With the 2013 NBA Draft coming up tonight, the guys at DRaT decided to take a page out of ESPN.com’s book and do a 5-on-5, with five contributors answering five questions. We enlisted a different intelligent guest to answer each question.
1) What is the Bulls’ biggest need in this draft?
Jake Weiner: The Bulls’ biggest need in tonight’s draft is undoubtedly a backup big. While the Bulls are starved for shooting, last year’s big man rotation was a disaster. With Taj Gibson as our only reliable backup, Joakim Noah was forced to play nearly 40 minutes a game until missing the last 12 of 15 games with foot problems. With the solid depth available at PF/C, the Bulls should be able to find a fourth big man that can impact the game much more than Nazr Mohammed last season.
Jacob Bikshorn: The Bulls’ biggest need in this draft is to find a shooter. Is this the most likely thing the Bulls will find when their 20th pick is on the clock? No, probably not. But that does not mean it is not still the team’s biggest need. After watching the NBA Finals, I couldn’t help but imagine what the Bulls would look like with the three point arc dotted with shooters as D-Rose slices through the lane. A little spacing could go a long way for the guys in red.
Steven Kerstein: The Bulls’ biggest draft need is a scoring two guard. The team needs another scorer, preferably one who can knock down treys and still get to the basket effectively.
Tyler Geocaris: The Bulls have two clear needs heading into this year’s draft, a backup wing and a backup center. If I were the Bulls, I’d go ahead and look for the best center that is available when it is their turn to pick. Nazr did not earn the trust of Thibs, rarely playing throughout the season forcing Noah to play heavy minutes. Although it is not confirmed, this most likely lead to his foot injury. Take a center so Noah can get more rest.
Abram Shulruff (guest contributor): The classic and expected move by the Bulls would be to pick a 2 guard who can shoot the ball. This would help spread the floor for Rose and give the Bulls much needed help on offense. The kid probably won’t make an immediate impact and will sit on the bench for at least year getting accustomed to the speed of the NBA, Marquis Teague style.
2) Assuming nothing insane happens (trades, big names dropping far, etc.), who do you think the Bulls should target at #20?
Jake Weiner: I think the Bulls should target Gorgui Dieng or Mason Plumlee. While I know neither experienced college player is a “sexy” pick, the Bulls really do need another rim protector who can step in and play immediately. Both Dieng and Plumlee played several seasons at major NCAA programs (reigning champs Louisville and Final 4 team Duke, respectively) and seem to have the type of work ethic necessary to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Either of these players would shore up our back line and allow Joakim Noah to remain fresher for the season and playoffs.
Jacob Bikshorn: I kind of like Jamaal Franklin assuming he gets all the way to 20. I’ve read a little about the guy and he sounds like a player the Bulls could mold into something special. Perhaps the jersey is clouding my judgment, but I really think he could become a Kawhi Leonard type player (both attended San Diego State University). He’s athletic and has good size for guarding the wings at 6’5″. Shooting, while not a strength of his in college, can be improved upon with NBA coaching, just like Kawhi. The upside is there, and at 20 that’s really all you can ask for.
Steven Kerstein: Assuming nothing crazy happens, I’m for the philosophy of taking a European player and stashing him overseas for a couple years. This method provides an organization financial flexibility in a year where there are few (if any) sure fire stars. I’m thinking along the lines of Sergey Karasev, Giannis Adetokunbo or Rudy Gobert.
Tyler Geocaris: Like I stated in the previous question, the Bulls are in dire need of another post player who can give Noah more minutes of rest throughout the season. A few names come to mind like Dieng, Plumlee, and even Kelly Olynyk. In my opinion, I feel like the bulls should go with Dieng. He may be 23 years of age, but he is a very underrated passer and a good open jump shooter. Cleary his strengths are on the defensive end, which the Bulls organization will love about him. He is a mature young player who will be able to learn the defensive system fairly quickly. Dieng seems like a perfect pick here at number 20.
David Hesdorffer (guest contributor): Tim Hardaway Jr. or Mason Plumlee. The Bulls need both a shooting guard to complement Jimmy “buckets” Butler or a backup big man because Taj Gibson is the only quality big off the bench at this point (sorry Nazr). If the Bulls elect to target a shooting guard, I think Tim Hardaway Jr. is a good fit. The bulls only attempted 15.4 three point shots per game last season, which was the second lowest in the NBA. Hardaway Jr. attempted 5.1 threes last season (and made 1.9 of them), so he would be an immediate help. If the bulls elect to pursue a backup big, I think Plumlee is a good choice. He has a nice offensive game that could complement Taj’s defense for next year’s bench mob.
3) Would you trade Luol Deng and the Bobcats 2016 first round pick for Cleveland’s #1 pick overall? If so, who would you take? (note: the Bobcats 2014 and 2015 first round picks are lottery protected to an extent while the 2016 pick is fully unprotected)
Jake Weiner: It’s a tough question, but no I wouldn’t. There’s no sure fire superstar at the top of this draft like in years’ past. As the Bulls don’t need a starting 4 or 5, I don’t see how it would be worth it to unload a two time All-Star and a strong future pick for that big of a risk. If the Bulls did make this trade, I’d like them to take Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo, terrific shooting guard prospects.
Jacob Bikshorn: I wouldn’t do that deal. First, I don’t know why the Bulls would want the first pick. They definitely don’t want Noel or Len as their center spot is looking pretty solid. If they want to make a serious splash they could do it in the 3-7 range. And at that pick, considering the weakness of the draft, I don’t think the Bulls would have to part with that Bobcats pick, which will likely be sick. Even if the Cats pick ends up being 7-8, this draft is not worth trading up in.
Steven Kerstein: I would only trade Deng and the Ty Thomas pick for this year’s No.1 pick if the Bulls would then take that pick and package it with other assets to make a big splash. Otherwise, I’d rather take my chances drafting at 20 and getting more bang for their buck.
Tyler Geocaris: Rule number 1, don’t fall in love with your players. I love Sweet Lu, but yes the Bulls should 100 percent do this trade. My main reason here is Luol’s stock is at an all-time high after coming off an All-Star year and a relatively injury free season. This is Deng’s contract year, and he will most likely be searching for his last big pay day because he is heading towards the later years of his career. As everyone knows, Luol has a ton of miles on him, appearing at the top of the minutes per game leader board each year. If the Bulls could receive some good value for him along with relieving themselves of his contract, I feel like it would ultimately be a win for the Chicago organization.
Spencer Suk (guest contributor): It’s a tempting offer, but I think I’d say no. A banged-up Chicago squad made a good run in the playoffs without Rose, Deng, and Hinrich, basically using a 7 man rotation. They did great against the Heat considering the only man capable of guarding LeBron James was Jimmy Butler, who was forced to constantly pour in 48 minutes a game. The defensive duo of Butler and Deng could be the best chance of slowing James and Wade. With a healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Bulls will be a force in the East next year. It will be tough for the financially strapped Bulls to resign Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli this off-season, but they could have significant cap space in 2014-15 depending on what they decide to do with Deng’s expiring contract and the final year of Boozer’s deal.
4) The Bulls are offered a way to trade into the late lottery (9-14). Who should they be targeting?
Jake Weiner: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While I earlier said the Bulls biggest need is a backup big man, this is based upon value at the 20th pick. The Bulls’ true biggest need is a starting shooting guard who can hit the three. Since you’re unlikely to find a good one late in the draft, I think the Bulls should thus take a backup big who gives you what you see. Anyway, Caldwell-Pope is thought to be the best pure shooter in the draft and even drawn some Ray Allen comparisons. He’d be an elite fit next to Rose’s paint pressure.
Jacob Bikshorn: I briefly alluded to this in my column the other day, but if McLemore slips out of the top 3 for some reason, the Bulls should definitely look to make an aggressive move. He’s the kind of player who would address question #1.
Steven Kerstein: If the Bulls trade up to this range, something drastic will have occurred to the roster. Having said this, I agree that Caldwell-Pope would be a good fit alongside Derrick Rose. His shot-making ability makes him the viable threat the organization needs on the perimeter. Having said this, I don’t really see a scenario where the Bulls trade up. There is no guy that jumps off the board that the Bulls would be willing to hand over their Korver exception for. I’d rather take a European player and stash him away.
Tyler Geocaris: If he’s there, I would try and go after the sharp shooter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Pope would be a great fit for the Bulls at the shooting guard position. Playing alongside D-Rose, KCP will get many open looks around the perimeter and also be able to go against opposing teams secondary defenders. Caldwell-Pope proved he can lead a team in the scoring department coming from Georgia. He will fill a need the Bulls have been desperately trying to fill. Chicago should aggressively pursue this option if it is on the table.
Ari Hakimian (guest contributor): If this scenario unfolds, I see the Bulls either snagging SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) or PF/C Cody Zeller (Indiana). Pope drains threes and slashes to the basket extremely well. His style would make life easier on D-Rose. Zeller, on the other hand, is a big body on the interior. The goofy seven footer has great touch and possesses the acumen to play effectively in Thibs’ complex system. For either scenario to occur, something interesting will have to have taken place for the Bulls.
5) Who will be the best NBA player in this draft in five years?
Jake Weiner: I’m a huge Otto Porter fan. Only 20 years old, he has prototypical size for a small forward and no weaknesses in his game. While he may not have one elite skill yet, he’s very good at shooting, getting to the rim and defending inside and on the perimeter. This is the type of guy who can develop a couple All-Star skills as he grows older. In five years, I would not be at all surprised if he’s an efficient version of Rudy Gay. In fact, I think Porter is the best fit for Cleveland, who lacks a small forward desperately.
Jacob Bikshorn: Well, I know Todd is going to say Anthony Bennett, who in my opinion has a bit of Derrick Williams in his game, another Salty favorite. I’m going to pick Victor Oladipo for this one as he is the safest pick. We know what Oladipo’s floor is, and it’s not too shabby. For the rest of these guys, the floor is unknown. And in this type of draft, knowing the floor, as opposed to dreaming of the ceiling, is probably the best way to predict success.
Steven Kerstein: Best player in five years: Trey Burke. He wants it more than any of these other schlubs.
Tyler Geocaris: In 5 years, I think the athletic, sharp shooting Ben McLemore will be the best player from this draft. He clearly has one of the biggest upsides, being able to scorch teams from the perimeter and also having the skill to attack the rim. Some people have questioned his toughness or mental part of the game, but the kid is only 20 years old. If he ends up with the right coach and situation, I generally feel this could be the only repeat All-Star from this year’s draft. In a draft like this one, I select the player with the highest ceiling, which is Ben Mclemore.
Todd Saltzberg (guest contributor): Victor Oladipo will be the best player from the draft in five years. Something you need in the NBA is a work ethic and the ability to improve; Oladipo has both. While he improved greatly each year in college, he still has a lot to work on and with his work ethic, I firmly believe he will. As I’ve said, his floor is Tony Allen, which wouldn’t be bad at all. I think he is going to a player with a ceiling closer to Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala.