Thursday, June 26, 2014
Bulls draft hits and misses of Forman era
By Nick Friedell
In their last three drafts the Bulls have had a hit (Jimmy Butler), a miss (Marquis Teague) and a work in progress (Tony Snell).
CHICAGO -- James Johnson's biggest claim to fame as a Chicago Bull had nothing to do with anything he accomplished on the basketball court.
Johnson, who was Gar Forman's first selection as Bulls GM in 2009, didn't turn out to be the player the organization wanted. But he did serve as Derrick Rose's personal protector one night in Oklahoma City during the 2009-10 season.
The Bulls were staying at the Skirvin Hotel, accommodations with a documented history of ghost activity. Rose, who on the verge of playing in his first All-Star Game, took no chances. He roomed with Johnson because of Johnson's martial arts background.
"We were watching [out for] each other," Rose said with a laugh at the time. "We were just up on the computer, just talking. Just having fun the whole night."
While Johnson's tenure didn't produce solid results, Forman and his staff have hit on several other picks in the last five years.
Let's take a look back at some of the Bulls' recent selections:
James Johnson (16th): Miss
He never flourished under Vinny Del Negro and couldn't find consistent minutes in the rotation. He was dealt early in Tom Thibodeau's first season. Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague were the three players drafted right after him.
Taj Gibson (26th): Hit
He has developed into one of the most consistent defensive players in the game. Gibson is one of Thibodeau's favorite players because of how hard he works on both ends of the floor.
Nikola Mirotic (23): TBD
The Bulls moved up to snag the lanky forward from Real Madrid. He has yet to play a game in the NBA, but is considered one of the best prospects in Europe. The Bulls are still hopeful that he will come over this summer and help them next season.
Jimmy Butler (30): Hit
Like Gibson, Butler was a late-round pick who has turned himself into one of the best defenders in the league. Butler has put a lot of heart into his game and is respected by teammates and coaches because of his work ethic. His biggest issue remains the lack of a consistent jump shot. Still, he was a solid pick late in the draft and a player that many teams missed on.
Marquis Teague 29: Miss
The strange part about Teague's selection is that while the Bulls worked out a slew of different players before the draft, Teague wasn't one of them. They liked his upside, but he did not do well in Thibodeau's system. He showed flashes of promise, but he never showed much of a jump shot. He was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets last season after barely playing most of the season.
Tony Snell 20: TBD
This pick could haunt Forman for a while. Snell showed some promise in his first season, but he never got consistent minutes behind Butler. The Bulls badly needed a backup big man, but Forman decided against selecting Gorgui Dieng and Mason Plumlee, both of whom had solid rookie seasons. Tim Hardaway Jr., who was taken four slots after Snell, also had a nice year for the New York Knicks. Snell still has time to turn into a solid piece, but the first returns weren't as promising for a team that was already in good shape with its wings.