Ranking Chicago Bulls' Most Realistic 2014 NBA Draft Picks
Don’t look for Chicago to draft an undersized shooting guard since coach Tom Thibodeau likely won’t use them. Jimmer Fredette, who made his way to the Windy City in early March, played only a total of 56 minutes as a Bull.
And, it would be surprising to see someone selected who’s associated with character issues. The Bulls usually stay away from those types of guys, which could mean P.J. Hairston isn’t scooped up.
Although the roster includes Derrick Rose—arguably the league’s best point guard at full strength—could we witness the Bulls draft another floor general? It’s a possibility, seeing that Marquis Teague was selected 29th overall back in 2012.
Let’s look at five players who could realistically call Chicago their next home on draft night.
All stats are from Sports-Reference.com.
5. Jahii Carson
During the Thibodeau era, several undersized reserve point guards like John Lucas III, Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin have flourished in Chi-Town.
Using the 49th pick on Jahii Carson makes quite a bit of sense, as he could turn out to be the next not-so-tall guard to make an impact.
The 5’10”, former Arizona State star possesses elite speed and quickness, and serves as a solid scorer (18.6 points per game last season).
Like Nate Rob, Carson can truly jump out of the gym. At the draft combine, he tied Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown for the highest max vertical leap of 43.5”.
With Rose missing a bunch of games over the past few seasons, the United Center crowd hasn’t witnessed enough exciting highlights. The addition of Carson to the lineup, though, could change things in a hurry.
CSNChicago’s Aggrey Sam gave an accurate description of Carson’s game:
Possessing upper-echelon quickness, Carson is a handful off the dribble, with the ability to get into the lane at will and finish over defenders with either high-arcing floaters or by elevating over them with his tremendous athleticism, as he doesn’t shy away from contact and gets to the foul line frequently. He also excels at using ball screens and when he’s feeling it from the outside, Carson becomes a matchup nightmare. An excellent transition player, he is also a solid playmaker, attracting defensive attention and then finding open teammates, as well as being a great rebounder for both his size and position.
By drafting Carson, the Bulls may wind up with a second-round sleeper who could eventually become a great backup for Rose.
4. T.J. Warren
North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren isn’t extremely athletic or considered an outstanding defender. Plus, he lacks shooting range, hitting just 26.7 percent of his three-point attempts.
So why in the world would Chicago be interested? The answer is simple: He can easily put the ball in the hoop.
Chicago ranked dead-last in the league with a paltry 93.7 points per game. So, obviously, they need all the offense they can get.
Warren averaged 24.9 points and shot 53.5 percent from the field last season. And he reached the 20-point mark in 31 of his 35 games, including 42 against Boston College and 41 vs. Pittsburgh.
While he isn’t a threat from long-range, the 6’8” small forward can shred defenses with his pull-up jumpers and unstoppable floaters.
Thibodeau is typically reluctant to place rookies in his rotation. But he could certainly find playing time for Warren next season due to his stellar scoring ability.
He should be available at pick No. 19. And if he is, the Bulls definitely need to reel him in. It just makes sense.
3. Adreian Payne
Whether he’s amnestied or traded, Carlos Boozer isn’t expected to return. Taj Gibson, if he isn’t involved in a package for Kevin Love, should become Chicago’s starting power forward for next season.
But he’ll need a backup, especially if Nikola Mirotic doesn’t come over this summer.
Michigan State’s Adreian Payne would be an excellent choice at pick No. 16. Although he’s one of the oldest players in the draft (23 years old), he’s too talented to pass up.
The Dayton, Ohio native has drawn comparisons to Rasheed Wallace due to his inside-outside game. A terrific back-to-the-basket player, he can also hit the outside jumper on a consistent basis. He shot a remarkable 42.3 percent from the college three-point line last season.
Payne turned in a few monster performances like his 41-point effort vs. Delaware during the NCAA tournament. In that game, he went 10-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-5 from deep.
He would be the perfect addition to the Bulls’ frontcourt. With Joakim Noah and Gibson playing suffocating D, Payne can space the floor as the team’s stretch 4.
2. James Young
The Bulls have been looking for a shooting guard for what seems like 50 years now. Keith Bogans and Richard Hamilton weren’t solutions to the problem and this past season’s starter, Jimmy Butler, is more of a small forward.
Kentucky one-and-done James Young could very well be the man. He's not as sought-after as his college teammate Julius Randle, but he’s certainly an intriguing prospect.
A sharpshooter, Young is also an exceptional slasher, capable of getting to the bucket off straight-line drives.
He didn’t disappoint on college basketball’s biggest stage, scoring 20 points in the NCAA title game loss to Connecticut.
Standing at 6’6”, Young owns an incredible seven-foot wingspan. He has the potential to morph into a quality defender at the next level, especially if he’s under the guidance of coach Thibs.
With either the 16th or 19th pick, the Bulls could finally land an ideal backcourt mate for Rose.
1. Jusuf Nurkic
Going the draft-and-stash route is as realistic as it gets for the Bulls. As we all know, management is always looking to save money.
The team has a history of stashing players in Europe like Toni Kukoc, Omer Asik and Nikola Mirotic. And now, Jusuf Nurkic, who should be available at pick No. 19, could be the next Euro prospect in line.
At 6’11” and 280 pounds, the Bosnian big man won’t be pushed around by many defenders. Who can really stop a guy that big?
Nurkic has a nice hook shot in his arsenal that he can hit with either hand. Also, he’s a solid free-throw shooter, which is ideal since he can draw a ton of fouls.
Nurkic's defense isn't quite on-point just yet according to NBA.com:
Defensively, Nurkic is still a work in progress. He’s an aggressive shot-blocker, but not exactly a rim-protector at this point. Overall, his aggressiveness is actually somewhat of a concern. Nurkic plays with energy and intensity almost to a fault. He’s extremely foul-prone and has a tendency to agitate referees and fans, all of which has contributed to his limited minutes.
But once he makes his way to Chicago, his D should improve just hanging around Noah and co.
The Bulls need a backup center for Noah, and Nurkic is the right project to invest in.
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