Every first-round pick signed to a contract receives not only a guaranteed contract, but guaranteed money. Because of that, late first-round picks have diminished value.
This year, the Chicago Bulls have two late first-round picks, No. 28 and 30. What the Bulls should do with them now is the big question. Should they package them and try to trade up? Should they just sit and pick the best players available? Perhaps they should swap them for a pick or two in next year's (more talented) draft.
We all know the Bulls need to be focused on getting an upgrade at shooting guard. I love Keith Bogans and think he is an amazing value for what he gets paid, but he's no starter. Ronnie Brewer wasn't worth the contract he signed last year. And there probably won't be a starting-caliber shooting guard available this late in the draft.
Seeing all the possibilities, I would like to explore a few of them.
Option No. 1: Draft the Best Available Players
The names that will most likely be available this late in the draft are ones such as Jeremy Tyler, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Shelvin Mack, Malcolm Lee and so on. NCAA vets and less-experienced, younger players with a higher potential upside are who usually get picked up around here.
If the Bulls keep both their picks, I'd like to see them pick up a nice backup at small forward for Deng, a big in case we can't afford to keep Taj Gibson or, obviously, a shooting guard.
At this point, I'd like to see Chicago go with a proven commodity. Without showing too much favoritism to my favorite school, I think Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler would both fit in beautifully with Chicago's current roster. Both players would've gone much higher in last year's draft, possibly in the lottery.
Singler would be a smart, unselfish option off the bench. Smith still seems to have untapped potential and could be a solid backup at both guard positions for years to come.
If you'd rather pick up a post at one of these spots, it wouldn't be far-fetched to think that JaJuan Johnson, Jordan Williams, Jeremy Tyler or Nikola Vucevic could all be available.
Option No. 2: Trade Up
For most of the college basketball season, Marshon Brooks was considered a mid-second-round pick. As the season progressed, his stock continued to rise. But, even up until the NBA draft combine measurements, he was thought to be a fringe first-rounder.
As you all know, Brooks has been impressing scouts and GMs ever since with his length, athleticism and scoring ability. I think he'd be a great solution for Chicago's problem at shooting guard and would be a great running mate for Derrick Rose. If he's still available around pick No. 20, I'd be willing to move any of Chicago's three picks (they have one in the second round) to grab him.
Other players that may be available could be Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried, Norris Cole and because of a poor showing at the Adidas Eurocamp, Bismack Biyombo.
Option No. 3: Pursue a Sign-and-Trade
Even though Chicago is fairly young, it appears that they are ready to win right now and many fans would rather have them go after a proven player. Players like Aaron Afflalo and Jamal Crawford will be free agents this summer. Chicago was very interested in Courtney Lee and OJ Mayo this past season.
If the Bulls do go after a new starting shooting guard, Ronnie Brewer will become a great trade chip they could use to match up contracts with any team that is over the cap. With the addition of Chicago's three picks, it's not unreal to think that they could land any of the aforementioned players.
Obviously, Chicago has many directions that they could pursue. These are just a few of them and it will be very interesting to see who/what they will reach for.