Bulls Draft Pair Of Power Forwards
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 26, 2009 2:20PM
Heading into Thursday night's NBA draft, the Bulls were looking for some help with their inside scoring and some depth in the backcourt. When the night was over, they had addressed the first need twice over while neglecting the other entirely.
The Bulls draft unfolded much more quietly than we'd expected. Supposedly they tried hard to package the picks and move up in last night's draft -- to target either Duke's Gerald Henderson or UNC's Tyler Hansbrough. That didn't materialze. Nor did the team trade any of ther veteran players over the course of the night either. They made selection with each of their picks and called it a night.
With their first pick, 16th overall, the Bulls picked James Johnson from Wake Forest. The power forward averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Demon Decons as a sophomore in the tough ACC.
Ten picks later, the Bulls selected another power forward -- USC's Taj Gibson. Able to score in the post, he averaged 14.3 points and 9.4 boards a game last season for the Trojans.
For now at least, it appears that the Bulls are keeping both players. That what's GM Gar Forman said, anyway. He expects both to compete for minutes in the rotation this coming season. It's not yet clear if the Bulls are losing faith in Tyrus Thomas, or whether they hope some competition for minutes might push him harder.
As for the back court, a lot remains up in the air. Ben Gordon becomes a free agent next week, and while the Bulls want him to return to Chicago, there may be salary cap implications were he to demand a large contract and the Bulls keep Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls are still eyeing the free agent class of next summer -- specifically Chris Bosh. It still appears that one of the two guards will not be a Bull when the season begins... we're just not sure which one.