Chicago Bulls

2011 NBA Draft: Chicago Bulls Do What Was Expected, Nothing

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25:  Jimmy Butler #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles in action against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the east regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Prudential Center on March 25, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Jeff HicksCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

The 2011 NBA draft will be remembered more for its trades than the players drafted. The draft that the Chicago Bulls had will be remembered for, well, nothing.

And that is OK.

The Bulls left that draft with Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler, both a ways off from being contributors but have at least interesting stories.

Mirotic, a Montenegro native, is signed with Real Madrid through 2015. A buyout is a ways off, but comparisons put him as a Toni Kukoc-like player and Andrea Bargnani lite. We can only hope the 20-year-old small forward is more like the former Bull than the current Raptor.

With an expected lockout looming, stashing a guy in Europe is a good idea. Mirotic will not lose any time in the NBA, and Chicago will save money and worry not having to consider a buyout for at least a couple of years.

Butler is the epitome of a team player. Homeless until the age of 14, Butler's hard work came full circle when he was drafted 30th overall, staying close to his Marquette University roots.

It is hard not to root for Jimmy, but his talent is pretty much capped because of his lack of a jumper. He is physically mature and never one to want to ball hog. Future starter? Ha. Future key man off the bench? Strong possibility.

Mirotic was acquired in a deal with Houston that sent the 28th and 43rd pick to the Rockets, so Chicago ended the night a bit earlier than expected.

If the lockout takes effect after July 1, than you can kiss free agency goodbye. You can also forget the idea that Butler would be signed/worked out with his new teammates, unless they pull an NFL and hit the street courts to practice.

The NBA lockout could be monumental in a negative way for the league's future. There is a good chance that 50 percent to all of the 2011-12 season could be lost because of numerous issues. For the development of the newly drafted players, the lockout needs to be swift. Not to mention the 2011 class is weaker than Carlos Boozer's playoff play.

If a new CBA is agreed upon sooner than later, free agency is where the Bulls will make their move for improved shooting. Jamal Crawford, Nick Young and Jason Richardson all fit that bill, especially because they all play at the shooting guard.

Only problem is that all three only score, and Crawford and J-Rich are on the wrong side of 30, meaning a decline will happen, not if.

Congrats to the new Bulls, and here is hoping they at least get a taste in the league and a chance to play for a winner.

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