NBA Draft 2012: Power Ranking 7 Best First-Round Fits for Chicago Bulls
Unlike last year when the Bulls built for the future by selecting Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler in the first round, Chicago will be looking for a player who could contribute immediately. With Derrick Rose expected to miss most of the year recovering from a torn ACL and Deng likely out for an extended period due to wrist surgery, the Bulls need a player to help fill the voids left by the team's two All-Stars.
Chicago could snag an impact player with the No. 29 pick, and there should be plenty available. A recent rumor has swirled about the possibility of the Bulls trading Deng to move up in the first round to select Harrison Barnes, but it would be unwise to trade a proven All-Star for a questionable prospect. There is plenty of depth in this draft for the Bulls to land an above-average player late in the first round.
Here are the top seven potential first-round picks for the Chicago Bulls in next week's NBA Draft.
7. Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington
Weight: 205 lbs.
NBA comparison: Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Wroten has wowed scouts with his athleticism and his ability to attack the basket. While he does not have the talent to match Evans, his style of play and versatility compares to the former NBA Rookie of the Year.
Wroten could handle point guard duties as well as fill in at shooting guard. He may not be able to start right away at point guard for the Chicago Bulls in the absence of Derrick Rose, but he could easily contribute 20 minutes a game as the floor general.
Wroten could also spell Rip Hamilton and complement Kyle Korver as a scorer off the bench. He is not the strongest outside shooter, but he is a superb ball handler and could finish at the rim authority. According to his DraftExpress.com profile, Wroten also possesses elite passing skills for a player his size.
The bottom line is that Wroten is a shot-creator, which the Bulls desperately need on their roster. If he can develop a jump shot, the sky is the limit for this young prospect.
6. Jeffrey Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Weight: 225 lbs
NBA comparison: Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
Taylor is one of the more intriguing wing prospects in the NBA Draft because of his superior athleticism and his improved long-range shooting. Whichever team selects Taylor will get a player who is ready to guard most of the league's top wing options, so he could fill a spot in a team's rotation immediately.
With Deng missing extended time, Taylor becomes an interesting possibility for Chicago at the No. 29 spot. He would likely start the season behind Jimmy Butler on the depth chart, but Taylor has the talent to seize his spot in the rotation and possibly become a starter in Deng's absence.
Taylor struggled from the arc in his first two seasons at Vanderbilt, but he continually worked on adding the 3-point shot to his arsenal. His dedication paid off as he knocked down 42.3 percent of field goals from beyond the arc as a senior.
Most importantly for the Bulls, drafting Taylor makes Ronnie Brewer expendable. Taylor could come in right away and become another body to defend rival LeBron James, along with Deng and Butler.
5. Miles Plumlee, C, Duke
Weight: 245 lbs
NBA comparison: Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder
When Joakim Noah injured his ankle during Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA playoffs, Omer Asik was thrust into the starting role without a legitimate backup center. Plumlee would fill the void as a fifth big man on Chicago's roster.
Do the Bulls want to waste a first-round pick to add to the depth of the team's front court when it is not a glaring need? Probably not. But Plumlee may be the best player available when the 29th pick rolls around on draft night.
Plumlee was not the most prestigious college player, but he played his role efficiently at Duke. He is a solid defensive player in the post, a good rebounding presence (especially on the offensive end) and he uses his big body to set excellent screens.
Would you expect anything less from a four-year Coach K project?
Plumlee has a high motor who could contribute to the Bulls already outstanding rebounding production. He also gives the Bulls insurance at the center position if the team fails to re-sign restricted free agent Asik.
4. Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas
Weight: 185 lbs
NBA comparison: Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Taylor is an athletic point guard with a huge upside. He has NBA-level talent and speed, but he can be somewhat erratic at times, as Kansas fans will attest.
Taylor may take some time to learn how to run the show in the NBA, but he already has the ability to get in the lane and score at a high rate in the league. He also shoots the ball fairly well from outside, as evidenced by his 38.2 percent field goal percentage from downtown during his senior season.
Another one of Taylor's strengths is his on-ball defense. He could annoy plenty of NBA point guards with his agile feet and long arms.
Taylor would also help the Bulls fill a need at point guard. He can handle extended minutes with Rose out, and when the former MVP returns, Taylor fits in nicely as the No. 2 point guard on the depth chart.
The Bulls offense is featured around the floor general due to Rose's talent and Taylor is electric with the ball in his hands. If Chicago has the patience to deal with his growing pains (and there will be many), they could find themselves with one of the better players in the 2012 draft class.
3. Will Barton, SG/SF, Memphis
Weight: 175 pounds
NBA comparison: Andre Iguodola, Philadelphia 76ers
Barton has been on plenty of radars as a possible steal in the 2012 NBA Draft because of his long wingspan and athletic potential. He can play either the shooting guard or small forward positions, but he figures to be a shooting guard as he progresses in his development.
Check out this great article by James Brocato of the Wages of Wins Journal. Brocato argues that Barton is the best shooting guard in the draft based on the numbers, and he entertains the "scary thought" that this overlooked prospect could end up with the Bulls.
Barton is a shot creator, and he could use his long frame to create decent jump shots. He is an explosive athlete that could finish high above the rim, and he is a terrific ball handler.
Barton needs to add strength and improve his decision making, but he has all the tools to develop into one of the top players in this year's draft. Barton could be a strong fit in Chicago, but if he fails to adjust to the physical play in the NBA, he could take a while to see time on the court.
2. John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Weight: 215 lbs
NBA comparison: Rip Hamilton/Ray Allen combo
Jenkins makes the most sense for the Bulls at the No. 29 pick because he immediately adds scoring to the mix, especially from outside.
Jenkins is a premier 3-point shooter, and he is arguably the best one available in the draft. According to his NBADraft.net profile, Jenkins moves well without the ball and could effectively make long-range shots off the dribble. However, he is a liability on defense and lacks the athleticism to get to the rim consistently.
Jenkins is the perfect player to take some of the scoring load off Derrick Rose (when he gets healthy), and his game complements the team's star point guard because he spreads the floor and keeps the defense busy with his movement off the ball.
Jenkins could become one of the league's top 3-point shooters because his long wingspan allows him to get off some tough shots. With a little work from head coach Tom Thibodeau on defense, Jenkins could develop into the Bulls' shooting guard of the future.
1. Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
Weight: 210 lbs
NBA comparison: Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets
If Doron Lamb is available at No. 29 in next week's NBA Draft—although there is a good chance he won't be—the Bulls better not pass him up. Even though he is slightly undersized for a shooting guard, Lamb has the offensive talent to take Chicago to the next level.
Lamb is an outstanding 3-point shooter (he shot 48.6 percent from the arc as a freshman and 46.6 percent as a sophomore) and he has the athleticism and ball-handling skills to find good shots for himself and his teammates.
The leading scorer of the 2012 NCAA National Championship is a great mid-range shooter off the dribble and can facilitate for his teammates, according to his DraftExpress.com profile. He is a better ball handler and defensive player than John Jenkins and he is comparable in the outside shooting department.
Lamb has NBA Sixth Man of the Year potential. He could develop into one of the best scorers in the league off the bench and he could help run the show on offense. In a few years, his role with the Bulls could become similar to that of James Harden with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lamb may not be as good a player as Harden, but for a late first-round pick, Chicago would end up with a perfect fit to its overall scheme.