And now comes the future for the Bulls.
With the trade of Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks Wednesday, the Bulls continue on the path to reshaping their team and the way they play.
So what to do in the draft?
They did add two guards in Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, and a center in Robin Lopez, two of the biggest position needs. So it’s probably back again to that best player available mantra.
And who exactly might be available? Here’s one look at a possible first round:
- 1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, LSU, forward, 6-10, 240. Considered the skill guy of the draft. He was promoted coming into college as the next LeBron, but obviously none are. A lack of a jump shot is worrisome. The 76ers, though, want to add a veteran and still could move the pick. There were rumors of a multiteam deal involving Blake Griffin.
- 2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, Duke, forward, 6-9, 190. Considered to have more all around skills and better shooting than Simmons as both are probably wing, small forwards. If the Lakers hang onto the pick that’s an awfully young team and tough to come in to be the guy replacing Kobe.
- 3. Boston Celtics: Kris Dunn, Providence, guard, 6-4, 220. This was where the draft was to start with Simmons and Ingram figured the top two picks. He’s considered the top point guard in the draft, though the Celtics have a bunch of guards. But given they have so many picks and players at similar positions there always can be deals. They’ll be looking.
- 4. Phoenix Suns: Marquese Chriss, Washington, forward, 6-9, 235. He’s been the riser in this draft. There’s always one who moves up with workouts and play. He’s athletic with that so called high ceiling that pros like in top five picks meaning potential stardom.
- 5. Minnesota Timberwolves:Jamal Murray, Kentucky, guard, 6-5, 205. It’s Tom Thibodeau’s first pick, and you know he wants a veteran. This is a rare draft, which perhaps reveals how the pros think about the talent, that virtually every team in the top 10 has been trying to trade the pick. With his young team, Thibodeau also likely wants a veteran like Boston and probably Philadelphia. Murray’s probably more shooting guard, but also can play some point guard and a good shooter.
- 6. New Orleans Pelicans: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma ,guard, 6-4, 215. Considered the best shooter in the draft, though not exactly Reggie Miller or Ray Allen. Not much handling the ball, but after enduring Eric Gordon maybe they just need health. And someone to get the defense off Anthony Davis.
- 7. Denver Nuggets: Dragan Bender, Croatia, forward, 7-0, 220. They’ve got three firsts, so they’ve been another team with a surplus of young players to be looking for a veteran and have had Kenneth Faried available in trade. Though Bender isn’t quite Toni Kukoc, he has a lot of those qualities with shooting and ballhanding.
- 8. Sacramento Kings: Jaylen Brown, California, forward, 6-7, 225. A physical wing player who has drawn comparisons form Stanley Johnson to Jason Richardson to Jimmy Butler. If only. Will give them a reason to move Rudy Gay. The top eight picks are pretty set if not in this exact order.
- 9. Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl, Utah, center, 7-0, 250. This is where this draft is said to start with the next eight or nine picks said to be in play for deals. Executives Wednesday night were saying they expected a lot of trades after the top eight picks. With Bismack Biyombo having a big playoff series, he’s probably driven his price up and they may let him go with contracts coming up for DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. So take a big man.
- 10. Milwaukee Bucks: Henry Ellenson, Marquette, forward, 6-11, 245. Perhaps too easy in that he’s a local guy. But a big man who works hard, hustles and can make plays and will continue to give them impressive, active size.
- 11. Orlando Magic: Domatas Sabonis, Gonzaga, center, 6-10, 230. Skilled big man and son of Arvydas. They’re another team desperate for a veteran and could be lining up a pick to add with one of their players for a trade. Sort of best player available.
- 12. Atlanta Hawks: Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, center, 7-0, 215. I keep hearing he’s talented, but looks like a long term project to me. But, hey, they’re the experts. The Hawks traded Jeff Teague for this pick in a three-team deal with Teague to Indiana in a good deal for them. Atlanta also had 21 and the speculation was they would move up with two picks and a player. Sounds like a lot. Can they resign Al Horford? Are they rebuilding?
- 13. Phoenix Suns: Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey, guard, 6-7, 185. Perhaps not a pure shooter, but a perimeter shooter, which is a need. Their second first rounder and always a chance to have European players stay overseas and develop.
- 14. Chicago Bulls: Dejounte Murray, Washington, guard, 6-5, 170. I haven’t seen him listed this high in many mock drafts and have no idea whom the Bulls want. Most mock drafts and executives guess Wade Baldwin, the point guard, though the Bulls just added two point guards in the Derrick Rose trade. This Murray has a lot of flash to him that can help liven up a Bulls team with several limited wing players.
- 15. Denver Nuggets: Timothe Luwawu, France, guard, 6-7, 200. An international player who’s played more. Not so much the shooter, but a strong defender and athletic. The second of their three picks and likely in play as well.
- 16. Boston Celtics: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, guard, 6-6, 210. A ready to play guy with a good feel for the game. If the Celtics can’t pull off the big—or little—deals they’ve been seeking they could go for the smart player.
- 17. Memphis Grizzlies: Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt, guard, 6-4, 200. Probably in some sort of rebuilding mode as well with Mike Conley a free agent. Baldwin is from the state and though perhaps not a classic point guard, the next best to Dunn in this draft.
- 18. Detroit Pistons: Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, forward, 6-11, 240. They’ve for their starting five and need to begin building their bench with a state player. Izzo told them all about Draymond Green.
- 19. Denver Nuggets: Ivica Zubac, Croatia, center, 7-1, 265. Their third pick and if they haven’t been able to trade it even with all their centers, one of whom they’re trying to deal, they’ll need to pick someone to stay overseas.
- 20. Indiana Pacers: Malachi Richardson, Syracuse, guard, 6-6, 200. They enhanced their backcourt with the trade for Indianapolis’ Jeff Teague and could always add shooting.
- 21. Atlanta Hawks: Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame, guard, 6-1, 190. After trading Jeff Teague as they’ve wanted to move up Dennis Schroeder they could use a backup point.
- 22. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Beasley, Florida State, guard, 6-5, 190. They’ve adopted the three-point shooting route and could lose free agent Jeremy Lin and may want a guard.
- 23. Boston Celtics Thon Maker, Australia, center, 7-1, 215. With multiple picks who knows. Always worth it to take a flier on a player who has potential if who knows when.
- 24. Philadelphia 76ers. Juan Hernangomez, Spain, forward, 6-9, 225. The 76ers have way too many young players and too many low first round picks with needs for veterans. Lower in the first round teams like to select overseas players to have them remain out of the NBA for development.
- 25. Los Angeles Clippers: Taurean Prince, Baylor, forward, 6-8, 220. A senior player so a better chance to fill in a bit at least off the bench and improve some depth.
- 26. Philadelphia 76ers: Damian Jones, Vanderbilt, center, 7-0, 245. Yes, they have plenty of big guys. He was injured and had pectoral surgery and could be out six months so time to fill in.
- 27. Toronto Raptors: Diamond Stone, Maryland, center, 6-10, 250. Another big man to take a look at with Biyombo likely out.
- 28. Phoenix Suns: Cheick Diallo, Kansas, forward, 6-9, 220. Didn’t play much in college, but impressed executives at the Chicago draft camp with his hustle at his size. Worth a look.
- 29. San Antonio Spurs: Brice Johnson, North Carolina, forward, 6-10, 210. Probably a bit smaller than listed. An athlete with that Antawn Jamison shot.
- 30. Golden State Warriors: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky, guard, 5-10, 150 Small, but everyone raves about his toughness and playmaking and they make things work in their system.