The Chicago Bulls have been scouting center and shooting guard prospects during the NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago. However, the bulls draft targets should’t include a big man. They’ve positioned themselves to potentially land an impact rotational player, that can play alongside Derrick Rose in the backcourt.
The Bulls don’t have the salary cap space to sign an effective shooting guard to help boost an anemic offense. Heck, they probably don’t have enough money to bring back Italian sharpshooter Marco Bellineli. But GM Gar Forman should be able to sign a veteran backup center to the $3 million mini-level exception Chicago has to offer. Therefore, there’s no need for the Bulls draft strategy to revolve around a center when they can land one like Samuel Dalembert via free agency. Moving on, here’s a list of five potential shooting guards the Bulls should consider drafting on June 27.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Forman and the front office have been known to draft players from winning programs, e.g. Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague. Trey Burke and Hardaway Jr. made up the most explosive backcourt in the country last season in route to leading the Michigan Wolverines to a national title appearance. Hardaway Jr. has the athleticism, size, and shooting ability to be a solid rotational player at the next level. There’s a chance Hardaway Jr. won’t be available with the 20th overall pick due to his tremendous combine performance. The former Michigan standout made 19 of 25 threes during the combine’s 3-point shooting drill. He measured in a 6’6′ 200 pounds while posting an impressive 37.5 inch max vertical. Hardaway Jr’s shooting ability would certainly help a team that finished 29th in the NBA in 3 point field goals made during the regular season. Not to mention, he’s played alongside a superstar in college, so Hardaway’s familiar with playing off the ball while sharing the offensive workload.
Glen Rice Jr.
Glen Rice Jr. played this past season in the NBA’s Developmental League. A few run-ins with the law during his sophomore year at Georgia Tech cost the former Yellow Jacket his athletic scholarship, so he opted to play in the D-League. Rice didn’t stand out until the D-League’s postseason, where he led his team on a championship run by averaging 25 points 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. I know it’s only the D-league, but nonetheless it’s impressive. Rice was tabbed as a “point-forward” during his brief stint with the Yellow Jackets. His three-point shooting and athleticism in transition stand out when evaluating his overall skill level. Rice has a pretty shooting stroke, just like his dad, and an eye-opening 40.5 inch max vertical. The Marietta, GA native has some maturing to do before he’s ready for NBA competition. Rice is a talented player with a troubled past that has potential to be an above average starter in this league, he just needs a demanding coach who’ll push him to be great. Is there a man more suited for the job than Tom Thibodeau? I doubt it.
Franklin’s explosiveness seperated him from most collegiate athletes during his time at San Diego State. The former Aztec is more than capable of being a solid rotational player at the next level, but his skills need polishing. Franklin has the ability to drive and make plays at the rim in transition, but his shooting is inconsistent to say the least. Franklin’s reliance on his athleticism won’t translate to NBA success; Tyrus Thomas is a good example of a gifted athlete who, for whatever reason, failed to take his game to the next level. The jury is out about whether or not Franklin can make the leap to the NBA. He’s more of a project player that probably won’t see major minutes under Thibodeau next season if the Bulls select him next Thursday. Potential is there but the NBA readiness is not. I think Chicago passes on Franklin for that reason.
Snell might be the best pure shooter in the 2013 draft class. The former New Mexico standout has great height for a shooting guard – 6’7 – but he needs to fill out his lanky 198 pound frame. He only managed 7 reps benching 185 pounds, I can do that and I’m nowhere near a NBA caliber athlete. Snell has unlimited range and Lobo’s stud excels in catch and shoot situations – Derrick Rose would love that. He’s also an above average ball handler and defender, which is a must for any player who wants to be apart of the Bulls organization. Snell’s aggressiveness and desire to play the game has been questioned during the pre-draft process. The Riverside, CA product can be passive and/or tentative at various times over the course of a game. Snell needs a coach that’ll light a fire under his butt in order to motivate him to give it his all on every possession. Again. Thibodeau.
This last player is more of a project. Ledo didn’t play a second of college basketball after eligibility issues surfaced at Providence. But make no mistake about it, this kid’s got game. He was the 20th rated recruit in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2012. Ledo’s offenive talent is undeniable. He’s an extremely skilled ballhandler for someone his size – 6’6 197 pounds – allowing him to get to any spot he wants on the court. The Barrington, RI native has a nice combination of size and athleticism to be an impact two-guard in the NBA. He’s not necessarily an explosive leaper, but he possesses enough jumping ability to be an effective NBA player. Ledo needs to bulk up while working on his defensive fundamentals, but this guy is oozing with potential. Ledo’s troubled past may cause some teams to pass on him, but I think Chicago should take a long hard look at this kid if he’s available with the 20th pick. He would probably be a project player, considering Thibodeau rarely uses rookies in rotation. Ledo likely isn’t the front office’s top target, but they’ll consider taking him if Hardaway Jr. and Rice Jr. are off the board.
The Chicago Bulls draft pick needs to add some offensive firepower to the lineup in 2013. Rose can’t be the Bulls only perimeter threat if they want to contend for a championship. Drafting a center would be a boring “turn off my TV, it’s time to go to bed” type of pick. Jimmy Butler showed he can play shooting guard at a high-level last season. He’ll presumably be in the starting lineup next year so Chicago should be looking for a back-up option. They can’t afford to sign an impact shooting guard during free agency, so drafting one is their best bet.