(CBS) — The Bulls made their first big move of the offseason Thursday night during the NBA Draft, acquiring Creighton forward and scoring whiz Doug McDermott via trade from the Nuggets.
Chicago sent its No. 16 and No. 19 picks in this draft and its 2015 second-round pick to Denver to nab McDermott, the consensus national player of the year last season, and reserve power forward Anthony Randolph. With those picks, the Nuggets acquired Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic at No. 16 and Michigan State shooting guard Gary Harris at No. 19.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound McDermott projects as a small forward, and whatever his role, he figures to provide an instant injection of offense for a Chicago team that was last in the league in scoring last season. McDermott averaged 26.7 points on nearly 53 percent shooting as a senior, and he’s the fifth all-time leading scorer in NCAA history.
McDermott also shot nearly 46 percent from 3-point land in his college career, and he was widely regarded as having the best all-around offensive game in college. He doesn’t figure to be a plus defender at the NBA level soon, but that’s also not what the Bulls drafted him for. Also, such troubles can be mitigated with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah on the back line.
McDermott is a native of Ames, Iowa, where Bulls general manager Gar Forman served as an Iowa State assistant.
By trading their two first-round picks to acquire McDermott, the Bulls avoided having to add two rookie-scale contracts. That will save them about $350,000, the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson reported, and every little bit could matter in the chase for free agent Carmelo Anthony.
The newly acquired Randolph is set to make $1.8 million next season in the final year of his contract.
The acquisition of McDermott could also give the Bulls the flexibility and less worry about moving Mike Dunleavy in a potential sign-and-trade with the Knicks or another team. Dunleavy was a solid — and needed — contributor last season who plays the same position as McDermott.
The Bulls still hold the No. 49 overall pick in the second round tonight.