Bulls’ Forman likes chances with two picks in 1st round
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter April 20, 2014 10:33PM
Updated: April 20, 2014 10:33PM
Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson have a history with first-round picks.
Recently, it’s a very good one.
After the no-brainer of drafting Derrick Rose with the first pick in the 2008 draft, the duo has landed Taj Gibson (2009), Jimmy Butler (2011) and Tony Snell (2013) and acquired the rights to Spanish League standout Nikola Mirotic (2011).
So having the 16th — thanks, Charlotte — and the 19th picks in the first round of a draft that could be as deep as any in the last decade have the organization excited.
“Yeah, because picks are invaluable,’’ Forman said Sunday. “You’re capable of getting a couple of players that can help your team, and under the new CBA, you’re getting guys that are locked in contractually at very reasonable contracts. So in building a team, we’ve seen that draft picks are of extreme importance.’’
Forman was waiting for all the players to finish declaring before passing judgment on how loaded this draft will be, but undoubtedly there are some possible franchise-changers at the top.
“Every year, you’ve got people speculating on whether it’s a strong draft, weak draft, whatever,’’ Forman said. “I think our philosophy has always been that there’s always opportunities in the draft, and it’s our job to find guys that fit our culture, our team, our organization. With two picks in the top 20, I think we have an opportunity to get two guys that can help us.’’
With free agency looming for D.J. Augustin and Kirk Hinrich and Rose playing only 10 games the last two seasons, point guard could be a must with one of those picks.
It’ll be a point-guard-friendly draft with Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine and Shabazz Napier being mid-first-round possibilities.
Butler wasn’t sure if it would show itself in only one game, but his hope was that over the best-of-seven first-round series, the mental toughness of the Wizards could be tested.
Considering all of the adversity the Bulls have gone through this season, that was one department they felt they had the edge.
“A lot of this game is mental, so if you can get a team back on their heels, arguing with each other and second-guessing themselves, that’s a big part of the game because every possession is so monumental in the playoffs,’’ Butler said. “It makes it a lot harder to correct things whenever you’re mentally frustrated.’’