Chicago Bulls: Dario Saric

Payne good fit for Bulls if they keep picks

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
2:03
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Adreian PayneBrendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsScouts like Adreian Payne's athleticism, defensive ability and surprising shooting touch from three-point range.
The Chicago Bulls could go in many directions with the 16th and 19th selections in the NBA draft Thursday night.

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.

[+] EnlargeKimmo Muurinen, Dario Saric
AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisThe Bulls might look to stash one of their two first-round picks in Europe the next few years so Dario Saric might be a good option.
But the Bulls also need to add to their big-man rotation. If the Bulls decide to stay at 16 and 19, I think they will select Adreian Payne from Michigan State with one of those picks.

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.

Draft has plenty of shooting help for Bulls

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
10:32
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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 Doug McDermottKevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsIf the Bulls want Doug McDermott they likely will have to trade up to get him.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls need to find players who can score.

Anyone who watched them slog through the playoffs, not to mention large portions of the regular season, knows that. That's why if the Bulls decide to keep one -- or both -- of their picks (numbers 16 and 19) in Thursday's draft, the safe bet is that they will look for a shooter who can help spread out the floor. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few guys the Bulls may be interested in.

Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton


The Bulls have been high on McDermott for several seasons and the feeling is mutual. The reigning player of the year spoke openly about how much he enjoyed meeting members of the Bulls' front office over the last couple months.

"I think I'd fit in great," McDermott said during last month's draft combine. "I feel like they always have a good group of guys. And, obviously with Derrick Rose returning he draws a lot of attention, so I feel like my outside shooting could really help them, and I feel like I'm a much better defender than people give me credit [for]. I think I can really understand the team concept of defense, and I think [Chicago's] a place where I could fit in."

To land McDermott, the Bulls may have to work out a deal to move up in the lottery. ESPN.com's Chad Ford currently has him going to the Charlotte Hornets with the ninth pick.

[+] EnlargeRodney Hood
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesESPN.com's Chad Ford has the Bulls selecting Duke's Rodney Hood with the 19th pick in the draft.

Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan


Stauskas shot 44 percent from beyond the arc last year and has the length that Tom Thibodeau likes. This is another situation where the Bulls would likely have to move up in order to get him.

Rodney Hood, SG, Duke


Hood acknowledged at the draft combine that he believes he can help the Bulls right away with his ability to knock down shots. He's 6-foot-9 and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc in his only season at Duke.

James Young, SF, Kentucky


One of Thibodeau's favorite sayings is when he notes a player is "long and athletic." Young fits that bill. He can score, but he shot just 34.9 percent from three-point range last season.


If the Bulls decide to go in a different direction, a young backup big man could be a welcome addition to Thibodeau's bench. Nazr Mohammed served in that role for the last two seasons, but he didn't see the floor much behind Joakim Noah. If the Bulls decide to go this route there are a few possibilities.

Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State


Payne is 6-10, can bang down low but also has the ability to knock down shots. He was a 42 percent shooter from three-point range last year. He also comes from a strong program and is older (24 in February) than most of the other prospects.

Dario Saric, PF, Croatia


If the Bulls keep either one or both picks, Saric's name will be on their radar. That's because they could store him in Europe for a few more seasons like they've done with Nikola Mirotic. He recently agreed to a contract extension to stay in Europe for at least a couple more seasons. He's 6-10 and just 20 years old.


Depending on what the Bulls front office decides to do with free agents Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin, the other direction the organization may decide to go is to draft another point guard. Here are a couple names to keep an eye on:

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Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse


The Canadian point guard had a big year for the Orange and said during the draft combine that he spoke to the Bulls about playing alongside Derrick Rose.

"I know they always have a lot of point guards on the roster," Ennis said. "Whether that's this year when they have three with Derrick Rose getting hurt, so I know they're not against it. I can say that. Whether they're moving forward and that's something they want to do (I don't know), but that's something they've done in the past. They've been a team that's competed for a championship year in, year out so I don't see why they'd go away from it."

Ennis only had one year at Syracuse, but he seems much more polished than former first-round pick Marquis Teague, whom the Bulls selected in the 2012 draft.

Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut


He fits the mold of the type of player the Bulls usually go after in the draft. He's a hard-nosed player who comes from a solid program in Connecticut. He's also a winner, having led the Huskies to a national title last season. He knows how to lead a team and could learn behind Rose.

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