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Chicago Bulls | Draft Central 2009

Chicago Bulls | Draft Central 2009

NBA Draft 2009: Bulls select Wake Forest's James Johnson at 16 and USC's Taj Gibson at 26

Bulls introduce draft picks Johnson and Gibson

The Bulls held a press conference to introduce James Johnson and Taj Gibson, the team’s first round draft picks, on June 29 in the Chicago Stadium Club on the Lexus Club Level of the United Center.

Listen as James Johnson and Taj Gibson meet the media (06.29.09):

Audio: Gar Forman and Vinny Del Negro discuss the draft speaker icon (06.25.09)
Player Profile: James Johnson (No.16) | Story
Player Profile: Taj Gibson (No. 26) | Story
First round pick-by-pick analysis from Sam Smith
Pre-Draft Interview: Johnson could be quick enough to play the three
NBA.com: Draft 2009 coverage--picks, video and more
Bulls to compete in 2009 NBA Summer League
Sam Smith's mock draft: Narrowing down the field
GM Forman expects Bulls to have plenty of options on draft night
Pre-draft workouts at the Berto Center

June 25, 2009 – The Chicago Bulls selected James Johnson, a 6-9, 245 pound forward from Wake Forest with the 16th pick in NBA Draft 2009. Later in the evening, with the 26th overall selection, the Bulls drafted Taj Gibson, a 6-9, 225 pound forward from USC.

As a sophomore at Wake Forest, Johnson averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as the Demon Deacons went 24-7. He became the third player in Wake Forest history to leave early for the NBA, joining Rodney Rogers in 1993 and Chris Paul in 2005.

As a junior at USC, Gibson averaged 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 60.1 percent from the field. He earned All-Conference Second Team honors, while also being named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

"If I’m available at 16 and they want me, I would love to play here," Johnson told Bulls.com following his pre-draft workout on June 15. "You see the six trophies and everyone’s name on the banners, like Jordan, Pippen, Paxson and Armstrong, and hopefully some day we could hang a few with James Johnson and Derrick Rose on them."

Chicago's 16th pick was the team's own first-round pick (the Bulls won a tie-breaker with the 76ers), while the Bulls acquired the 26th selection from Oklahoma City in their Feb. 19 deal that sent Thabo Sefolosha to the Thunder. The Bulls do not own a second round pick this year, as a result of their six-player trade with the Cavaliers on Feb. 21, 2008.

Johnson could be quick enough to play the three

Read Johnson's pre-draft interview: As a sophomore at Wake Forest, James Johnson averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as the Demon Deacons went 24-7. "I think I’ll be interchangeable between the two, three and four spots," he said. "I’m constantly working on my body figure, so I think I’ll be able to play any of those positions. It’s just up to the coaches. I can create my own jump shot. I love winning above all, and I can get to the rim."

Sam Smith: Bulls look at not just another guy named Johnson (06.15.09)
Chuck Swirsky goes one-on-one with Johnson (06.15.09)

Sam Smith's draft coverage at Blogs.Bulls.com:

NBA Draft 2009 is just the beginning (06.25.09)
NBA Draft: pick by pick (06.25.09)
Shaq, Vince, and the Bulls (06.25.09)
Bulls hoping to cash in on draft uncertainty (06.24.09)
Bulls bring in big men again as draft approaches (06.22.09)
Pre-draft Ask Sam special (06.19.09)
Bulls look at guards who may be in their future (06.16.09)
Bulls look at not just another guy named Johnson (06.15.09)
Bulls see Blair and Harangody and have decisions (06.10.09)
Should the Bulls move up for Gerald Henderson? (06.08.09)


NBA Draft 2009 Notes

06.25.09: Call it NBA Draft 101, as you’ll find all the basics of this year’s two round, 60-selection draft. From the Bulls’ draft history to the green room attendees to all the miscellaneous notes you can handle, it’s all here.


Mock draft: Narrowing down the field

06.25.09: In his mock draft, Sam Smith predicted the Bulls would wind up taking UNC's Tyler Hansbrough at 16 and USC's Taj Gibson at 26. Of course, that was unless three or four other players slipped through the cracks and fell to the mid-first round. And then if there's a trade...


Rewriting NBA Draft History

06.23.09: The NBA Draft is one of the most second-guessed events in sports because it is so inexact. Sam Smith takes a look at the last 10 drafts and rerates each of them, essentially stepping back in history and rewriting the books. What would you do today if you had the chance to re-draft?


Forman expects Bulls to have plenty of options

06.22.09: Meeting with the media for the last time before Thursday's draft, GM Gar Forman did little to tip his hand on what the Bulls might do with the 16th and 26th picks. "We feel pretty optimistic that if we stay at 16, we can get a good, productive player, a guy that can play a role for us."


Sam Smith: Head of the Class

06.19.09: Yes, the Bulls landed the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan, thanks to the NBA Draft. But despite scoring the man who for most Bulls fans defines the team — and whose statue greets hundreds of thousands of United Center visitors each season — the NBA Draft really hasn’t been much of a friend to the franchise. Here’s a look at the top 10 Bulls Drafts in history...


Pre-draft interviews with the prospects:
Jeff Teague | Eric Maynor | James Johnson | Wayne Ellington
DeJuan Blair | Gerald Henderson | Chase Budinger | NBA Draft Combine


Point guard Teague packs scoring punch

06.18.09: As a sophomore at Wake Forest, Jeff Teague averaged 18.8 points, 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game as the Demon Deacons finished with a mark of 24-7. "Everybody knows I can score the basketball; I did that pretty well in college," he said. "But I really don’t get an opportunity to be a pure point guard and run a team because you can’t play five-on-five in these workouts. That’s my biggest thing I’m trying to show."


Maynor ready to take his best shot at the next level

06.17.09: As a senior at Virginia Commonwealth, Eric Maynor averaged 22.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game as the Rams finished with a mark of 24-10. "Obviously you’ve got Derrick Rose at the point guard, but they’re a real young team. They also like to play two point guards sometimes. If I’m selected by the Bulls, I’ll come in here, give it my all, and hopefully try to help these guys take it to the next level."



Ellington hopes to carry over collegiate success

06.15.09: As a junior, Wayne Ellington helped lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to the national championship. He earned All-Tournament Team honors and was named NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player. "In the tournament, I just got into the zone. It was March, and I turned it up and was able to help my team a lot. I made some shots down the stretch and wound up as the MVP."


Blair's strength, energy make up
for his 'lack' of size


06.11.09: As a sophomore at Pitt, DeJuan Blair averaged 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game; also claimed consensus first team All-American honors from the AP and The Sporting News. "I really don’t worry about my size," said Blair. "You can’t control that. You’ve just got to go out there and play with what you’ve got. My wingspan helps me make up for it and because of that rebounding is my biggest strength."


Henderson's athleticism gives him a boost

06.08.09: As a junior at Duke, Gerald Henderson was a first team All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament team selection while helping the Blue Devils to a 30-7 record, including the program’s 11th ACC Championship and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. "I’ve worked hard to get to this point and I’ve tried to become a very versatile player," said Henderson. "I just go through the drills or whatever they have us doing and show them I what I can do."


Budinger hopes his size leads to the chase

06.08.09: As a 6-foot-7 junior at Arizona, Chase Budinger posted averages of 18.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He finished his collegiate career with 1,697 points, a figure that ranks 11th on the Wildcats’ career scoring list. "A lot of my athletic and jumping ability came from playing volleyball," said Budinger. "It helped my vision too because there is so much peripheral vision involved with volleyball."


NBA Draft Combine | May 28-29, 2009

Approximately 50 draft prospects were on hand in Chicago to participate in the 2009 NBA Draft Combine on May 28-29. Bulls.com and Chuck Swirsky were there to meet the NBA’s next generation of players, including consensus lottery picks Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Jordan Hill and Stephen Curry.