Chicago Bulls: What the 2013-2014 Lineup Might Look Like
The draft is over, but if you are a diehard Chicago Bulls fan and a basketball junkie, you may still be stung by the Bulls playoff departure. The draft was largely uneventful as it pertains to the 2011-2012 season.
The selection of Jimmy Butler from Marquette and the trade maneuvers that landed Nikola Mirotic shouldn't impact the Bulls playoff run much for next season, right? Well, maybe it will.
Often times, front office moves are made in efforts to properly position the organization to capitalize on projected future opportunities.
Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. The moves and the selection of Butler could be a precursor to a new nucleus for the Chicago Bulls.
Am I suggesting the Bulls are going to build around Butler and Mirotic? Not exactly, but here is a scenario and the potential roster shaping that could be in store for Bulls fans.
This culminates in what could be the roster for the 2013-2014 season when Mirotic could make his Bulls debut.
Second-Year Big Man Drafted in June 2012: Possibly Tyler Zeller
The Bulls will need a young big man to back up there starting center (no peeking) and his backup. Though things could definitely change by next year, here is a suggestion, just for the sake of visualizing the concept.
Tyler Zeller of North Carolina is currently projected as a late first-round pick in the talent heavy 2012 NBA draft. His character and big time program affiliation make him a likely candidate for a Bulls selection as the Bulls figure to be selecting near the bottom of the first round for the next three or four years at least.
Rookie Shooting Guard: Possibly Andre Dawkins
The Bulls will certainly need more depth and youth to go with their projected core. Another possibility is Duke product, Andre Dawkins.
He is another high character kid from a top program. We all know how much Bulls brass loves the Dukies.
He has a high level of confidence and figures to be defensively committed and coachable coming from Mike Krzyzewski. Dawkins isn't likely to be available until the 2013 NBA draft.
Dawkins is a good shooter, but he isn't an explosive athlete, that will likely keep him in the bottom of the first round, available for the Bulls. He seems to be a great fit, but again, things could change.
Veteran Small Forward: Possibly Andres Nocioni
The Bulls will want a rugged forward with a defensive mindset, preferably a veteran, who will also except a secondary role. It also wouldn't hurt if he was an old fan-favorite.
Bring back "Noc." He could spell the Bulls starting small forward and power forward positions.
As a rookie, Mirotic will have gained a wealth of professional experience overseas. Mirotic will be 22 years old, the same age as most four-year US college players by the time he'd join the Bulls.
If Mirotic pans out, he'll be a matchup problem for opposing 3's and 4's. Mirotic figures to be an instant offense type of player in a reserve role.
Great shooting ability at 6'10", he could be a tremendous asset for the Bulls, with an outside shot at starting for the Bulls.
The experience that had to play a part in maneuvering to grab Mirotic has to be the success and upside of Omer Asik. By this time, Asik should have cemented himself as a solid pivot player.
Omer has already shown the potential to be a solid, defensive stalwart, who can be plugged in to start if the starting center goes down, but his major value is off the bench as a defender.
Captain Kirk never wanted to leave Chicago, and I believe would love to return if given the opportunity. He is a pro's pro and a very good shooter who can play the point or shooting guard positions.
By this time, the Bulls will be capable of offering him the type of contract more in line with his abilities. Hinrich would be 32 years old at this time.
Here is where it gets interesting. How do the Bulls get Mike Conley? By trading Luol Deng and the Charlotte Bobcats pick for him and OJ Mayo at the conclusion of this season.
Of course, it would be a sign and trade in regards to Mayo, which is where the Bulls leverage could come into play. Conley and his family have roots in the Chicago area, Deng's stock is rising and should continue to as long as he avoids injury this year.
The Grizzlies are not going to want to lose Mayo for nothing, but they may hold on to him through this season as they watch what they can get from Rudy Gay coming off of injury. Conley could be the Bulls sixth man, still under his current deal and form the best point guard rotation in the NBA.
Starters: SG OJ Mayo
Mayo starts at the shooting guard for the Bulls, offering improved defense and a player who can create his own shot.
He has also shown the ability to spot up and hit the jumper consistently.
Starters: SF Jimmy Butler
How could the Bulls part with Deng? Well, Butler's defensive makeup is similar to Luol's.
He is not as good offensively, but I believe he has the work ethic and passion to improve in this area.
His approach is consistent with the concept Tom Thibodeau rewards and could be Deng's successor.
Starters: PF Taj Gibson
Where did Carlos Boozer go? Here is another bold but very sensible move the Bulls could make this offseason, post-collective bargaining agreement of course.
The Celtics are at the end of the spectrum, the Bulls are just beginning. They have an aging core, but they are in need of injecting some youth into that team.
They need to acquire someone who can play with Rajon Rondo for the next five years. This could be Joakim Noah.
Korver just adds floor spacing in the short term, but Boozer back on a team with a veteran head coach could prosper in Garnett's role offensively. The Celtics starters this year would be Rondo, a free agent shooting guard, Paul Pierce, Boozer and Noah.
That is still a pretty formidable starting five. The Bulls starters this year would be Derrick Rose, Allen, Deng (who wouldn't be moved until the end of this year in my scenario) Garnett and Omer Asik.
The Bulls would be the favorites to win the NBA championship with this lineup. It would also give them plenty of cap room at the end of this year.
Starters: PG Derrick Rose
Chicago's favorite son will still be the starting point guard in 2013-2014 season. At the prime age of 24, he will likely be the best point guard on the planet by this time.
The Bulls may have won one or two titles by this time with Rose getting the support he lacked this past year.
Starters: C Dwight Howard
Acquiring Superman is the secondary objective to acquiring the expiring contracts of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. As the come off the books and possibly fade in to retirement, the Bulls can offer Howard the max deal.
The Bulls nucleus would be defensive minded, depending heavily on scoring from Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Howard and the bench. This may be a difficult set of happenings to grasp, but it could work from a money standpoint.
Check out the roster an the projected annual salary breakdowns.
Derrick Rose $15M
OJ Mayo $7.5M
Jimmy Butler $1.5M
Taj Gibson $7M
Dwight Howard $17M
Kirk Hinrich $5M
Mike Conley $8M
Nikola Mirotic $1.5M
Omer Asik $5M
Andre Dawkins $1M
Andres Nocioni $5.5M
Tyler Zeller $1M
If things pan out anywhere close to these scenarios, Bulls fans will be ecstatic. Of course, one injury could drastically impact cornerstones and or trade bait.