Wait of the draft could be painful for Bulls, stuck back at 29
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org June 27, 2012 9:48PM
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls is examined after suffering an injury against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 103-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When: 6 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Newark, N.J.
Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.
Updated: July 29, 2012 5:15PM
Everybody wants to know whom the Bulls will select with the 29th pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft. There’s no right or wrong answer because the Bulls don’t know.
The New Orleans Hornets will take Chicago native Anthony Davis. The Kentucky forward was the consensus Player of the Year, with the athleticism to be dominant at the next level. After that, this draft is as unpredictable as any recent memory.
Thanks to Derrick Rose’s knee injury and the likely departures of Bench Mob stalwarts C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer, the Bulls have more needs than expected for a team with the best record in the NBA the last two regular seasons. Watching as players who could fill their pressing needs are drafted by other teams could make for an agonizing night.
‘‘We have no idea,’’ said Randy Brown, assistant to general manager Gar Forman. ‘‘We’re sitting watching paint dry watching teams make deals. We’re watching guys coming off the board we like. We don’t know if Anthony Davis is going to fall to 29. It’s nerve-racking to watch.’’
The Bulls have a best-player-available philosophy but a glaring need in the backcourt. They could use scoring punch at two-guard from a player such as Memphis’ Will Barton, Doron Lamb of Kentucky or Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins. They could select a backup point guard of the future in Kentucky’s Marquis Teague or Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor. Washington’s Tony Wroten Jr. can play both positions.
Evan Fournier could be the most intriguing of all if he can penetrate in the NBA like he has in France.
Is selecting a guard a priority?
‘‘All things equal, I would say yes,” Forman said. ‘‘If all things aren’t equal, if we feel there’s a better prospect on the board who is not in a position of need, we’ll take the better prospect.
‘‘Philosophically, we’ve always believed you take the best player. Everything we do, we want to look at a bigger window of opportunity.’’
There has been speculation that the Bulls would consider trading Luol Deng for a chance at a top-10 pick, but that seems less and less likely because there doesn’t appear to be a logical trade partner willing to let the Bulls leapfrog enough teams to grab a talent such as North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes.
With the luxury tax in mind, the last thing the Bulls want to do is to take on bad money — a likely condition in any deal.
The Bulls are expected to match any offers for backup center Omer Asik and should therefore remain deep in the frontcourt. But what if Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger freefalls to the bottom of the first round because of concerns about his back?
The Bulls are confident they will be ready for any scenario.
‘‘We’ve all been together for so long now from a personnel standpoint, we’ve got a process in place that helps us make the right decision,’’ Forman said. ‘‘I’ve always thought, whether it was recruiting or scouting, it’s easy for people on the outside [to] say, ‘Why did they do this or that?’ But until you’re on the inside, scouting is very specific to each organization and what their plan is and beliefs are. We feel we have a process in place that enables us to identify guys who can contribute to where we want to go.’’