Chicago Bulls: 7 Guard Prospects They Should Pursue

Ernest Shepard@@ernestshepardAnalyst IIIJuly 3, 2012

Chicago Bulls: 7 Guard Prospects They Should Pursue

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    The 2012 NBA free agency period is underway, and the Bulls have holes to fill.

    When you look at the glaring holes currently on the Bulls roster, it is hard to say what position they must invest the heaviest in. Some of us tend to believe that they need a shooting guard. There are others who believe they need a point guard. The bottom line is that they need guards first and foremost.

    I have longed for the Bulls to target young, up-and-coming play makers, not older players who are nearing the end of their prime.

    I have comprised a list of seven guards who could help the Bulls in the back court. Among the players that I have mentioned, only one is over the age of 30.

    Each player has a set of abilities that is too much to describe here in full. It is my hope that the mere mention of these players will help you visualize what they can do for the Bulls.  

7. Kirk Hinrich: The Familiar Face

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    Kirk Hinrich has worn the Bulls uniform before and he would be an obvious choice to return. He knows the management and how they operate. He also would become a favorite of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

    Thibodeau likes defensive-minded players and Hinrich fits that model.

    At 6’3”, Hinrich also has enough size to play both guard positions. He would indeed make the Bulls a smaller team when it comes to the guards. However, Hinrich plays bigger than his height would suggest.

    Hinrich is also a capable shooter who can hit jump shots.

    I am confident that if he returns, Hinrich can go back to producing double-digit scoring games to go along with six or seven assists per game.

6. Gerald Green: The Enigma

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    Gerald Green was not included in the deal that sent "spare parts" from the Nets for the Hawks’ Joe Johnson. That works in the Bulls' favor. They should take a look at the 6’8” "swingman."

    Green can flat-out score in bunches from anywhere on the floor. He has the capability to put up an easy 20 points. Fearless, offensive-minded players are a dime a dozen. I will not go on to say that Green can produce an “All-Star” type of season but maybe—just maybe—he'll turn out to be the steal of free agency.

    One major positive is the fact that the Bulls would not have to offer an obscene contract.

5. Marco Belinelli: The Shooter

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    Since the Bulls are in need of a shooter, Marco Belinelli fits like a glove.

    Belinelli stretched out defenses while shooting 37 percent behind the arc. Those numbers make him a perfect complement in Coach Thibodeau’s offense.

    The problem with Belinelli is his defense. To say that he is a bad defender would be a gross understatement. Defense and rebounding is about desire. I am not sure that Belinelli has the desire to do either. Luckily for the Bulls, they are in need of a shooter first, defender second.

4. Courtney Lee: The Journeyman

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    The Bulls have long coveted Courtney Lee. He has length at 6’5” and he is strong for a shooting guard. He sort of fits into the Kirk Hinrich model. As another defensive-minded player. Lee can guard all three perimeter positions on the basketball court.

    A career 40 percent shooter from the three-point arc, Lee can punish sagging defenders with a deadly stroke. If there was a knock on him it would be his overall consistency on offense. The fact that he has played for three different teams during his four-year NBA tenure could also be considered a knock against him.

    One would think that with his tools, Lee would average better than 11 points per game. I suspect that if he were in the motion offense that the Bulls employ, his scoring would be higher. Hopefully the Bulls feel the same way as I do.

3. O.J. Mayo: The Long-Term Solution

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    While Eric Gordon has begun his NBA tour, the market for O.J. Mayo is remarkably quiet. After the Grizzlies declined to sign Mayo to a qualifying offer, the Bulls should have gone right after him.

    Mayo is everything that the Bulls need in a guard. He is a combo guard who can score and defend.

    At 24 years old, Mayo is also young.

    One of biggest problems that I have with the Bulls is their recent desire to go after older veterans. The Bulls are not title contenders; however, by bringing in Mayo, they would be much closer than with any other player that they were to sign.

    Any player that can bring to the Bulls over 15 points a game would help out. Mayo would not only be able to do that but, he would be a long-term solution at the two-guard spot.

2. Lou Williams: The Sixth Man

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    What Lou Williams lacks in height (he is listed at 6’1”), he makes up for it with his guile. He is also as tough as nails. With 38 starts in 455 games, Williams is sixth-man material.

    With a conceivably healthy Richard Hamilton as the starting shooting guard, Williams could essentially take over the same role that he had for the 76ers.

    Williams is a proven scorer who is more of a slasher as a guard. If he were a few inches taller, one could make a case for him being the top free agent guard behind Deron Williams.

    Defensively he played for Doug Collins, who is every bit as much of a taskmaster as Thibodeau is. I am a firm believer in the defensive capabilities of Williams.

    In my opinion, he is a poor man’s O.J. Mayo (but shorter).

1. William Buford: The Wild Card

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    My wild card is William Buford, the undrafted rookie from Ohio State.

    At 6’6”, Buford is a big and strong shooting guard. He can shoot the ball from long range and is a hell of a rebounder (five per contest). It is a wonder why he was not drafted.

    Buford’s case is similar to that of many college seniors, when entering the NBA draft. The rap on him is that he lacks athleticism and upside.

    With so many “high ceiling” players ending up as busts, it is interesting as to why teams do not draft players with a proven college resume.

    By bringing in Buford, the Bulls can right this wrong.

    With Thibodeau’s coaching, I believe that Buford can turn out to be a solid player for the Bulls. Even after the Bulls have signed a veteran guard, they should bring Buford in for a run with their summer league team.