Ever since the Miami Heat eliminated the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of this year's Conference Finals, a number of theories have surfaced regarding the Bulls. I, as well as others, have suggested that the they enter the Monta Ellis sweepstakes.
Rumors recently surfaced suggesting that the Bulls will talk to the Orlando Magic about Dwight Howard. Free agents Nick Young, J.R. Smith, and Jamal Crawford have been rumored possibilities, as has the possibility of adding Richard Hamilton should the rumored three-team deal between the Pistons, T-Wolves, and Cavs take place.
Realistically, other than adding Hamilton if that deal goes down, the Bulls will only add players through the draft. With two low picks in the first round and a high second-round pick, there is a chance that the team could find an impact player, though particularly at the shooting guard position this isn't a particularly deep draft.
In any case, here are a few players the Bulls could target:
Marshon Brooks SG, Providence
Thus far, no one has benefited more from the NBA Draft Combine than Brooks. Before the combine, he was projecting in the middle of the second round and now he is sitting squarely in the low twenties and could easily move up to the late teens.
He seems to believe that there was a lack of knowledge about him as a player, but my belief is that GM's have concerns about his shooting ability. At Providence he was a volume shooter, averaging nearly 18 shots a game, and like Jimmer Fredette there are concerns that he won't be successful in the NBA without the ability to take all of those shots.
Realistically, he can score from anywhere and has a very impressive array of ways to score. He is a natural on offense and could be the type of compliment that the Bulls want for Rose. He does have ball-stopping tendencies, which would be a concern on a team with Rose, and there are questions about his defense.
However, Brooks is incredibly athletic, and his length allows him to play taller than his 6'5" frame, as shown by his superior rebounding numbers. If he's hanging around by the 20th pick, look for the Bulls to try to jump up to Minnesota and get him.
Klay Thompson SG, Washington State
The Bulls are really high on Thompson, so much so that they might even consider trading the Bobcats' pick they hold to jump up and get him. As a scorer, he may be the most NBA-ready of his group, as he possesses elite shooting ability from well beyond NBA three-point range.
He stays busy on offense, working off the ball and using screens well, which is a staple of the Tom Thibodeau offense with Rose. He can shoot off the dribble, which the Bulls sorely lack, and can play well close to the rim. Defensively he has improved every year and has shown he is willing to be coached, which is really all that Thibodeau wants.
He isn't overly athletic, which is why he's dropping low in the first round. Additionally, he won't be much of an upgrade in the fast-break, but the Bulls need half court upgrades, particularly in the shooting department. Thompson fits the bill perfectly.
He's currently sitting at 19 to Charlotte, but if he continues to drop, the Bulls will watch closely. Charlotte would be willing to trade Thompson's rights to get their pick back, especially since they aren't moving in an upward direction right now.
Shelvin Mack PG, Butler
Most mock drafts have Mack being drafted by the Bulls, and I think that they will take him if he is available come their pick, assuming Thompson and Brooks are gone. He's an amazing shooter who would provide the instant offense that the Bulls thought they had with Kyle Korver and haven't had since Ben Gordon's departure. He's an aggressive scorer who plays very smart and can shoot from anywhere in the arena.
Furthermore, Mack doesn't make very many mistakes with the ball, which would be an upgrade over C.J. Watson. He also has an incredibly large frame that he can use to out-muscle smaller point guards.
On the other hand, he doesn't average many assists and isn't very athletic. He also isn't really a true point guard as he tends to be more of a shooter, but he can score in bunches and has no problem taking and making big shots. He's also a good citizen and will buy into Thibodeau's system, which is very important. The Bulls are high on Mack and will want to keep one of their first rounders to pick him up, but their main focus will be on Brooks and Thompson.
DeAndre Liggins SG, Kentucky
Liggins may be the best overall defender in the draft, and this certainly appeals to the Bulls. With Ronnie Brewer, Watson, and Korver all having team options after next season, the Bulls may look to find less expensive versions of those players. Liggins could easily be another Brewer.
Liggins could easily defend both guard positions and the small forward, and with his length and athleticism, he could excel at it very quickly. At 6'6", he has NBA size for a shooting guard and his 6'11" wingspan helps make him an incredible defender.
He takes pride in being able to shut down the opposing team's best player and doesn't force shots to stay in the game. He doesn't have much of an offensive game at all, but he could easily develop an around-the-rim game and possibly a decent mid-range.
But primarily, Liggins would be a solid addition to the Bulls' defense and possibly step into Brewer's spot in the rotation.
There are definitely others.
The truth is that the Bulls aren't sure what is going to happen in the draft. The Bulls have an idea of who they'd like to get, namely Thompson and Brooks, but they won't over-pay to move up for either one of them. They'll most likely dangle their two late picks and possibly offer a future first pick in order to move up if either of them are still on the board at twenty.
If they can't move up, they'll most likely settle on Mack and try to pick up a center they can stash in Europe for the next year or two. Or if Bismark Biyombo, who is currently sitting between 18 and 25 on most mock drafts, falls to them, they will pick him in a heartbeat.
I think Liggins and Mack are the most likely additions, with another possibility being that they will make a move on Thompson. They're much higher on him than they are on Brooks because he is a more natural shooter, and considering that a lack of shooting really hurt them against the Heat.
How ever it plays out, the Bulls will almost certainly be cautious in this draft. If you're expecting a big move out of them, you probably won't get it.