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Bulls Draft Central 2011

With the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Bulls selected Jimmy Butler, a 6-7, 220 pound guard/forward who played three seasons at Marquette. An official announcement regarding Chicago's other addition will be made on Friday.

Audio—Bulls draft pick Jimmy Butler on being selected by Chicago (06.23.2011):

Audio—Bulls General Manager Gar Forman discusses the 2011 NBA Draft (06.23.2011):

Bulls select Marquette's Jimmy Butler at No. 30

With the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Jimmy Butler, a 6-7, 220 pound guard/forward who played three seasons at Marquette.

When he spoke to reporters over the phone on Thursday, he called being drafted by the Bulls a dream come true and talked about defense as one of his calling cards, mentioning the challenge of facing players such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade early in his comments.

“I’m going to be a pest,” promised Butler. “I’m going to take up everybody’s space and make them work for every little thing. That’s where everything is going to go for me. If I want to get out there, it’s going to be out there on the defensive end getting stops and chasing down rebounds.”

Butler also said he is working on his outside shot with the hopes of helping the Bulls spread the floor. But he kept going back to his defense, saying he has the mentality in which he takes it personally when opponents score on him and looking forward to playing for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

His coach at Marquette, Buzz Williams, was quoted as saying Butler is the smartest player he’s ever coached in his NBA.com profile.

“Being able to have switchables, I've always believed in,” said Williams of Butler. “But being able to have the switchable that's as intelligent as Jimmy has kind of turned the tide for us, because it allows us to hide some of our deficiencies, but it also allows us to enhance some of the things that I think that we do well. And it allows our guys probably to have more of a defined niche defensively because of Jimmy's ability to adapt to whatever it is that we're doing. Somebody used the word linchpin. I think that's a really good word, because that's kind of what he is.”

Butler earned honorable-mention All-Big East honors for the second straight season after finishing second on his team in scoring and rebounding and helping lead the Golden Eagles to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

He carried his solid play into the Portsmouth Invitational, where was chosen the MVP. Butler averaged 18.7 points in three PIT games and was 20-of-31 (.621) from the field and 18-of-18 from the free-throw line.

According to Butler’s draft profile on NBA.com, “Butler is projected as a shooting guard/small forward, and if he sticks on an NBA roster, it'll be because of his ability, and willingness, to defend. He guarded all five positions at various times during his college career, and though that won’t happen in the NBA, he has the potential to be a lockdown guy on all three perimeter spots. He jousted against the likes of super-quick points Kemba Walker and Tu Holloway in college and did an effective job.”

>> Sam Smith's pick by pick analysis of the first round
>> Forman and Bulls prepared to use first round picks
>> NBA.com: Draft 2011 | Prospects | Bulls team overview
>> BullsConnect: Join other fans and discuss what the Bulls should do

Sam Smith's mock draft: Irving at No. 1

Sam Smith (06.23.2011): Duke’s Kyrie Irving appears like he’ll be the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Unless, he isn’t, of course.

Actually, it does seem the top two picks are set, as Irving seems finally to be the Cavaliers' choice. The Timberwolves with the No. 2 pick seem like they can’t make a deal that satisfies them and likely will select Arizona’s Derrick Williams.

While there have been a large number of top players rumored in potential trades, like Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Richard Jefferson, Steve Nash, Paul Millsap and Josh Smith, there may not be many significant deals. That’s because the NBA reportedly is warning teams that the new collective bargaining agreement could vastly change the financial landscape. It seems to be having something of a chilling effect on potential big trades.

>> Sam Smith's mock draft

Trade talks increase as NBA Draft approaches

Sam Smith (06.22.2011): I don’t see the Bulls doing anything significant at this season’s NBA Draft Thursday, although it could be a day of trades that overwhelms a rather ordinary draft.

It’s difficult to sort reality from fantasy during trading times, because an offer by one team doesn’t mean another has the slightest interest.

Like the rumors about a Paul Gasol trade for the Timberwolves No. 2 pick and Kevin Love. I’m sure the Lakers would have proposed that, and just because Minnesota has made some questionable moves before, the presumption—apparently by the Lakers—was they’d do so again. You know, once stupid, always stupid. It’s true the Timberwolves would like to add a veteran, though in the end, I believe they end up taking Arizona forward Derrick Williams after the Cavs select Duke guard Kyrie Irving No. 1 overall. Irving apparently clinched the spot after Williams’ final workout with the Cavs was a huge bust.

Kia NBA Draft 2011 logo

Love at this time may actually be more valuable than Gasol, who as a half court center/forward doesn’t even fit the Timberwolves stated strategy since they have said with Ricky Rubio they have to be an uptempo, running team.

But the Timberwolves have been inviting offers for the No. 2 selection, though supposedly asking way too much.

With rumors the Lakers were willing to move Gasol, who was part of two championship teams, came reports the Spurs would deal Tony Parker... continue reading.

Forman and Bulls prepared to use first round picks

06.21.2011: Though realistic about the chances of landing an impact player late in the NBA Draft’s first round—or even a contributing role player on a championship contending team, for that matter—Bulls General Manager Gar Forman knows it can happen and is confident in the job his team has done to this point.

“Any draft, we’ve spent years studying guys—not only on the floor, but getting background information, which is very important to how we make selections,” said Forman on Tuesday at the Berto Center. “Our feeling is that at the back end of the draft, there are going to be some good players for us.”

Given Chicago landed Taj Gibson with the 26th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, the hope is there that another quality player—or two—could be had. The Bulls currently own three picks in Thursday’s draft—28 and 30 in the first round and 43 in the second.

“If you study the draft over the years with those late picks at 28 and 30, more times than not, it’s not going to be an impact guy,” said Forman. “We hope we can get a guy that can make an impact, but even if he doesn’t, we want to get somebody who fits us and in two or three years will have a chance to be a rotation guy.”

Forman said his staff has identified a group of 20 players who they believe will be off the board by the time they are on the clock with the 28th pick. His job is to find a player from the next group of available draftees who will not only be serviceable at the NBA level, but mesh well with the Bulls’ roster.

“We want to get guys who fit with the guys we have,” stated Forman. “We’ve got guys who are workers, guys that have been a part of winning, and guys that will accept roles. That’s where a lot of our digging comes in. In any draft, when you’re analyzing a player, you look at risk-reward ratio. If we feel there’s a very talented player we have to work within a certain area, we might make a decision to do that. Those are things we’re always discussing. More times than not, we’re going to go with makeup and character.” >> Full story

Sam Smith looks at the Bulls' draft options

Sam Smith (06.21.2011): If the question is what will the Bulls do Thursday in the NBA Draft, I’d have to admit I don’t know. But if the question is what should the Bulls do, then I have plenty of answers.

The Bulls most pressing need, as everyone knows, is a shooting guard. It’s not likely you’re going to get a shooting guard with the 28th or 30th pick in the first round, which the Bulls have, who will be good enough to start for a team that has to have championship aspirations.

Take a look back at the conference finals and NBA Finals and see how many rookies or second year guys were playing. Heck, Dallas had a virtual geriatric lineup. As Phil Jackson always said when he rejected the rookies Jerry Krause was picking, “You win with men.”

Which is also not to say there are not players at the bottom of the first round who can play in your rotation next season. Taj Gibson at No. 26 fit in and did become a starter, though it’s still not likely his role.

So one element for a team like the Bulls is maturity and experience. I’d be reluctant to select anyone who hasn’t been in college at least three or four years. You may not be getting a starter. But you will need players for your rotation in the next few years. And you want players who know how to play. Not developmental projects... continue reading.

Sam Smith analyzes the 2011 NBA Draft

Sam Smith (06.20.2011): With the No. 1 pick in Thursday's NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers... aren't quite sure yet.

Which is what happens when you have an NBA draft lacking great star talent. The general consensus is it's a decent draft, though without many great impact players. So you may find the best players coming after the top two or three, like in 2005 when Deron Williams and Chris Paul followed Marvin Williams.

So then it comes down to intrigue, and there is plenty of interesting feints, fakes and fear of failure going on among the top teams in this draft.

When the Cavs moved up to No. 1 with the pick they got from the Clippers on the Baron Davis deal, it was widely assumed they'd take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. There, however, seems to have been an internal split in the organization about whether to take Irving, Arizona's Derrick Williams or Turkish center Enes Kanter... continue reading.

Draft news & notes

>> Sam Smith: Looking at the Bulls' draft options
>> Sam Smith: Decent draft, though without many great impact players
>> Sam Smith: What will Cleveland do at No. 1?
>> Sam Smith: Building a contender in a not so great draft
>> Sam Smith: Duke’s Irving appears to be lottery prize