Chicago Bulls: NBA Draft
That news conference was overshadowed by Carmelo Anthony's impending meeting with the Bulls when free agency begins at midnight Tuesday. Then there was Derrick Rose's recent interview with Yahoo! Sports in which he professed an uncertainty about playing for the U.S. national team this summer and reiterated his reluctances to personally recruit free agents.
However, this isn't the Missouri Valley Conference or the watered-down Big East. McDermott will have a big adjustment to make going from big man on campus to a rookie playing for hard-charging Tom Thibodeau.
McDermott, who played for his father Greg McDermott at Creighton, believes his four-year career has prepared him for this stage.
"I feel like I'm ready right from the get-go," McDermott said. "I played four years, unlike a lot of guys who maybe went higher than a lot of guys drafted before me. But I feel like that's helped me. I went thorough a lot of adversity and have seen just about everything on the college floor for four years."
McDermott was one of two college players to participate in the USA basketball minicamp last summer in Las Vegas. One of the coaches was Thibodeau.
"I learned lot from [Thibodeau]," McDermott said. "There were two courts. One court they were doing defensive drills, the other court they were doing a lot of putting in new sets. Of course he had defense. We did a lot of guarding picks and rolls, doing a lot of coverage stuff."
McDermott said that camp helped him for his senior season playing in the new Big East. He led the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game and was the consensus player of the year.
"Just going against NBA guys gave me lot of confidence going into the season," he said. "To be able to play against some of best players in the world, that alone helped me going into my senior year."
Does that mean he's going to be a difference-maker as a rookie? It would be against type, especially if the Bulls can reload during free agency.
Last year's first-round pick Tony Snell played 16 minutes a game, a number buoyed by injuries and the Luol Deng trade. Jimmy Butler averaged 8.5 minutes per game as a rookie during the lockout season. Back in 2010-11, center Omer Asik averaged around 12 minutes a game as a rookie. Asik and Butler became major contributors in their second seasons.
Out of those three, Asik had the most impact as a rookie. But McDermott is a more aggressive, more complete offensive player. He scored from all over the floor during his career, but defensively, he'll have his work cut out for him.
"I've got to get better defensively, everyone does," McDermott said. "But this is the perfect spot to improve because they've been so great defensively. I've got a lot to learn."
Very few rookies come in ready to play big minutes. Snell wound up playing more than some top-draft picks on bad teams.
"It's a big adjustment," Thibodeau said. "The first step is come in and learn the system, learn the NBA game, learn your teammates and your opponents. It's a big learning curve. We like the way both guys work. But it's a step by step process. The first step is be great practice players."
Like Erik Murphy last season, the Bulls believe their second-round pick can make the team. They first noticed Bairstow, a 6-foot-9 post player, when they were scouting Snell, a fellow New Mexico Lobo, and they think he can be a physical power forward off the bench. Bairstow has played international basketball for Australia and said he knows how to compete against "men."
Both players will suit up for the Bulls summer league team in Las Vegas.
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- With Derrick Rose on the shelf again, the Chicago Bulls were the worst shooting, worst scoring team in the league last season.
General manager Gar Forman shot 100 percent, 1-for-1, on draft night.
“Forman for a 3-point shooter! It’s good!”
Every year, plenty of NBA general managers lie and say they got the guy they wanted in the draft. This time, Forman was telling the truth.
But in a bit of target practice, Forman and the Bulls got their top college quarry Thursday night, trading their two first-round picks for sharp-shooting forward Doug McDermott, who was taken 11th by the Denver Nuggets.
After talking to his agent, the Chicago-based Mark Bartelstein, McDermott said he knew the deal was coming when he put on his Nuggets hat and walked across the stage. He certainly knew the Bulls were interested.
As for the Bulls, Forman’s cries of joy echoed from Deerfield to Ames, Iowa. Sources say Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau even smiled after the trade was completed.
While Thibodeau is known for preaching defense with a religious fervor, he’s well aware the Bulls need scoring help, even if they land Anthony.
The Bulls love McDermott’s all-around game, particularly his ability to create his own shot from various zones.
Forman called him “crafty” with an ability to create shots “off the bounce” or slip inside to the post. While Thibodeau doesn't promise minutes to anyone, the Bulls seem to think McDermott can play his way into the rotation.
“If you’re just viewing him strictly as a shooter, you’re not casting him in the proper light,” Thibodeau said. “Because he’s a lot more than that. We think he’s a complete player. We think he’s capable of playing very good defense.”
McDermott’s defense has been a question mark, but Thibodeau is adept at teaching players how to play his kind of “five-man defense.” McDermott already has consulted with his mentor, fellow Creighton legend and former Bull Kyle Korver, about Thibodeau’s high expectations.
“Kyle said he learned more defensively in two years in Chicago than he had in his whole career,” McDermott said. “He told me to go in there with an open mind, listen to Coach Thibodeau and you’ll be just fine.”
Since John Paxson took over the basketball operations department from Jerry Krause in 2003, the Bulls have had their best success drafting veteran college players from good teams or very mature freshmen, such as Luol Deng and Rose.
A four-year player for his father, McDermott was the best scorer in college the past two years. He flirted with making himself available for the draft last year, and he didn’t have a letdown in his return. He was the consensus college player of the year during his senior season, averaging 26.7 points, shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range.
McDermott is the fifth-highest scorer in Division I history with 3,150 points and has a career .458 3-point shooter.
“He handled his college career great,” Thibodeau said. “There was a lot of pressure on him and he met all those expectations. I had an opportunity to be around him with USA Basketball last summer, and he more than held his own in that setting.”
There is a natural synergy to this pick. Forman is a former Iowa State assistant coach, and McDermott hails from Ames.
"I'm pretty familiar with their front office,” McDermott said at the draft combine in Chicago. “They're a bunch of guys from Iowa; they all went to Iowa State it seems like. I got a chance to talk to them, and I really like them."
From practices to games, home and away, to USA Basketball camp, the Bulls' brain trust spent so much time stalking McDermott, if they didn’t draft him, he might have had to get a restraining order.
“I’ll tell you a funny story,” Forman said. “John Paxson went to see him, I think it was this year, may have been a year ago, and there was a huge snowstorm. I think he spent a week there. He got to see him play twice, practice four times and he got to know Omaha real well. Our entire staff has seen him in a lot of settings.”
While the Bulls desperately wanted McDermott, they also were looking for a trade partner for the 16th and 19th picks to shave money off next season’s salary cap as the team chases high-priced talent this summer.
But with that in mind, it was curious that well-traveled forward Anthony Randolph was included in the deal. He’s owed $1.825 million next season. Forman said that was the price for trading up. The Bulls will likely look to use his salary in a trade, though they can’t package him in a deal for 60 days, according to league rules. They can trade him straight-up immediately.
Of course, they could always trade McDermott, too, if they had to clear salary space. As you might have heard, the Bulls are going “all in” to land Anthony or Kevin Love.
But while the Bulls pursue Anthony, among others, getting McDermott -- listed at 6-foot-7¾ with shoes and 218 pounds at the NBA draft combine -- addresses the Bulls’ biggest weaknesses. In theory, anyway.
As a team, the Bulls shot 42 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on 3-pointers last season. They were the lowest-scoring team in the NBA, averaging 93.7 points per game without Rose for all but 10 games.
The Bulls’ season shot chart shows they were above league average from only one “hot spot zone” on the court, the left corner 3. They were below average in two zones from the right side and just around league average everywhere else.
"I think I can provide some outside shooting right from the get-go, be able to come off screens and play off their superstars,” McDermott said.
Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich were the only reliable long-range shooters on the roster. Hinrich is a free agent, and Dunleavy could be prime bait in a sign-and-trade deal.
The Bulls also drafted 6-foot-9 Australian power forward Cameron Bairstow out of New Mexico with the 49th pick in the second round. He averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in a breakout senior season.
As they prepare their pitches to Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and others for the start of free agency on Tuesday, the Bulls might not make a pick at all and instead trade one or both to clear cap space.
They have always been high on Creighton's Doug McDermott and will continue to look at ways to possibly move up to get him, especially if he slides a bit. ESPN Insider Chad Ford has McDermott going to the Charlotte Hornets with the ninth pick in his final mock draft.
Michigan's Nik Stauskas, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard who connected on 44 percent of 3-pointers in two seasons as a Wolverine, is also a possibility if the Bulls can move up in the draft, since it looks like he will be a top-12 pick. Ford says the Bulls are trying to package their picks to move up to grab McDermott or Stauskas.
Payne provides a big presence (6-10, 239 pounds) and has the ability to knock down jumpers, connecting on 42 percent of 3-pointers as a senior. He comes from a strong program and stayed all four years, both checkmarks that the Bulls like when deciding whom to draft. At 23, Payne is also older than most other rookies, as Taj Gibson was when the Bulls selected him with the 26th pick in 2009 at age 24.
I don't believe the Bulls will end up holding on to both picks. Whether it's a trade, or a move that would come later, I'd be very surprised if the Bulls brought two first-round picks to training camp.
If the organization decides to hold on to both selections, look for them to pick a European player they could stash, as they have done with Nikola Mirotic. A player such as Dario Saric of Croatia would fit the bill. He just signed to play in Turkey for two more seasons.
The Bulls could wait and see how he performs, but more importantly in the short term, the Bulls would not have to worry about paying him this season.
The Bulls received the 16th pick from the Bobcats in a 2010 trade that sent Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte and was protected until this year.
With two top-20 selections, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said Friday that he is confident the team will be able to add two good players if they decide to keep both picks.
"Yeah, the way we look at it is we already know going into next year who our core group is going to be," Paxson said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "You start with Derrick, you start with [Joakim Noah]. Jimmy [Butler] has been terrific as well, and Taj [Gibson]. That's really our core. When you feel good about certain guys on your team, you can look at the draft and you can say, 'OK, what do we need and who are the type of guys who fit what we have?'
"We've done a pretty good job of finding fits for our group, so I think we're confident that we'll get -- if we keep both picks -- two good players in this thing. It's a process, though. Sometimes you take a player that's a little more ready, sometimes you take a guy that might need a little bit more development."
Paxson stopped short of calling this a deep draft, preferring to wait until the final list of eligible players comes out.
"I like to think that in any draft you can find fits for your basketball team," Paxson said. "There's a lot of good players out there, and so that's our job, to find fits for our team, for our coach, for our program -- and that's the task at hand when it comes to the draft."
During my time in the front office with the Phoenix Suns, I always made it a point to watch film from beyond the current season, all the way back to high school and AAU if possible. I liked doing this because it gave me a clearer idea of the progression the player made from level to level, and it allowed me to track any continuous flaws that had not been corrected. One of the reasons I had such a strong opinion on Austin Rivers, for example, was because I watched him play in high school and AAU prior to his time at Duke.
Another advantage is watching the player handle adapting to different situations and expectations. How does he handle being asked to do more or less than he's used to? How does he handle playing for a new coach in a new system? How does he handle playing with more or less talent around him? These are all important questions that decisions-makers must be able to answer as they envision how potential draftees would fit on their teams next season and beyond.
Here's a look at five draft prospects who fit five teams' needs perfectly in terms of both position and style of play.
As we near completion of Year 1 of Orlando's rebuild, the Magic have done a good job of collecting young talent of varying levels of potential. Nikola Vucevic was an absolute steal as an elite rebounder in the Dwight Howard-Andrew Bynum deal; Maurice Harkless has come on strong over the past 10 games, showing a tantalizing mix of athleticism and versatility; and Tobias Harris has taken full advantage of the playing time afforded to him since being acquired from Milwaukee. The Magic have established a culture of character, hard work and effort (necessary in a rebuild), but lack a motor for their offense, which struggles to shoot efficiently (49 percent team eFG%) and doesn't get easy scoring opportunities (23rd in corner 3-point attempts and 29th in FTA rate).Read the entire story here.
"I just want to come in every day and work hard," Teague said during his introductory news conference. "Try to get better, help my team any way I can to win. I'm just ready to come in and work."
"It's a big jump," Thibodeau said. "And I think it's a big jump going from high school to college. Certainly the program he was in [at Kentucky] he met every challenge in college and we expect him to do the same here. The first step is getting into the gym and start working and learning our system, learn his teammates, and just get ready for summer league and just go step by step."
Teague said one of the strengths of his game is his on-the-ball defense and one of the things he needs to work on most is his jump shot. He acknowledged that he was also surprised that he fell to Chicago and said he just wants to come in and set a tone early.
"I was pretty surprised [to be a Bull]," Teague said. "I didn't have any workouts for this team and I really didn't know where I was going to land. When they picked me, I was just happy to be a part of this program and I'm ready to get things started."
Teague, the brother of Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague, is hoping to learn a lot from injured Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. He hasn't gotten a chance to speak with the former MVP yet, but he knows the time is coming when he can “pick his brain.”
"I think I'm going to be able to learn a lot from him," Teague said. "He's one of the best point guards in the league, if not the best. I'm going to just take advantage of that every single day, try to come in and just compete and just get better each and every day."
Both Forman and Thibodeau have mentioned in recent days the importance of Teague coming from a winning background. Forman noted that again on Monday and admitted that's something his organization looks for in a rookie.
"It's something really over the last seven or eight years we have put a premium on," Forman said. "The fact that Marquis played at the highest level, played against the best competition in America in the SEC and then through the NCAA Tournament, and then has won at a high level ... it's also important that he played for a coach like coach [John] Calipari where there are a lot of demands placed on him."
At this point, very little is set in stone, so expect our mock draft to fluctuate greatly over the course of the next four weeks. The Chicago NBA pre-draft combine, the adidas Eurocamp and hundreds of team workouts will dramatically alter the face of the draft.
But here's our best stab for now, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, on how the draft might play out on June 28.
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls could decide to go a lot of different directions with their two first round picks (Nos. 28 and 30) during Thursday night's draft.
Bulls GM Gar Forman basically admitted on Tuesday morning the same thing we've all known for a long time when it comes to the NBA draft: It's a crapshoot. Make no mistake, the Bulls have done their due diligence. Forman said the team has interviewed and worked out between 40 and 50 players and has been trying to find guys who will fit within the framework of Tom Thibodeau's system. Forman said he expects to keep both picks and hopes they can provide depth to a roster that already seems set for next season, if and when the lockout ends. No matter how much data is collected, though, nobody is quite sure just how good or bad these players will be in the future.
The Bulls, as Michael Wilbon pointed out would be wise to turn these picks into assets that will help them down line in a potential deal for someone who can provide more of an immediate impact. Having said that, here are five possibilities that Bulls may go after in Thursday night:
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA: He's just a sophomore, but he played in 33 games last year for the Bruins, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a contest. He's also 6-foot-8 and has the ability to knock down some long-range shots. His length is something that Thibodeau would be able to work with, especially if he shows the ability to guard multiple positions.
Davis Bertans, Latvia: As Wilbon noted in his column, Bertans is 6-foot-10, and he can shoot. Those qualities would make him appealing to any team, but especially one that struggled so mightily to score points late against the postseason. Bertans would be able to space the floor and give Rose more room to operate. The question, as it always is for Thibodeau, would be can he play defense?
Justin Harper, Richmond: ESPN.com's Chad Ford had the Bulls going after Harper in the first round and it makes sense. Harper averaged 18 points a game, shot 45 percent from beyond the arc and, like Bertans, he's 6-foot-10. He's also a senior and has played in enough big games that make it seem unlikely he would get overwhelmed by big moments in the NBA.
Kyle Singler, Duke: A four-year standout at Duke, Singler won a national title during his junior year and was a leader for the Blue Devils. He averaged 17 points a year ago and seems to be the type of hard-nosed player Thibodeau would enjoy coaching. He can knock down a jumper when needed and has shown the type of consistency in each one of his four years in college that most players his age (23) don't have.
Chandler Parsons, Florida: Named the SEC player of the year this past season, Parsons is another well-rounded player with the ability to knock down long-range shots. He's played in plenty of big games during his time at the Florida under Billy Donovan. He also appears to have the type of intangibles that the Bulls are looking for. He's been a leader on a team that almost went to the Final Four this season and can grow and get better on a team that wouldn't need him to contribute right away.
Like Bulls GM Gar Forman, Fraschilla said he is a big believer in taking the best player available, instead of drafting a player for a certain need on the team.
"I'm a big 'draft the best player on the board' guy," Fraschilla said. "Because unless you have evaluated two guys that you just can't make a decision on, in terms of their overall talent, and one of them fits a position a little better. I just think the [objective], particularly of a team like Chicago, who this year is picking so far down in the draft, [is to find] a player who maybe falls through the cracks, through the first 27 picks, and not worry about position. Because ultimately, the more talent you accumulate, the more assets you have, and if a guy turns out to be a really good point guard, and you know he's not going to play more than 14 minutes a game for the next ten years (because of Derrick Rose), you may have a guy that you could wind up dealing, much like New Orleans did with Darren Collison a couple years ago when he turned into a starter for the Pacers. So I'm always [of the belief] take the best guy available, especially when you're picking that low."
When Forman met with the media on Tuesday morning he noted that the Bulls may lean towards picking a player with more college experience because of the maturity that comes with playing in big games. But, as Fraschilla pointed out, that doesn't mean the Bulls will rule out a foreign player who may take a few more years to develop. He used the success Omer Asik had this season as an example.
"I don't think [the Bulls] are adverse to going overseas," Fraschilla said. "I just think that given what Gar has done, along with Tom, that it's all about attitude and character. There's no reason to mess up this chemistry that they have at this point, so that's why I don't think it's so much whether it's international or college, but you've got to get a guy that A. is going to commit on the defensive end and B. maybe gives you some offensive punch which is obviously what, I think, the Bulls could use a little bit more of based on the way they finished the season."
One player Fraschilla believes the Bulls will ultimately rule out is Jeremy Tyler, an American player who skipped the end of his high school career, and college altogether, choosing instead to play in Israel and Japan.
"I know Tom Thibodeau pretty well," Fraschilla said. "We worked together in New York and I have unbelievable respect for Tom. And the thing that I know about Tom ... it's all about effort, and hard work and energy, and being a no-mistake guy, particularly defensively, which is why they had such a great season. Along with the fact that they had Derrick Rose. I got a chance to coach [Jeremy] last year at the adidas Euro camp in Italy and he came off a disastrous first year in Israel. He's trying to do the right things. There have been attitude issues in the past, he is trying hard to do the right things.
"[Tyler] is an NBA athlete at 6'10, 6'11, 250, but his skill level is really low. We're not talking about a Joakim Noah here, we're talking about a guy with even less skill level. I don't think the Bulls would pull the trigger on him, in my opinion, because he has not fully turned the corner, in terms of knowing what you're going to get attitude wise. I hope he does because he is trying. I had a chance to talk to him in Chicago and he's trying to do the right things, but I don't know that Chicago will take the chance given the way Tom wants to operate his team."
Though they have been few and far between, there have been some standout players selected in those slots in recent drafts. In 2003, Brazilian scorer Leandro Barbosa was selected by the Spurs with the 28th pick and then traded to the Suns. Barbosa was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2006-07 season, and he has shot almost 40 percent on three-point attempts during his career.
In 2005, University of Florida power forward David Lee went to the Knicks with the 30th pick. In 2010, Lee became the first Knick to make an All-Star team in almost a decade. He parlayed that performance into an $80 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. Since becoming a starter in 2008, Lee has averaged over 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Bulls starting 2-guard Keith Bogans was selected with the 43rd pick in 2003. Sharpshooter Michael Redd was selected at that spot in 2000, and defensive stopper Trevor Ariza was drafted 43rd in 2004.
The Bulls do have a history of picking players from these slots, and they haven't fared too well from any of the three. They have missed badly on all three of their most recent selections from those slots. Their last pick at 28 was in 1998 when they drafted high-flying McDonald's All-American Corey Benjamin from Oregon State. Benjamin lasted just three seasons with the Bulls, starting only 16 games.
In 2002, the Bulls had the 30th overall pick, which at the time was a second round pick. They drafted Roger Mason Jr. from Virginia, a solid if unspectacular player in the ACC. Mason Jr. found success later on in his career with the Spurs, but he played in just 20 games for the Bulls before being dealt to Toronto for Rick Brunson.
The Bulls also had the 43rd pick in that draft and used it to select Maryland power forward Lonny Baxter. Baxter won an NCAA championship with the Terps, but he struggled to keep pace in the NBA. He played in just 69 games for the Bulls over parts of two seasons. Baxter left the NBA in 2006 and has played in Europe since then, most recently in Russia.
Fortunately for the Bulls, there should be a few different shooting guards available at both 28 and 30 on Thursday night. Kansas' Josh Selby, Butler's Shelvin Mack and possibly Providence's Marshon Brooks could all still be on the board when it's time for the Bulls to pick.
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We interrupt the LeBron Watch to remind you that the NBA draft is just two days away, and as of this moment, the Bulls still hold the 17th pick.
So, what are they going to do with that pick?
If they keep it, I'd expect them to use the proverbial "best player available" philosophy. By almost all accounts, this is a weak draft once you get outside of the top four or five picks. It shouldn't surprise anyone that there's been talk over the past few days that the Bulls are receptive to trading the pick. If they can clear out more cap space and use the pick as a bargaining chip, they'd be happy to unload it. Having said that, the team is going to be hard pressed to get rid of their bigger deals -- we're looking at you, Luol Deng's contract. The guess here is that if the Bulls can get something in future value for Kirk Hinrich and this year's pick they'll pull the trigger on a deal to clear up even more cap space for this year's free agent crop.
If they decide to keep the pick, here are a few of the players they might take with the 17th pick on Thursday night …
Sanders would be used as a backup for Joakim Noah down low and would become an insurance policy if the Bulls don't re-sign Brad Miller and/or Omer Asik, the team's 2008 draft pick who is expected to be in training camp, isn't the player the organization thinks he may become. Sanders has a 91-inch wingspan and would surely be an upgrade over Jerome James, in the sense that he may be the backup forward/center who could play meaningful minutes in an actual game.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State
Anderson sounds like the type of player you hear about coming into every draft. "The athletic two guard who can score …" The Bulls could certainly use another athletic guard, but there's no telling if Anderson will be around for the team to select him. As my collegeague Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston points out in his profile of Anderson, there is a lot of speculation that teams will trade up to take the wingman. The good news for Bulls fans is that ESPN's player evaluation of Anderson says that he has NBA range right now from beyond the arc. If the Bulls can find somebody is this draft who can consistently make 3-pointers, they'll be happy.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
Whiteside is another big body who would be able to provide depth down low. His father, Hassan Arbubakrr, played in the NFL so he and Noah would have something in common as far as having fathers who played professionally in different sports. He is 21 years old and declared after his freshman season, so there is little doubt the Bulls would have to get him onto a weight program and help him add even more muscle.
Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
A former All-SEC selection, Patterson may be one of the only good things to come out of the Billy Gillispie era -- though he played for John Calipari last season. The Bulls certainly could be intrigued by the fact that he stayed in school for three years. Taj Gibson was a little older than most picks when the Bulls selected him last season, but that worked out just fine for the team in the end. Patterson is another big body who would be expected to hit the glass down low.
Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler
I've gotten more e-mails from Bulls fans about Hayward than probably any other player. He helped lead Butler to the Final Four and clearly became a favorite in the midwest for his game. He can score and if he adds some muscle I think he can become a solid NBA player in the future. Still, with last year's first round pick James Johnson in the fold at the 3-position, I don't see the Bulls taking the Bulldog. It's also worth pointing out that most projections have him being selected before the Bulls pick at No. 17.
As we've learned with this team over the last year though … anything is possible. And that's always true throughout the league on draft night.