Chicago Bulls’ Best Options for Draft Day

Gar forman bullsThe Chicago Bulls’ season hasn’t ended just yet. While we don’t see the players out there anymore, this is the time we get to see the effect front offices will have for the upcoming season.

The 2015 NBA Draft is just a month away, and for the Bulls—who hold the 22nd overall pick—it will serve as their primary source of bringing in new talent. With most of their money tied up in current contracts and an impending max contract for Most Improved Player Jimmy Butler, free agency could be uneventful unless Chicago pulls off some trades.

During the postseason, the Bulls struggled to score against the Cleveland Cavaliers mostly due to their lack of ball movement. Their three-point shooting was below average, as well. The Bulls have been adding outside shooters the past couple of years with the likes of Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. This year might be more of the same with Mike Dunleavy’s contract up.

There’s also a question about backup point guard, though. Kirk Hinrich will likely exercise his player option, but he’s playing a lot more 2-guard nowadays anyway. Aaron Brooks is not a guarantee to return—like the last few one-year rental guards Chicago has had—and E’Twaun Moore might not be the best option as the primary reserve.

There’s some good backcourt talent in this draft class, and it’s a spot Chicago should try to fortify for next year.

R.J. Hunter – SG, 6’6”, 185 lbs

The Bulls could use more outside shooting, and Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter could provide just that. During his junior year, Hunter’s three-point shooting percentage dropped from his previous year’s (39.5 to 30.5 percent), but his skills as an off-ball player remain strong.

Hunter is a versatile scorer, and his ability to finish on several catch-and-shoot situations (coming off screens, spot-ups, etc.) would allow the Bulls’ offense to have constant ball movement. During his junior year, Hunter averaged 19.5 points per game to go with nearly five rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Hunter has to improve his efficiency, though, as he shot just 39 percent from the field during his junior year. Perhaps as a role player he’d improve. He played over 37 minutes per game this past season and was Georgia State’s No. 1 option.

With some of the pressure of carrying a team off his shoulders, Hunter could prove to be a deadly shooter, something the Bulls desperately need.

Jerian Grant – PG, 6’5”, 198 lbs

Toward the end of the college season and into the March Madness tournament, Notre Dame senior Jerian Grant gained a lot of traction as a possible top-15 pick. However, there still is no consensus among experts on whether he’s a lottery pick or whether he’ll wind up in the 20s.

If the latter is the case, the Bulls are in luck, as Grant could give them their backup point guard of the future. He has great size at 6’5”, which allows him to see over the defense, but even more important, he’ll be able to play both guard spots.

Grant can score in multiple ways (16.5 points per game), and he has a little bit of Jamal Crawford in him with an array of one-on-one dribble moves that allow him to get open looks at the basket. He’s an efficient scorer as well, converting on 47 percent of his shots this past season.

He’s an all-around player, though; he has a knack for seeing the floor and finding open players. Grant averaged 6.6 assists per game during his senior year, and is a great pick-and-roll guard both as a passer and a scorer.

Chicago could use a spark plug off the bench, especially if Aaron Brooks is let go of this summer. Grant, Mirotic and Taj Gibson could spearhead a very talented bench that posses both offensive and defensive potency.

Justin Anderson – SF, 6’6”, 231 lbs

Virginia’s Justin Anderson is an athletic, defensive-minded swingman with a 6’11” wingspan who can guard just about anybody on the perimeter. He’d be able to give Butler a breather against tough assignments and could become another defensive cog in an already strong defensive unit.

Anderson would also add some much-needed speed and athleticism. Chicago averaged just 11 fast-break points per game, 21st in the league. With such a strong backcourt, the Bulls should be playing at a much faster pace. Anderson has the athleticism to finish at the rim, but he can also stop at the wings or corners and spot up for a three.

After poor shooting from downtown during his freshman and sophomore years (30 and 29 percent, respectively), Anderson drastically improved in his junior year, converting on 45 percent of his attempts (47-of-104).

Anderson could fill the small forward void left by Dunleavy if the Bulls don’t re-sign him. With a strong defensive foundation and an improving offense, the Bulls could get a solid rotation guy with Anderson at the No. 22 spot.

There are a good amount of prospects with role player potential. Hunter, Grant and Anderson could become rotation guys for the Bulls if they’re available near the end of the first round. If it’s a scorer they’re looking for, Hunter or Grant are the better options. Anderson is ready defensively, and his athleticism and three-point shooting make him one of the more attractive prospects in Chicago’s pick range.