8 Potential 2013 Draft Day Targets for the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls will soon be looking at the NBA draft to improve their roster heading into next season. With a thinning roster due to departing free agency, the draft can be an excellent source of productive players who don’t have large contracts—something the Bulls will be very much in need of.
Chicago will be selecting 20th, which while the best in three seasons, is still a lower pick. But they have done well in recent years, acquiring Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler later in the draft.
Additionally, picks like Marquis Teague, who is young and inexperienced, but has a lot of raw physical ability, and Nikola Mirotic, who is tearing it up in Europe, are late first-round picks showing promise.
Chicago has two primary needs, and it may be that they just fill whichever one with the best player available. They need a wing player to supplement Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng, and they need another big to help take up the minutes for Joakim Noah.
Since it’s hard to say which they chose, and so much depends on who is and isn’t take in front of them, here are three wings and three centers who could potentially go to the Bulls. For each position there is a best-case, most likely and worst-case scenario. There is also a recommended second-round pick to fill the alternate position.
Second-Round Wing: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Tim Hardaway Jr. has gotten some attention from Chicago Bulls fans as a player they’d like to see drafted with their first-round pick, but that’s a bit of overspending. Hardaway will still be likely available in the second round if he’s picked at all.
He averaged a respectable 14.5 points with Michigan last year, but shot just .437 from the field and was only .694 from the charity stripe.
His dad, Tim Hardaway Sr., is the uncle of Derrick Rose’s fiancé, so there’s sort of a family connection here. Unfortunately, Hardaway Jr. doesn’t have his daddy’s crossover, which is why he’s pretty far down on most draft boards.
He does have the ability to create shots and pass. He doesn’t always show the ability to decide when to do which.
There is a lot to like and a bit to not like. He has the potential to be a second-round steal or just a wasted pick.
Second-Round Big: Kenny Kadji, Miami
Kenny Kadji is a lot like the kind of player whom the Chicago Bulls like to draft. He has good size at 6’11” and 242 pounds, he’s strong and he has good athleticism. He’s also a solid defender, rebounder and shot-blocker.
On the other hand, he’s very raw offensively.
Sound familiar at all? It’s doubtful he’d be Omer Asik, but with Tom Thibodeau’s ability to develop players, he could emerge as a solid role player off the bench who could be around for a few years, which would be better than getting the annual Nazr Mohammed/Kurt Thomas fill-in off the bench.
Worst-Case Wing: Glen Rice Jr., D-League
Glen Rice Jr. was, at one time, looking at being a lottery pick, but then he went and got himself kicked off the Georgia Tech team for little things, like hanging out with friends who were driving under the influence and accidentally discharging a firearm. No biggie right?
He then went to the D-League where he tore it up. He was instrumental in leading the Rio Grande Vipers to the D-League championship. Rice helped the team win their final 16 games, including an undefeated postseason as he averaged 25.0 points, 9.5 boards, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game.
Rice can play both wing positions, shoots extremely well and has a commitment to defense. He needs coaching on the defensive end, but the ability and commitment are there.
Rice would be pretty close to a perfect player for the Chicago Bulls if it weren’t for the off-court issues, and those things do seem to matter to them. If Rice’s attitude has been adjusted by the humility check of getting kicked out of college and being forced to play D-League, he could be a nice fit for the Bulls.
Worst-Case Big: Jeff Withey, Kansas
Jeff Withey of the Kansas Jayhawks is pretty polished for a college player. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 27.3 last season is promising.
He has great height, standing a full 7’0” with a 7’3” wing span. He is 235 pounds, which he can add to, but at 23, it’s a bit of a question mark how much.
The nice thing about being 23 is that he is more developed. He is a committed and capable defensive player.
He defends in the manner that coach Thibodeau likes his bigs to defend: He protects the post, is one of the better help defenders in the college game and doesn't commit a lot of fouls. He challenges and alters shots, then gets the rebounds, which dove-tails well into the Chicago Bulls' philosophy.
His downside is that, at 23, there’s questions about how much more he can develop. He might be able to step in and play right away, which is what the Bulls need (and we know how reluctant Thibodeau can be to play rookies, but Asik was a rookie, too).
His ceiling is lower, but he’s almost there, so there’s not a lot of gamble involved.
Most Likely Wing: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State is a projected middle first-rounder. Current Chicago Bull, Malcolm Thomas’ former teammate, possesses the thing that the Bulls are most in need of: elite athleticism manifested through offensive production.
I make this particular distinction because there is a common misperception of the Bulls that they are in need of athletes .That’s not true. They have athletes. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibon and Joakim Noah are all very athletic.
The problem is that they are all players who primarily utilize their athleticism defensively. The Bulls do need an athlete who can score. They have players who can score, like Luol Deng, and they have athletes, but they don’t have a lot of athletes who can score.
The thing that you hear the most about Franklin is that he has a great motor, which really fits in well with the Bulls' chemistry. He’s aggressive offensively, perhaps even a little too aggressive at times, but the Bulls could use another player with an offensive mindset.
At 6’5”, he would be a little small to play the small forward position, which would be a bit of strike against him, but when you’re drafting with the 20th pick, you can’t get perfection.
Most Likely Big: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams, from New Zealand, is kind of a mirror reflection of Jeff Withey, in that they are very similar in some ways and exact opposites in others.
Both have similar size, but where Withey is a pretty close to a finished project, ready to step in and play but close to his ceiling, Adams is largely unpolished with a lot more room to grow before he can play.
He is 7’0, 240 pounds, long and athletic. He has massive, soft mitts, which make him a natural rebounder, which is, at the moment, his best asset, though his defense doesn’t lag far behind. He blocks well and recovers when beaten.
His intangibles are nice too. He likes being coached and takes to it well. He has a good motor and a good attitude. He commits to defense. Pretty much, everything that goes along with being a big man for the Bulls is there.
The one problem is that he has almost no offensive game whatsoever. He had trouble going from New Zealand high school ball to American college ball, and after one year, he’s ready to make a bigger jump. It’s going to take some time.
Still, his ceiling is higher, and the Chicago Bulls are better off looking at the ceiling and letting the developing process work itself out. If they didn’t have a coach who has shown an ability to develop players, I’d think twice, but Adams should be available at the 20th pick and would be a nice one for the Bulls if they go big.
Best-Case Wing: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has come up in a few mock drafts as a potential Chicago Bull. If that happens, do a jig because if his name gets called, it would go so well, even the Pope would have to be a Bulls fan.
The Bulls' perfect wing would have three requisite talents. He would be able to hit the three, drive to the rim and defend.
He needs to be able to defend because if he can’t, he won’t play under coach Tom Thibodeau because it’s the identity of the team. He needs to be able to shoot because that helps to spread the court for Derrick Rose to drive the lane and do his delicious magic. He needs to be able to drive the lane so that Rose isn’t the only one who can do it.
Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler both have had varying degrees of success at the offensive end, but neither is really a lights-out scorer. Caldwell-Pope has the ability to be that guy. He can be a bona fide, multidimensional scorer who can also defend.
Ideally, he could become the starting shooting guard, then Butler would be free to back up both him and Deng with extended minutes as a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
Caldwell-Pope has been steadily climbing the draft boards and is currently projected to be a middle first-round pick. He may be snatched up before the Bulls can draft, but if he isn’t, then they should jump all over him.
Best-Case Big: Rudy Gobert, France
The player who would be the best pick for the Chicago Bulls is Rudy Gobert of France. Unfortunately, he may be rising up the rankings too fast for the Bulls to have a shot at him. Still, he’s projected to go in the late teens so Chicago could have a shot.
To help explain why, I’ve developed the following formula: 93+TT=PDMM.
The “93” stands for the 93 inches or 7’9” wingspan which Gobert possesses. The “TT” stands for Tom Thibodeau and his defense. The “PDMM” stands for “Pas dans ma maison,” which, according to Google Translate, is French for “not in my house” and likely what Gobert would be declaring as he routinely sends shots flying willy-nilly all over the United Center.
To appreciate that kind of wing span is difficult. Only two players in NBA history have had a longer one:Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol. If you have a tape measure, measure it out, and mark the ends. Then stand in the middle and stick your hands out.
Or if you have an eight-foot ceiling, just eyeball it and imagine someone just almost touching both the ceiling and the floor at the same time.
And Gobert legnth and 7'1 height to disrupt his athleticism. He is agile, fast and has great leaping ability, though I couldn’t find any measures on his vertical.
He’s kind of like a longer version of JaVale McGee who speaks French and has a brain. He and Joakim Noah would be awesome as the “French Connection.”