Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood
June, 24, 2014
By Nick Friedell
Kevin 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.
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:
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.
May, 16, 2014
By Nick Friedell
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesDoug McDermott said he's talked to Kyle Korver, a former Creighton star, about his time in Chicago.CHICAGO -- Doug McDermott fits the mold of the type of player the Chicago Bulls always look for in the draft. He played four years at Creighton -- earning consensus All-America honors his final three -- while knocking down jumper after jumper for the Bluejays. As he spoke Thursday during the NBA draft combine, it was easy to understand why there appears to be interest on both sides.
"I think I'd fit in great," McDermott said. "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."
McDermott, who is represented by Chicago-based agent Mark Bartelstein, has been training in Chicago while he gets ready for the June 26 draft. He already has a comfort level with the Bulls front office.
"I went to a Bulls game against the Wizards, so I'm really familiar with them," he said. "I'm pretty familiar with their front office. 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."
McDermott said he seeks advice from former Creighton star Kyle Korver as he gets ready for the draft. Korver, who played for the Bulls from 2010-2012, is among a group of trusted confidants off whom McDermott bounces ideas -- and he raved about his time in Chicago.
"He loved it," McDermott said. "He loved it. He didn't want to leave. He had a great time here; he liked Coach Thibodeau and all his teammates, Joakim Noah. So he's a great resource to have when talking about teams."
Stop Bird comparisons: McDermott drew a laugh from the assembled media Thursday when asked if he had heard people comparing him to Hall of Famer Larry Bird.
"I've heard it, but they're crazy," he said. "Because there's not another Larry Bird, I don't think, in my mind. If I could do half of what Larry accomplished, I'd be just fine. It's pretty cool just to be mentioned in the same sentence as him, but there's not going to be another Larry Bird."
The comparisons between the two players grew louder in recent months after McDermott, who won several national player of the year awards for the 2013-14 season, appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover in the same pose with two cheerleaders that Bird made famous while he was at Indiana State. Despite trying to back away from the comparisons, McDermott admitted he still watches tape of Bird before every game he plays.
"I watch Larry Bird highlights before every game," he said. "That was kind of my routine. I wasn't old enough to really watch him growing up, but my dad was, my grandpa was. So I know a lot about Larry just growing up, studying his game."
The last word: Duke prospect Rodney Hood said he was scheduled to meet Friday with the Bulls. As with McDermott, he believes he could fit in right away.
"Most definitely," Hood said. "Especially with Derrick coming back, being able to push the ball and find shooters, I think that's something they lacked this year and I can come in right away and knock down shots for them."