The Chicago Bulls own the 20th and 49th overall picks in the 2013 NBA Draft. Which position will they target?
Former big-time college stars like Ben McLemore of Kansas and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo will not be around when it’s Chicago’s turn to pick. However, there will be plenty of quality left to choose from.
The Bulls are set at point guard, with superstar Derrick Rose, defensive specialist Kirk Hinrich and talented youngster Marquis Teague on the roster.
There’s no need to address the power forward spot either with the solid duo of Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. And don’t forget about Malcolm Thomas, who provides the team with a little bit of depth.
The center, small forward and shooting guard could all use an upgrade, though. Let’s look at the Bulls’ top-three options for each draft pick.
Pick No. 20 (First Round)
With the 20th overall pick, the Bulls need to focus on a big man. All-Star center Joakim Noah needs a backup who can pick up 10-15 minutes a night and strengthen the second unit.
While shooting guards like Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., California’s Allen Crabbe and San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin could be available, it’s imperative that Chicago takes a big man, which is difficult to find via free agency.
3. Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Bulls like to draft players from winning teams, and Jeff Withey would be the perfect addition.
The seven-footer enjoyed a great senior season at KU, producing 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 71.4 percent from the foul line.
But the stat that pops out the most is his ridiculous 3.9 blocks per game. It wouldn’t take long for Noah and Withey to become one of the NBA’s top shot-swatting combos. Opponents would definitely think twice before driving to the hoop against Chicago.
Withey, who shared the NABC Defensive Player of the Year award with Victor Oladipo, would likely
emerge as a favorite of the Bulls' head coach, Tom Thibodeau. We all know how much Thibs loves defense.
2. Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
At 6’11” and 240 pounds, Mason Plumlee has an NBA-ready body. And his game is ready for the league as well.
He averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this past season. He also shot nearly 60 percent from the field.
While many prospects play only a year or two of college ball, Plumlee stayed the full four years and developed into a sensational big man.
The athletic, Indiana native is quite the rebounder. He boxes out extremely well and uses his leaping ability to snatch loose balls above the rim.
Plumlee would provide the Bulls with an energetic rebounder off the bench. Plus, he would be an upgrade over Nazr Mohammed. Sorry Nazr fans.
1. Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng helped Louisville win a championship this year. Could he help D-Rose and Co. win it all next year?
The Senegal native is just what the Bulls need in a big man. He’s mobile, has a 7’4” wingspan and serves as a terrific shot-blocker. In addition, he can finish, rebound at a high level, pass form the high post and shoot the mid-ranger jumper.
Again, he’s just what the Bulls need.
There’s no guarantee that Dieng slips to the 20th overall pick. But if he does, the Bulls would be foolish not to take him. Clearly, he has the potential to be the steal of the 2013 draft.
Pick No. 49 (Second Round)
After going the big man route in the first round, the Bulls should look for a wing player in the second round.
The team certainly needs help at small forward, as Jimmy Butler will be at shooting guard next season. Speaking of Butler, he’ll need a backup, especially if free agent Marco Belinelli leaves this summer.
3. Carrick Felix, SG, Arizona St.
Carrick Felix has drawn comparisons to current Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler. Like Butler, he’s a great defender who isn’t known as the world’s greatest scorer.
Felix can defend shooting guards as well as small forwards, and is extremely active at playing the passing lanes. He would fit right in with the Bulls, one of the Association’s better defensive ball clubs.
Felix was one of the top rebounding wings in college basketball this past season, grabbing 8.1 boards per game.
His three-point shot has come a long way. As a senior, he shot 37.4 percent from beyond the arc, much better than his 20.5 percent as a sophomore.
2. James Southerland, SF, Syracuse
Outside shooting is one of the Bulls’ biggest weaknesses. They can sign a free agent like Kyle Korver or Anthony Morrow this summer to address this area. Another option would be drafting sharp-shooter James Southerland.
The 6’8” forward finished fourth in the Big East with 211 three-pointers made and shot nearly 40 percent from long range.
Back in November, Southerland knocked down nine three-pointers versus Arkansas. Yes, you read that correctly, nine threes.
Not bad for an off-the-bench performance.
Due to Rose’s ability to penetrate, Southerland could get a lot of wide-open looks as a member of the Bulls.
1. Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The Bulls drafted a Kentucky “one-and-done” last year in Marquis Teague, and they could land another one this year in Archie Goodwin.
Goodwin had a decent freshman year, averaging 14.1 points, 2.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Wildcats.
He shot only 26.6 percent from downtown, though. Great, just what the Bulls need—a shooting guard who can’t shoot, right?
Goodwin obviously has to work on his jumper, but he does have the ability to create his own shot. The Bulls surely need a shooting guard who can bring that to the table.
Goodwin also has the potential to be an outstanding defender. All he needs is Thibodeau’s help to get him there.