By David Schuster–
(CBS) The NBA Draft is two weeks from today, and this is the time of the year when the various media outlets change their mock draft projections on a daily basis. I’m not going to delve into that realm, because other than top three teams, the rest of the first round looks to be a crapshoot. Plus, we’re more interested in what the Bulls will do with the No. 22 selection.
I’ve spent a great deal of time lately at the Advocate Center, and I’ve seen a host of players come in for workouts. The Bulls are unsure who will be available when they’ll be on the clock, but they do have some preferences as far as what positions they would like to fill. With new coach Fred Hoiberg already stating that he intends to speed up the offense and run more, the Bulls will put a premium on guards and wings who can get up and down the floor.
Yes, they still have Derrick Rose and he’s not going anywhere, but they want a young backup at that position because Rose was limited in 2014-’15 and is only under contract for two more years. Preferably, they want a point guard with size. If you look at Chicago’s backups over the last few years, they’ve provided scoring punch but have hurt the team defensively, be it Nate Robins, D.J. Augustin or Aaron Brooks. They were all fun to watch in the regular season, but come playoff time they were all picked on by the opposing teams and their weaknesses were exposed.
Fortunately for the Bulls, this year’s draft has an influx of point guards who should be available between picks 15-25, and some of them have the size the Bulls will be looking for. Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant is a 6-foot-5 fearless guard who has excelled at the end of games by taking big shots and who also plays capable defense. The Bulls like that Grant’s also a four-year college player who has NBA bloodlines, with his father, Harvey, and uncle, Horace, playing in the league.
Another big point guard who could be available is Delon Wright from Utah. At 6-foot-5, Wright also has the size the Bulls will be looking for and is known as an unselfish player who plays exceptional defense. Entering the draft after a standout freshman year at UNLV, the 6-foot-5 Rashad Vaughn also fits in the taller guard range, but he didn’t handle the ball a lot in college, making him a gamble if point guard is what Chicago wants.
And then there’s Tyus Jones, who could also be there at No. 22 after playing one season at Duke. Jones is an intriguing prospect who could really blossom at the pro level, but he’s only 6-foot-1, and the guess is that the Bulls will shy away because of his size.
If the Bulls do draft a big guard, it will then be interesting to see what they could do with some versatile units. A big guard paired with Derrick Rose in the backcourt for stretches could allow the Bulls to move Jimmy Butler to the small forward position, giving Hoiberg the small lineup that he may favor for his running attack.
Still, more roster questions center around guards Kirk Hinrich and Tony Snell. Hinrich is obviously at the end of his career but does have a player option on his contract that he will likely exercise this summer. Snell has flashed potential and inconsistency as well, and his future would be murky if Chicago adds another guard.
The Bulls could always use help in the frontcourt too, with Pau Gasol turning 35 in July and Joakim Noah coming off a hobbled and poor season. But the educated guess is that the Bulls will look to fortify their backcourt first, and if they get the pick right, they should find a contributor.
David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and weekend host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.