With all the hype surrounding free agency and the prospect of landing LeBron James, Chicago Bulls fans tend to forget the NBA Draft is where the Bulls have improved their team over the past few seasons.
With the 17th pick this year, the consensus seems to be that they will select a shooting guard.
It's the safe pick, since the Bulls are unlikely to nab a free agent shooting guard, especially now that Dwyane Wade seems to be staying in Miami.
According to the mock draft on NBADraft.net, the Bulls will select Texas' Avery Bradley, a 6'3'', 180 lb. shooting guard.
That sounds a lot like the recently departed Ben Gordon.
According to the website's scouting report, he is "a scorer in every sense of the word." That has Gordon written all over it.
I was happy to see Gordon leave the Bulls, because he was a ball hog who got hot at certain points in the game, but ultimately cost his team games because of his inability to play defense.
However, if the Bulls land James or Bosh, they will need an outside shooter to open up the paint. Cleveland surrounded the King with shooters, and though that did not turn out well, the supporting cast in Chicago is decidedly better.
Rose is on the verge of NBA superstardom, but his outside jumper lacks consistency. He has a greatly improved midrange game, but he's not the catch-and-shoot type that complements LeBron when he bulldozes to the basket.
Therefore, though I typically despise small shooting guards, Bradley could actually be a great fit for the Bulls.
Kirk Hinrich, assuming he does not get traded, would likely still be the second guard with Rose. He is arguably the best defender the Bulls have at guard, and he has traditionally held his own against bigger shooting guards.
Luol Deng could also move to shooting guard in some situations, with some combination of Taj Gibson, James/Bosh, and Noah manning the 3, 4 and 5 spots.
Meanwhile, Bradley could serve in a similar role as Gordon, coming off the bench and providing a scoring boost. Though not necessarily Sixth Man of the Year material, Bradley could still be dangerous from outside and force opposing teams to respect the perimeter.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen if the Bulls will draft him, and how his skills translate to the professional level. He shot 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in his one year with the Longhorns, which is slightly underwhelming. By comparison, Gordon shot better than 40 percent from three-point range in his rookie season with the Bulls.
Whether the Bulls land Bradley or not, the draft will be a major component of their offseason strategy, particularly since the team will likely hold off signing and re-signing players until they make their run at the big-name free agents.
So before July 1 hits, pay attention on June 24 to see who the Bulls will add to further entice potential free agents to come to the Windy City.
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