Forman and Bulls prepared to use first round picks
Audio—Bulls General Manager Gar Forman discusses the 2011 NBA Draft
with members of the media at the Berto Center (06.21.2011):
By Adam Fluck | 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.
Given Chicago landed Taj Gibson with the 26th pick in 2009, the hope is there that another quality player—or two—could be had on Thursday night.
“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.”
Forman estimated that approximately 40-50 players have visited with the Bulls at the Berto Center for predraft workouts, which involved on the court workouts, dinners with the prospects, along with athletic and physiological testing.
While Forman said some might wonder why the team brings in so many candidates for only two first round picks, the team’s goal is to be as comprehensive as possible, not just for the present time, but for the future.
“It gives us a chance to get a baseline on who guys are that may come up in the future, whether it is through a trade or free agency three, four, five years down the line,” said Forman. “This process that starts when kids are very young really never ends until they are out of the league. The more information we can get, the better.”
Forman also said that the Bulls will not likely draft with specific needs in mind. Rather, they’ll take the best player available, a drafting philosophy in which Forman called himself a “huge believer.”
“Every team in the league has certain needs,” said Forman. “When you look at needs, in my mind, there are three ways to fill them—free agency, trades, and the draft. When you’re higher up in the draft, which we’ve been in the past, if you have two guys that are tiered closer together, then you may go for need. When you’re drafting as late as we’re drafting, we're not necessarily going to go for need. We’ll go for two guys who fit the culture we created and that can be part of our rotation if not immediately, then somewhere down the road in trying to build some depth.”
In recent years, Forman and the Bulls have demonstrated favoritism for experienced college players generally from winning, traditional college programs—a list that includes Gibson most recently. Other selections from the past eight drafts that fit that profile include Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng (acquired via draft night trade), Chris Duhon, Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray.
“Obviously in the past, we’ve taken guys who have had more experience than others, a track record and a background,” acknowledged Forman. “But we’re certainly not locked into that. If we think the right guy will fit in to our culture and is the type of player that will fit in with our roster, even if it’s a young guy without much experience, we’ll certainly consider it.”
As for anyone expecting a major offseason move or roster shakeup, it’s not likely, said Forman. Coming off a 62-win season and Eastern Conference Finals appearance, he likes the foundation that has been established and feels the future is bright.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” said Forman. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress and taken some real steps as far as getting where we want to go. And we’re certainly not in a situation where we’re looking to rebuild or make drastic changes, unless we thought it was an opportunity that definitely makes us better.
“We like the nucleus of this team and again, it’s a young team that we feel still can grow together moving forward,” Forman added. “You never say never to anything, but we do feel that this team’s really got a chance to continue to improve and it’s our job to improve this team, keep the nucleus together for the most part, and then make some improvements to try and address some needs.”