CHICAGO – In a deep draft class filled with promising shooters, the Bulls might be able to avoid the annual debate of stockpiling talent versus addressing a need.
Several players could serve both purposes.
The Bulls have the No. 29 overall pick in today’s NBA draft, which will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Team officials have stayed mum on possible selections, closing player workouts to the media and bypassing a typical pre-draft news conference.
However, it’s no secret that the Bulls could use another reliable scorer.
A dominant regular season by the Bulls gave way to a disastrous playoff appearance this spring.
They lost guard Derrick Rose to a torn ACL in their playoff opener, and then they lost a first-round series to the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers less than two weeks later.
Even when Rose was healthy, the Bulls needed additional scoring threats.
Now that he could be out until February, combined with the expected early-season absence of forward Luol Deng (wrist), the team’s need for help on the perimeter is greater than ever.
Vanderbilt shooting guard John Jenkins, a 21-year-old who averaged 19.9 points a game for the Commodores last season, would bolster a depleted backcourt.
So would Kentucky guard Doron Lamb, another sharpshooter who scored 22 points in this year’s NCAA championship game against Kansas to lift the Wildcats to their eighth title.
Other options include Will Barton, a Memphis shooting guard who has trained with longtime NBA coach John Lucas – a friend of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and the father of Bulls role player John Lucas III.
Or perhaps the Bulls will pounce on another player who unexpectedly falls to them with the second-to-last pick of the first round.
By this time, Bulls general manager Gar Forman and his front-office staff have earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to drafting players in the late stages of the first round.
In 2009, the Bulls selected a low-profile prospect with the No. 26 overall pick. Three years later, Taj Gibson has blossomed into a versatile forward capable of starting on many teams.
The Bulls selected Marquette forward Jimmy Butler with the No. 30 overall pick last season. Butler averaged 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds a game in 42 regular-season appearances, but he steadily improved and is expected to take on a more prominent role next season.
This year marks the first time the Bulls have had the No. 29 overall selection since 2001. They used that pick to draft Austin Peay guard Trenton Hassell, who played 644 games during a nine-year career with stints in Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and New Jersey.
NBA mock draft
Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, a Chicago native who grew up on the South Side, will be the No. 1 overall pick in today’s NBA draft. Barring additional draft-day trades, here is one guess at how the rest of the first round will turn out.
No. Team Player Pos School
1. NOR Anthony Davis PF Kentucky
2. CHA Thomas Robinson PF Kansas
3. WSH Bradley Beal SG Florida
4. CLE Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF Kentucky
5. SAC Harrison Barnes SF N. Carolina
6. POR-a Damian Lillard PG Weber St.
7. GS Dion Waiters SG Syracuse
8. TOR Austin Rivers SG Duke
9. DET Andre Drummond C UConn
10. NOR-b Meyers Leonard C Illinois
11. POR John Henson PF N. Carolina
12. HOU-c Tyler Zeller C N.Carolina
13. PHX Jeremy Lamb SG UConn
14. MIL-d Perry Jones III PF Baylor
15 PHI Arnett Moultrie PF Miss. St.
16. HOU-e Terrence Jones PF Kentucky
17. DAL Kendall Marshall PG N. Carolina
18. HOU-f Terrence Ross SG Washington
19. ORL Jared Sullinger PF Ohio St.
20. DEN Royce White SF Iowa St.
21. BOS Evan Fournier SG France
22. BOS-g Andrew Nicholson PF St. Bonaventure
23. ATL Moe Harkless SF St. John’s
24. CLE-h Fab Melo C Syracuse
25. MEM Marquis Teague PG Kentucky
26. IND Will Barton SG Memphis
27. MIA Draymond Green SF Mich. St.
28. OKC Jeff Taylor SF Vanderbilt
29. CHI John Jenkins SG Vanderbilt
30. GS-i Doron Lamb SG Kentucky
a-from BRK, b-from MIN via LAC, c-from MIL, d-from HOU, e-from NYK, f-from MIN, g-from LAC via OKC, h-from LAL, i-from SAN