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2012 NBA Draft: Who will the Bulls take at No. 29?

With the Bulls likely to keep their 29th pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, Sam Smith takes a look at some of the candidates GM Gar Forman and his staff will consider.

"A terrific shooting who has been compared to one of the classic shooters ever, Dell Curry," writes Sam Smith of Vanderbilt's John Jenkins. "Perhaps not as explosive, but with better size than Ben Gordon. Not really going to play any point as he doesn’t handle well, but a pure shooter who could space the floor eventually for Rose."
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

Sam Smith Mailbag

So just what are the Bulls going to do Thursday in the 2012 NBA Draft? With the 29th pick in the NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls… sure wish Derrick Rose were OK.

Yes, they’re making the Bulls play the 2012-13 season, anyway, and the first step comes Thursday. Will the Bulls make a major move, trading a starter like Luol Deng or Joakim Noah as a first step toward a renewal project designed around Rose’s eventual fulltime return? No, I don’t see that.

With Charlotte acquiring Ben Gordon Tuesday, it would seem they are out of the veteran acquisition business. Also in the lottery, the talk is the Kings with No. 5 want to deal, but they want to unload salary rather than take on big contracts. The Warriors with No. 7 want to deal, but you have to take their unproductive, high salaried players like Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson or Dorell Wright. Good luck with that. The Raptors at No. 8 are said to be looking to make a deal that would help them recruit Steve Nash in free agency. But you probably have to take Jose Calderon.

The Rockets appear obviously trying to parley their Nos. 14 and 16 picks and the No. 18 they acquired from the Timberwolves to make a deal with Orlando for Dwight Howard. And how could he not want to sign there after experiencing Houston in late summer?

Kia NBA Draft 2012

The Bobcats are said to be willing to trade back, leaving No. 2 available to another high lottery team. But in the end, it doesn’t seem likely there will be much of any movement of veterans for lottery picks. And especially now with teams growing more concerned about changes in the collective bargaining agreement that likely will drive down the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds.

So the Bulls are most likely to use their No. 29 pick in the first round. They currently have no second rounder.

With Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson, they’ll likely match any offer for restricted free agent Omer Asik. So they’ll be strong up front, and there appears a decent chance Deng will avoid surgery and be ready for the season. But the bench with Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson could take a hit. That suggests the Bulls’ greatest need is in the backcourt, a point guard to replace Rose for at least part of next season and then maybe that player able to play with Rose once he returns.

It seems unlikely you could get a rookie at the end of the first round who could step in as a starting NBA point guard. The Bulls’ best chance for a player like that would be in free agency.

At the end of the first round, and particularly in this draft, there seems a good chance to get a player who could be in the rotation. Last year’s No. 1 pick, Jimmy Butler, should get substantial playing time next season, perhaps at small forward and big guard. It would seem the Bulls’ greatest need going forward is a shooting guard and ideally a player who also can play some point guard. Since shooting guard is the deepest position in the draft, there should be a good player at the end of the first round if the Bulls choose that way. But there’s always the possibility a higher ranked player falls there and no matter the position I assume the Bulls consider the talent as well.

The Bulls have had some 50 players in for workouts, so there’s really no telling whom they are targeting.

Here’s a look at the players most likely to fall to them and who it makes sense they’d be interested in:

John Jenkins, Vanderbilt, shooting guard, 6-4 1/4, 212: A terrific shooting who has been compared to one of the classic shooters ever, Dell Curry. Perhaps not as explosive, but with better size than Ben Gordon. Not really going to play any point as he doesn’t handle well, but a pure shooter who could space the floor eventually for Rose.

Will Barton, Memphis, shooting guard, 6-6, 175: A little bit too much on the thin side, which doesn’t disqualify you. He’s more the two/three with his ability to get to the basket. Good athlete, if not great, good rebounder and hard worker. Many teams have him more a high second rounder.

Doron Lamb, Kentucky, shooting guard, 6-5 1/4, 200: A versatile offensive player who is more in the mold of the Bulls need with an ability to play some point guard in an emergency. He’s slated to go in the low to mid 20’s, but he could fall. A good shooter with a smooth game, he could also prove eventually a nice fit along with Rose.

Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt, small forward, 6-7 1/4, 213: Can also play shooting guard and defend two’s given defensive and athletic ability. He’s become a good shooter and has been likened to Wilson Chandler, who’d be a nice addition. The Bulls are said to like him as similar to St. Johns’ Moe Harkless, who won’t fall quite that far.

Draymond Green, Michigan State, power forward, 6-7 1/2, 236: Probably a bit too small for a classic four, though can rebound and make threes and is the kind of team guy the Bulls love. He’s more the three/four, perhaps like a Paul Millsap who will do more than his size suggests capable.

Kim English, Missouri, shooting guard, 6-5 3/4, 192: He’s generally projected a mid second round pick, but he is one of the top shooters in college and plays in sort of a Ray Allen mold the way he is adept at finding open space for his shot, a very underrated ability.

Marquis Teague, Kentucky, point guard, 6-2, 180: One of the scoring points who comes along these days but also a good team leader. On the thinner side like Indiana’s Darren Collison and Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, his brother.

Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure, power forward, 6-9 1/2, 234: This is one of those dream picks of a guy who would fall, which now is highly unlikely. Because he is from Canada and played in the A10, he was initially considered a marginal first rounder. But teams have loved his workout and all around game from postups to shooting.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, power forward, 6-9, 268: And what if he falls? There are questions given rumors of a back injury. A few years back DeJuan Blair was a lottery pick early who fell into the second round with knee problems. He’s turned out OK, if not lottery material. Sullinger could slide far as well, and though he plays so called below the rim, he’s a player who produces and seemingly would be a steal at the end of the first.

Jared Cunningham, Oregon State, shooting guard, 6-5, 188: Not a great long shooter, but can be the combo guard with some point guard abilities. Appealing athletic player who’ll defend, play in transition and can play some small forward as well, though a bit thin now.

Evan Fornier, France, shooting guard, 6-5, 190: Regarded as the best foreign prospect in the draft, though only 19. He’s more a guard who’ll create off the dribble than a great shot maker. Played in a high level league in France and made big plays, but still a raw talent. Maybe you pick him and let him develop another year overseas to save the salary.

Khris Middleton, Texas A&M, small forward, 6-8 1/4, 216: Versatile player with a good mid range game. He did have problems with a torn meniscus, but came back and finishing the season strong. Good overall feel for the game.

Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas, point guard, 6-4, 177: More the point guard, but can also play shooting guard with an improved shot, the exact sort of player the Bulls need now to play until Rose returns and then move alongside. Though he’s not ready to be an NBA starter. Good pushing the ball but said to be prone to mistakes.

Darius Miller, Kentucky, small forward, 6-7 1/2, 233: The sixth of the Kentucky players likely to be drafted. A solid role player whose destined for an NBA bench rotation as he can make shots and handle some and do several things to help a team.

Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt, center, 6-11 1/2, 265: A late to the game shot blocker who broke Will Perdue’s school shot blocking record. Raw skills overall, but you never have enough big guys, right? The latest in the search for the next Serge Ibaka.

Tony Wroten, Washington, point guard, 6-6, 203: Strong and powerful guard who attacks the basket in the Tyreke Evans mold. But a very poor shooter, and that got Evans demoted to three and presumably to another team soon. But someone likely will take a chance before the Bulls spot given his high talent level. It will be an interesting decision if he slips.

Scott Machado, Iona, point guard, 6-2, 206: A pure point guard who’d be an ideal eventual backup for Rose. Led the nation in assists as he sees the floor well and is a good long range shooter if not a great athlete.

The Bulls’ No. 29 pick figures to come from that group. But they do like to surprise. Here’s also a look at the various mock draft from the different media sites and their No. 29 pick for the Bulls.

It should be known these are the guesses of the authors from the sites speculating about what they believe will or might happen. Historically, the mock drafts have rarely, if ever, gotten the Bulls selection correct with even some of the major ones predicting the Bulls would take Michael Beasley even days before the Derrick Rose draft. But when you are at No. 29 not even the Bulls know who’ll drop down to them. So here’s a look from this week of the mock drafts and whom they have for the Bulls. Will Barton became the hot name for the Bulls as of Tuesday as several of the mock drafts that had John Jenkins changed.

NBA DraftnetDraymond Green
Draft ExpressWill Barton
ESPNWill Barton
(after having Jenkins for most of last two months.)
Business InsiderMarquis Teague
HoopsworldTyshawn Taylor, Marquis Teague and John Jenkins
(they had four writers making picks)
CBS SportsTyshawn Taylor and Draymond Green
(they had two making choices)
MyNBADraft.comWill Barton
NBA.comTony Wroten
InsideHoops ReportEven Fournier
NBA Draft InsiderWill Barton
Arizona RepublicJohn Jenkins
Bleacher ReportJohn Jenkins
YahooSportsOrlando Johnson
SB Nation Blog a Bull BlogOrlando Johnson
RotoworldTerrence Ross
CBS SportsTony Wroten
Sports IllustratedWill Barton
HoopsHypeJohn Jenkins
The Basketball JonesEvan Fournier
Philly.comTony Wroten

So whom should they select?

What do you think? Leave a comment below: