The Chicago Bulls had two needs going into the draft: a shooter and a backup center. They may just have addressed them both.
There were a few rumors surrounding the Bulls just a few hours before the draft.
Talks of a LaMarcus Aldridge trade (via Chicago Tribune) circled around the past few days, but the asking price may be too high—at least for now. While Aldridge would certainly make the Bulls a favorite for the Finals, parting ways with Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler would also make them take a step back.
Rumors aside, the Bulls did fulfill their needs this draft. They drafted New Mexico's Tony Snell with the No. 20 pick, someone who will give Chicago some much-needed three-point shooting and a stretch 4 in Florida's Erik Murphy with the 49th pick.
The Bulls seem to go for the more developed players in a draft. Both Butler and Taj Gibson came into the league with great work ethic and were ready to play if called upon.
It looks like Chicago is sticking with that trend.
Tony Snell played three years in New Mexico and looks NBA-ready. At 21 years of age, Snell will be expected to contribute and could even see some consistent minutes throughout the 2013-14 season.
During his final season in New Mexico, Snell averaged 12.5 points per game while shooting 39 percent from downtown, something Chicago urgently needs after being near the bottom of the league in three-point makes and attempts.
Snell loves to shoot the three and the stats show it:
Snell has also shown he can take over and win the game for his team. In the Mountain West championship game this past season, he went on a 13-point run, including three makes from deep, to give New Mexico the win.
Snell also has a pretty solid build and should be able to contribute more than just his three-point shooting ability. At 6'7" and 198 pounds, Snell is capable of playing both wing spots, something the Bulls like. They'll be able to plug him in for Butler and Luol Deng, since each are expected to take on a lot of minutes.
Defensively, Snell has the length and size to defend multiple positions and has the potential to become a great defender under Tom Thibodeau. It will all come down to how quickly he learns the system, though. Fortunately, he sounds more than ready to step up to the challenge (via Bulls.com).
He also expressed confidence he’d be able to meet the demands placed on players by head coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff with respect to defense.
'I feel like I’m good enough to defend anybody,' said Snell. 'I really feel good about that.'
Snell seems to fit right in with the Bulls. He gives them a good shooter and could turn into a great role player as he continues to develop on both sides of the ball. As long as Snell plays his game and puts forth great effort, he could have a solid start to his career with the Bulls.
Pick Grade: B+
The Bulls addressed two issues here. They added some frontcourt depth as well as a three-point shooter. At 6'9" and 230 pounds, Murphy will be able to stretch the floor from the power forward position, giving the Bulls a new look offensively.
Murphy averaged just over 12 points his last season at Florida, shooting 45 percent from three-point land.
Offensively, Murphy is a solid player. It's defensively and on the boards where he comes up short. He averaged just 5.5 rebounds per game his senior year, a considerably low number considering he's fairly big.
His quickness and agility is a problem defensively and is known to have problems in pick-and-roll defense. Under Thibodeau's defense-first system, Murphy could have a hard time seeing minutes, especially when the Bulls already have a power forward that struggles defensively.
Murphy could be a project for the Bulls if they give him a contract. They can mold him into a good defender, and once Boozer's contract expires, he could see some valuable minutes as a stretch 4.
As the Bulls' roster stands, Murphy might not get a lot of playing time next season, if any at all. He'll be the third power forward in the rotation, and the fact that he's a rookie means he's eligible for Thibodeau's redshirt rookie year.
The Bulls could've used this pick to draft a backup for Noah, but it looks like they'll have to address that during free agency.
Pick Grade: C+
While there may have been a lack of blockbuster, eye-opening moves for the Bulls this draft, they didn't really need them. At least not yet.
They drafted players that met their needs, and Snell could end up a rotation player as early as this upcoming season, something that is rare for Bulls rookies.
There's still time to make moves, and with free agency coming up, there are bound to be a lot more. After drafting Snell, the Bulls could choose to use their mid-level exception on a quality center since they didn't draft one.
Maybe Thibodeau will surprise everyone and play both rookies, with Murphy playing a few minutes at the center position.
It may have been an uneventful draft, but the Bulls ultimately made choices that improved their roster.
Final Grade: B
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