Bulls land 9th pick in Draft Lottery | Early-Entry Candidates
With the 9th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Joakim Noah, a 6-11, 232-pound standout and two-time national champion at the University of Florida. Noah earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2006 NCAA Tournament Final Four and was named to the All-American Second Team as a junior.
"Joakim is a proven winner," Chicago GM John Paxson said. "The guy plays hard every single night. We understand what the concerns are from an offensive standpoint. The guy is an energetic, athletic 7-footer. With his energy and enthusiasm on the floor, we think he fits in perfectly with us."
Noah, who worked out against Spencer Hawes for the Bulls on June 8, said he's thrilled to be coming to the Windy City.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling," he stated. "I’m just so fortunate right now and I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get to Chicago and I feel really blessed.”
While the former Gators star is known for his defense and all-around energy, he freely admits he needs to work on his offensive game. He averaged 14.2 ppg as a sophomore, but saw that figure dip to 12.0 ppg as a junior.
“I feel like I definitely have to improve and I have to get better," Noah added. "I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to coming to Chicago and to play with some great players and a great group of guys. It’s a great situation for me and I want to help the team win. I hate to lose.”
The Bulls also owned a pair of second round picks, taking Pittsburgh seven-footer Aaron Gray at 49 and Oklahoma State guard JamesOn Curry 51st overall.
"I think that [Curry's] selection was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NBA," said Paxson. "We feel lucky that he was still there there at 51. He has a very high skill level and is underrated in several ways. We have some expectations for him and I think he is going to be a very good player."
Paxson on the Bulls' draft options
GM John Paxson met with the media on June 25 for the final time before making his picks in the 2007 NBA Draft. Armed with the 9th selection in a deep, talented draft, he spoke about the big men who might be available late in the lottery, speculation about Chicago acquiring Kobe Bryant, free agency thoughts and more.
“Those things are so out there that it’s not worth commenting on," Paxson said of the Bryant speculation. "There’s nothing going on, that’s just the reality of it.”
Paxson also said that he agreed with the premise that it was an extremely deep draft, while conceding there is a chance the Bulls would select a player who isn't ready to make an immediate contribution.
"I know that there is a lot of pressure on us given that we made it to the second round this last year and that we have a high pick," he said. "[But] it may be a guy that’s not ready. We have a situation here where our young guys have grown and become veteran guys. Can we bring a young player into that mix and make it a successful match? I like to think that we can, and I think that’s what good teams tend to do.”
NBA Draft 2007 Prospect Profiles
Oden and Durant
While the Lottery in May was all about landing either the first or second pick, teams among the top half of this Draft need not worry as the class is as deep as it has ever been. This year’s crop of big men alone is very impressive, as six or more of the top ten picks could be 6-foot-9 or taller.
Leading the pack, of course, is Ohio State center Greg Oden and Texas forward Kevin Durant. But right behind them is a talented group that includes a trio of Gators—Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah—and another Chinese prodigy in Yi Jianlian. When will these players hear their names called on June 28? Click here now to do your homework in advance and put your mock draft together.
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Draft prospect interviews
One-on-One with Mike Conley Jr.:
The son of a world-class athlete, Mike Conley Jr. impressed scouts with his poise and maturity as a freshman point guard for the Buckeyes, leading his team to a 35-4 record. But what has really opened teams' eyes has been his off the charts athleticism. He is the proud owner of a 40 1/2 inch vertical leap and was able to bench press 185 pounds a whopping 13 times at June’s NBA Pre-Draft Camp.
One-on-One with Al Thornton:
In an era in which four-year collegiate players moving on to the NBA has become a rarity, former Florida State forward Al Thornton offers a refreshing alternative. Thornton, who was not highly recruited out of high school, capped off a stellar career in Tallahassee with AP Third-Team All-American honors as a senior. That’s a long way to come for a player who only started four of his first 59 games for Florida State.
One-on-One with Corey Brewer:
Along with one of his rivals and a pair of big men, Brewer was at the Berto Center on Monday to workout for the Bulls. Bulls.com talked with Brewer after the session about keeping tabs on his Gator teammates leading up to the June 28 draft, his defensive mentality and what he wants to improve on this summer.
One-on-One with Joakim Noah:
The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Noah will almost certainly be a lottery pick in the June 28 NBA Draft. Should he last until the 9th spot, Bulls GM John Paxson might see him as a nice piece—a long, athletic and ultra-competitive piece, no less—to help out in Chicago’s low post. Even though he won’t bring a ton of scoring to the power forward position, Noah could be one of those guys who will make an impact either way.
One-on-One with Spencer Hawes:
Hawes, a 7-foot, 230-pound freshman out of Washington, brings a strong set of fundamentals to the table despite his youth (he just turned 19). A blue-chip recruit out of Seattle, he passed on offers to play at North Carolina and UConn to stay at home. Bulls.com caught up with Hawes after his workout to discuss competing with Noah, how basketball runs in his family, and his preparation for the next level.
NBA Draft Lottery:
As a result of the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery on May 22, the Bulls claimed the No. 9 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.