Deng and Iguodala Possible Picks at Three
Duke's Luol Deng is an unselfish player who has a feel for the game and is fundamentally sound at both ends of the floor. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
With NBA Draft 2004 (6 p.m. CT | ESPN) set for tonight, Bulls.com takes one last look around the web to see what the experts are saying about what the Bulls should do with the third overall pick (and the seventh perhaps?).
It is likely that forwards Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard will be off the board after Orlando and Charlotte have had their picks. So, is Duke small forward Luol Deng the best fit for Chicago? Or should the Bulls take Arizona shooting guard Andre Iguodala? Stanford’s Josh Childress and UConn’s Ben Gordon have also reportedly turned in several good workouts for teams across the league over the last few weeks.
UPDATE: Several major media outlets are reporting that the Bulls have made a deal with the Phoenix Suns. The trade, which would not be official until tonight, will reportedly send Chicago the 7th overall pick in tonight’s Draft in exchange for one of the Bulls' second-round picks (No. 31), a conditional future first-rounder and an undisclosed sum of cash. Visit Bulls.com and Bulls Draft Central tonight for the latest on this potential trade and other Draft news.
Before last year’s Draft, most media experts thought the Bulls were set on taking either Dwyane Wade or Mickael Pietrus. As things turned out, Wade was selected by Miami with the fifth pick and Chicago general manager John Paxson passed on Pietrus at seven to take Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich went on to average 12.0 ppg, 6.8 apg, 3.4 rpg and 1.33 spg in a team-high 35.6 mpg his rookie season. His assists per game average was tops among all rookies and ranked seventh in the NBA, while he finished sixth in the league with 517 assists.
“We’re exploring everything,” Paxson stated after a pre-draft workout on June 15. “Whether we keep the pick or move the pick, there are a lot of options. You have to have a willing partner in any deal and sometimes that is difficult to do. I’m confident that we’ll come out of this draft either with a good player or a scenario that makes us a better team.”
Below are predictions and comments from various members of the media about what the Bulls will do with the third pick during NBA Draft 2004 on June 24.
Sam Smith | Chicago Tribune
No. 3: Ben Gordon
Comments: Yes, another point guard. But a tough, hard-working, good-shooting one who can play with Kirk Hinrich. Better pick than some might think. Will be able to hold off bigger guys who try to post him at shooting guard.
No. 7: Andre Iguodala
Comments: This could become Luke Jackson and then be traded to the Pacers for small forward Al Harrington. Several teams are looking to move up, so it could change. The Springfield native draws comparisons to Scottie Pippen with long arms and athletic play and may go here to someone.
Tony Mejia | SportsLine.com Staff Writer
Comments: The player the Bulls have identified as their top choice should fall right in their lap. Too bad Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler have been so erratic; if they lived up to their potential, the Bulls would be looking at the NBA's top frontcourt for the next decade.
Gregg Doyel | SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Comments: The Bulls have fallen out of love with Luol Deng, though there's still some serious like. Anyhow, Chicago goes for Arizona SG Andre Iguodala, who could be the next Scottie Pippen.
DIME: NBA mock draft 3.0
Comments: Deng just makes a lot of sense here. Jamal Crawford's scoring punch could likely be gone by next season, and the Bulls need a versatile swingman. They also don't need another high school project, having been saddled by the development of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler for three years now. But with Curry and Chandler entering the pivotal fourth year of development, the addition of Deng and his 6-foot-8 frame would make for an intimidating front line. Deng has signed with an agent and will forgo his remaining eligibility at Duke.
An unselfish player with great court vision, Arizona's Andre Iguodala can clog up anyone with his in-your-face defensive tactics. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
No. 3: Ben Gordon
Comments: Word around the league is Chicago will take Gordon here. But be careful what you believe. The Bulls fooled everyone last year when they selected Kirk Hinrich at No. 7. Could they do it again? GM John Paxson wants impact players and believes Gordon has the best chance of being one next season. How a Gordon-Hinrich backcourt will fare is anyone's guess. The Bulls also have a strong affinity for Andre Iguodala. He's a tough backcourt defender who appears, on paper, to be a better long-term fit with Hinrich.
However, there also is a lot of talk the Bulls are looking to trade this pick. Shaun Livingston also is a possibility here. Several teams have been trying to move up to get him, and the Bulls might be willing to facilitate a trade. The Pacers, Sonics, Sixers and Celtics have been aggressively pursuing a high lottery pick. The Bulls, who are in the market for veterans, are talking about scenarios that would bring Al Harrington or Paul Pierce to Chicago.
No. 7 Luke Jackson
The Bulls really like Jackson here. However, they may not be keeping this pick. The Pacers may be targeting the Bulls here in an effort to get Jackson. Larry Bird loves him, and he makes some sense in Indiana. A trade of Al Harrington for Pippen and the No. 7 works under the cap. If the Bulls keep the pick, they'll face a tough decision between Jackson and Deng or Iguodala, two guys they really like. Jackson brings the offense. Iguodala brings the defense. Deng is something in between. Depending what they do at No. 3, one may make more sense than the other.
ESPN.com's Final Mock Draft
Comments: The Bulls may trade this pick. But if they keep it won't be a surprise to see Iguodala in Chicago. He could be a Scottie Pippen clone. He's versatile and he would be a hometown favorite. His parents were holding up three fingers in NYC on Wednesday. They believe he's going No. 3, but they don't know where.
Luol Deng (or Andre Iguodala 6-6 207 SG)
Comments: A versatile player with high basketball IQ. Increased his stock with a great performance in the NCAA tournament.
Rob Reheuser | NBA.com
Comments: The Bulls also like Luol Deng, Josh Childress and Ben Gordon, and could trade down or out of the spot completely. Iguodala can play multiple positions and would form an excellent defensive backcourt with Kirk Hinrich.
Comments: The most versatile player in the draft hands down. At 6-8, 220 pounds, Deng is a physical specimen who creates plenty of match-up problems. He can bang in the post as well as step back and consistently hit the midrange jumper. Deng also handles the ball very effectively and has shown the ability to create his own shot, which is a huge asset for a player at his position.
Ray Glier | NBCSports.com contributor
Comments: Arizona wing guard has been impressive in workouts and stock has soared.
Chris Monter | SI.com
Comments: Andre Igoudala is an athletic swingman whose stock is rising after strong individual workouts, but Shaun Livingston and Luol Deng are possibilities if the Bulls keep the pick, which they are considering dealing for a veteran. The limited success the team has experienced with Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler (both drafted three years ago) might discourage them from taking Howard. The Bulls might be able to swing a deal with Atlanta, who could take local standout Howard and trade its two first-round picks, assuming the Hawks don't make a deal with the Clippers.
Sean Deveney | Sporting News
Comments: The Bulls don't seem sold on Luol Deng at No. 3, though their uncertainty may prove to be a smokescreen.
The Sports Forecaster | ChicagoSports.com
Comments: The logical choice here would be Dwight Howard. But after Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry, what are the chances the baby Bulls will take another flier on another unproven high school big man? Slim and none (with Chandler being the 'slim' and Curry's defense being the 'none'). Deng is their man, filling a gaping hole at small forward and providing the wing scoring and versatility they haven't had since Scottie Pippen was healthy.