Bulls Draft Position Not Conducive to Sexy Pick
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 23, 2011 4:30PM
For much of the past decade, the NBA Draft was a night that Bulls fans treated like summer Christmakwanzakah, with hopes that lottery pick might be the gift that would return the team to greatness. More often than not, we suffered through lumps of coal like Marcus Fizer, Eddy Curry and Tyrus Thomas, while also getting some practical, but not sexy, gifts like Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. It wasn't until 2008 when the Bulls unwrapped Derrick Rose that we finally got the year's must-have gift. And it didn't disappoint!
Rose has blossomed into the league MVP, and the Bulls have returned to the upper echelon of the league. As a result, they find themselves drafting at the bottom of the draft. For tonight's draft, they own the 28th and 30th picks in the first round. The earlier of the two is Miami's pick, which the Bulls received from Toronto in return for James Johnson. The final pick of the first round is their own on account of having the league's best record. In the dynasty era, the Bulls regularly picked this late, and drafted such memorable players as Mark Randall, Travis Knight and Corey Benjamin. So we don't have incredibly high hopes for the Bulls drafting any impact players tonight.
With 62 wins during the regular season and a trip the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls don't need to expect to find an impact player. The Bulls showed that they could use an upgrade at shooting guard to compliment Derrick Rose's scoring, but that's unlikely to come from a rookie picked this late. Unless the Bulls decide to deal the picks, they'll instead likely look for complimentary role players who fit John Paxson and Gar Forman's typical mold -- players from quality college programs who have played three or four years.
In Mark Heisler's mock draft, he has the Bulls picking three-point shooting senior Justin Harper from Richmond and Purdue senior power forward JuJuan Johnson. On Bulls.com, Sam Smith echos our suspicion that the Bulls will look for mature players from good programs, also mentions Johnson as well as Duke's Nolan Smith. Other mentioned by KC Johnson are Smith's Blue Deveils teammate Kyle Singler and Butler's Shelvin Mack. But in spite of stealing Taj Gibson with the 26th pick two years ago, Forman's a realist when assessing this year's draft, "If you study the draft with those late picks at 28 and 30, more times than not it's not going to be an impact guy... [W]e want to get someone who fits us and in two or three years can be a rotation guy."