NBA Draft 2011 Results: 5 Questions Left Unanswered for the Chicago Bulls
After reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls lost the series to the Miami Heat. That ended a season in which a lot of people had predicted Chicago would challenge the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title.
After the stunning exit in the conference finals, the Bulls have a lot of questions that can only be answered through the NBA draft.
With the NBA draft now concluded, the Bulls drafted Marquette's Jimmy Butler with the 30th pick, and traded the 28th and 43rd picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rights to Nikola Mirotic on the night of the draft.
Here are five questions that were left unanswered by the Bulls on draft night:
1. Where's the Help for Derrick Rose?
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The Bulls' NBA MVP Derrick Rose was a key factor to Chicago's run to the Eastern Conference finals. In the series against the Heat, Rose often was double and triple-teamed and was often a non-factor in the offensive attack.
A lot of critics believed that Rose was often trying to do too much. Some believed that if he had scoring help, the Bulls would've been in better shape to reach the NBA Finals.
Bulls fans everywhere were expecting the team to draft a running mate for Rose in the backcourt. Unfortunately, no real scoring help was drafted to complement him and be the answer to Miami's Big Three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh or Boston's Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
2. Possible Salary Cap Concerns?
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The Chicago Bulls have had their long line of stars ranging from Michael Jordan to Toni Kukoc. They have been one of the most successful teams in the NBA managing the salary cap.
But with contracts for Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer expiring in the near future, the Bulls will have to find a way to take care of Derrick Rose and find a way to keep their supporting cast intact.
With all the labor uncertainty around the league, the Bulls may have to let people walk in order to keep Rose, Boozer and other key players.
Only when the CBA is resolved will Chicago be able to get down to business and find a way to work some salary cap magic.
3. Will Nikola Mirotic Be Able to Step In?
Thanks to bleacherreport.com for the photo!
The Bulls' other first-round pick, Nikola Mirotic is a player that the team is stashing overseas for him to play out his contract and further develop his game.
Mirotic is viewed as a pick that the Bulls can afford to wait on, and then depending whether decisions are made with the soon-to-be expiring contracts.
He is a player that can provide some help later down the line and step in at one of the forward spots.
Only time will tell if this player will turn out to be a cornerstone for years to come, or if he will be another in a long line of international busts.
4. Will Jimmy Butler Emerge and Be Productive?
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The team's first-round selection, Jimmy Butler, was drafted to provide some spark and create opportunities for second chance points.
A lot of experts believe that Butler will be able to hit mid-range shots and create some extra opportunities for himself. More importantly, he should be able to take some of the pressure off of Derrick Rose and company.
Butler may be able to emerge as an off-the-bench option in his first season, but he like everyone else in the league, is in limbo. He cannot interact with the team, much less start practicing until a new CBA is worked out.
5. Are the Bulls the Team to Beat in the East?
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The Bulls were the best team in the Eastern Conference a season ago. They rediscovered a winning attitude that had not been seen since the days of Air Jordan.
They return several key pieces in Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and their first-round pick Jimmy Butler. They have the pieces to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. The team does not need major tinkering to become a contender.
John Paxson should be smart and try to get Dwight Howard, which I believe would firmly establish Chicago as the team to beat as well as be able to challenge Dallas for NBA supremacy.