It is one of the most frequently discussed stories in the NBA offseason: the Chicago Bulls' need for a shooting guard. If the Bulls want to improve in the draft, as opposed to adding players via trade or free agency, there is only one player who can step in and give them what they want and need: Providence's Marshon Brooks.
Brooks has been one of the hot names in the draft, and has moved from a projected late first-round pick to top-15. The Bulls do have the assets to move up: two first round picks in this year's draft (Nos. 28 and 30), as well as a Charlotte Bobcats pick that decreases in protection with every passing season.
Fortunately, 10-15 is the perfect range to trade into. In a weak draft, not every team sees a player to help their squad. For the Bulls, however, Brooks checks off every need the team is looking for to help them reach the next level.
We all know the Bulls' top priority is defense. At 6'5" and with elite athleticism, Brooks has the prototypical build to defend his position, and was special on that end at Providence. He was a Dwyane Wade-like defender, exploding for blocks not normally seen from a shooting guard.
Brooks also did a great job of jumping passing lanes, using his wingspan and quickness to pick off a lot of passes. He averaged 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks to go with seven rebounds per game this past season. You couldn't ask for better defensive numbers from your 2-guard.
What the Bulls need is another player who can create his own shot. In crunch time, the Bulls' offense was too predictable. It was the iso-Rose show, which isn't going to cut it deep in the playoffs.
Brooks was in the unenviable position of being an overmatched team's lone offensive threat. Playing in the Big East, Brooks routinely had to go against the best teams in the country.
All he did was score 28 points against Pitt, the top team in the conference and a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Against number two seed Notre Dame, he went for 52 in a one-point loss.
This experience being a marked man and still performing against elite competition will help him complement the Bulls' offense beautifully.
Brooks had to work for every shot he took this season, and still shot a remarkable 48 percent from the field. He could stand to improve his three-point shot (an average 34 percent last season), but his steady improvement from a spot player as a freshman to the second-leading scorer in the nation as a senior (24.6 per game) points to a player willing to do whatever it takes to improve his game.
According to his workouts, he has already made three-point shooting a priority and shown marked improvement.
With the Bulls, he won't have the pressure to create his own shot on every possession, so his efficiency should skyrocket. The difference between Brooks and the other shooting guard prospects is that he can create his own shot.
Klay Thompson will be an asset to any team that drafts him. But with his strength as a spot-up shooter, and the knock on his athleticism, he is too similar to Kyle Korver. Alec Burks can create a shot, but isn't as good of a shooter or defender as Brooks.
He's got the defensive skills the Bulls covet. He's got the offensive skills they need. Marshon Brooks just may be the Bulls' starting shooting guard in 2011 and beyond.