With the NBA Draft coming up on Thursday, the Bulls look to fill a hole in their lineup that ostensibly remained all season long – even with Derrick Rose on the court. And now, more than ever, they need shooting help.
Right now, it looks as though Luol Deng might be staying put in Chicago. There have been multiple rumors pinning him as a pawn, but the Bulls have squelched the most popular one (that he was going to the Golden State Warriors for the seventh pick). However, with his wrist injury sidelining him for the first few months of the season, the Bulls will need someone athletic who can make up for Deng’s absence. And since it appears unlikely that Kyle Korver will be back, with his $5 million option, the Bulls need a perimeter shooter.
More than anything, the Bulls need someone who can score alongside Rose when he returns. Here are a few options the Bulls are likely exploring to fill that void.
Will Barton: Being a Memphis product isn’t the only thing Barton has in common with Rose. The sophomore guard has deep shooting range and is offensively aggressive. Despite his 6’6”, 174 lb frame, Barton is athletic and fast with great lateral quickness. He also has a long wingspan, making him a viable defensive option.
While Barton has often been criticized for his poor shot selection, he’s a talented shot-creator and has improved his decision-making. Last season, Barton averaged .509 FG%, .346 3P% and 18 points per game. While many are pointing to Barton as the Bulls’ likely pick, they may need to consider how much he may need to be developed.
John Jenkins: A junior shooting guard from Vanderbilt, Jenkins makes up for what he lacks in athleticism with strong shooting ability from anywhere on the court. He’s not afraid to take the tough shots and is a good decision-maker. While he isn’t great at creating shots, I wouldn’t rule him out for the Bulls because of his stellar, clutch shooting, which is something the Bulls need if Korver doesn’t return.
Last season, Jenkins averaged .474 FG%, .439 3P% and 19.9 points per game. However, Jenkins is a weak defensive player and might struggle at the NBA level, which might not appeal to the defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls already have a defensive airhead in Carlos Boozer, and another weak defender is the last thing they need.
Darius Miller: A 6’8” senior for Kentucky, Miller is an all-around solid player. He is athletic and his size would be an asset at the small forward position. Miller could be a good defender and has shown informed decision-making on both ends of the court. A great spot-up shooter, Miller is also a good passer from anywhere on the court.
Last season, Miller averaged .474 FG%, .376 3P% and 9.9 points a game. While he could never be as good as Luol Deng, Miller shares some similarities with the All-Star. :He could be a solid NBA three-point shooter and possesses good defending skills. If Deng goes, Miller would be a nice component next to Jimmy Butler. But if Deng stays this season, as it looks like he will, Miller may not have a spot on this Bulls team.
Doron Lamb: The Bulls need shooters, and they would get that in Kentucky guard Doron Lamb. He has a great midrange game and though he’s not an exceptional defender, Lamb is knowledgeable on both ends of the court. He’s athletic, speedy, a good ball-handler and can free himself up for three-pointers.
Last season, Lamb averaged .474 FG%, .466 3P% and 13.7 points per game. Lamb would be a nice fit for the Bulls because of his consistent shooting, something they’ve lacked in the past.
To find out who the Bulls take in the draft, tune in tomorrow on ESPN at 7/6c.
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