old for a sophomore and fairly old for a draft prospect overall.   However, if Johnson develops a jumper he will be a deadly player.   He has some of the better upside in the draft in my opinion as well as being able to contribute immediately.

The upside of Johnson could be that he’s a matchup nightmare who can take PFs off the dribble and overpower SFs.   The downside is that he could be a tweener who doesn’t find a niche.  Given how frequently and successfully the Bulls went small last year, Johnson could be deadly in a running small lineup in the NBA where he can handle the ball at the four.

I couldn’t be happier with the selection though.  Best value and best player on the board in my opinion.

Filed under: Draft Coverage

Tags: bulls, chicago, draft, James, Johnson, nba


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  • Great analysis, Doug! Be sure to check out our live blog of the NBA draft with Chicago reaction from Twitter over at Breaking Tweets Chicago.

  • Predicted Johnson 2 months ago, still wanted Mullens.

    at that time I was worried that Johnson would end up being the second coming of Dickie Simpkins.

    However, now that I have done some research, he seems to be a versatile scorer, better than Thomas as a scorer, maybe even better than Deng.

    Clearly gives us options to move Deng and Tyrus in a blockbuster.

    I say we know within his first season if he is starter material.

  • I'm really happy we landed him. I think he'll take minutes away from Tyrus at the get go

  • i heard that Minnesota was interested in James Johnson at their 18th pick i think it was...and Flynn and Rubio dont seem to be a good match as partners and there 'was/is' interest in Hinrich.

    think there could be something in the works? humor me haha

  • oh and the fact that no guard was taken by the Bulls i would say puts more confidence in Hinrich or Gordon leaving than TT. i think

  • Doug, I'm enjoying your blog.

    The Chicago Bulls sent a clear message to both Tyrus Thomas and Deng in drafting Johnson and Gibson. Get tough or get out.

    After 3 years on a team, you should be a keeper. Tyrus isn't. Maybe he'll do well elsewhere, but something's not working here. He'll be trade bait during the summer.

    Deng too has been sent a message, although a bit more subtle. Get strong, slash to the basket, or get ready for another team.

    I like Johnson's martial arts attitude. Is it true he can shoot with either hand?

    As for Gibson, from what little I saw on YouTube, he already has more low post moves than Noah. I saw Gibson block a shot with his right hand, shoot with his left hand on rebounds, and do a post up move with his right hand.

    Are both these guys ambidextrous in the low post? That would tell me something special about these guys. They practiced hard already to develop both shooting hands down low. That would be a good sign.

    I know Johnson and Gibson aren't Pippen and Grant, but they make the Bulls tougher underneath the bucket, on offense and defense. The two new forwards also give the Bulls trade flexibility with Tyrus Thomas and Dent moving forward.

    Given what was available, the Bulls played a "good chessgame" for improving the team through the draft, getting ready for the trading summer, and staying in the race for big 2010 trades.

  • Big time fan Doug!

    Do you think that James Johnson can be a lesser version of Thaddeus Young of Philly? He seems to potentially have that kind of ability.

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