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Tony Snell another example of Bulls picking right

Bulls forward Tony Snell (right looking pass around Magic’s E’Twaun Moore Wednesday Orlando) has made an impressiwith his attitude. |

Bulls forward Tony Snell (right, looking to pass around the Magic’s E’Twaun Moore on Wednesday in Orlando) has made an impression with his attitude. | John Raoux/AP

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Updated: February 20, 2014 6:35AM



Selecting Derrick Rose first overall in the 2008 NBA draft was a no-brainer. Rose was a standout at Memphis, the hometown kid and had ‘‘future face of the franchise’’ written all over him.

But general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson have steadily shown they don’t need lottery picks to nail down NBA talent. As a matter of fact, since the Rose draft, the Bulls have been one of the better drafting teams in the NBA in the second half of the first round.

In 2009, they grabbed forward/center Taj Gibson with the 26th pick. In 2011, it was guard Jimmy Butler with the 30th pick, as well as grabbing the rights to Nikola Mirotic in a trade with the Houston Rockets. And last season it was Tony Snell with the 20th pick.

Marquis Teague was the 29th pick in 2012, and while the Bulls traded the second-year point guard out of Kentucky to the Nets, the ’12 draft has shown to be very thin in talent from top to bottom so far.

As for Snell, while teammates’ injuries might have accelerated his playing time, he has the makings of a solid rotation player, potentially climbing to a starting role depending on which way the roster goes the next few seasons.

‘‘I’ve loved his attitude from the day he got here,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday. ‘‘The game’s important to him. He studies — every day he comes in. No matter what happened the day before, he has the same approach. That’s really the first part of becoming a pro, is to get the attitude and the approach correct, and he’s gotten that. He’s a great worker. I think he’s learning, and as time goes on, he’ll get better and better.’’

Player of the week

Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies. Conley always has shown flashes of playing like an elite point guard, but he’s finally showing some consistency. He led the Grizzlies in scoring in three of their four straight wins entering the weekend, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists over his last five games.

Team of the week

San Antonio Spurs. Sure, they’re old, but all they do is win games. They entered the weekend winners of nine of their last 10, again sitting atop the Western Conference.

The big five

1. Miami Heat. 2. Indiana Pacers. 3. Spurs. 4. Portland Trail Blazers. 5. Oklahoma City Thunder.

Awful for Andrew

The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks. 2. Orlando Magic. 3. Utah Jazz.

Big number

54The point disparity for the Rockets from their first-half showing Thursday against the Thunder (73 points) to their second-half showing (19 points). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the largest disparity by a team in two halves in NBA history.

Two to watch

Pacers at Golden State Warriors, 9:30 p.m. Monday. One of the best defensive teams in the league against one of the top offenses. Something has to give.

Thunder at Spurs, 7  p.m. Wednesday. The battle for supremacy in the Western Conference continues. Kevin Durant has been carrying the Thunder lately.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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