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Today I participated in a mock draft with Slam Dunk Central.  SDC was nice enough to let me play GM for the Chicago Bulls.  The other writers were GM's for their respective teams.  Thanks to SDC for letting me write up a few words on the Bulls picks.  They have a real nice site.  Go check it out here

My picks were different - everyone that I thought the Bulls might take was gone, with the exception of Jimmy Butler.  Interestingly enough, the Bulls did work out Butler once in Chicago.  

I don't have any inside information on the draft, but I do like one thing Gar Forman said about the process.  He stressed taking the best player available, and I completely agree.   Even though the NBA has a smaller pool of players, I disagree with drafting for need.  At this point, we all know the Bulls needs are 2G, 2G, 2G.  

Back in 2009, the Bulls selected James Johnson in the first round.  Jrue Holiday was rated the better player by everyone, but the Bulls had Derrick Rose, reigning Rookie of the Year.  We basically moved down 15 picks, two years later instead of taking Holiday.  Even if the Bulls couldn't use Holiday, you could move him for a need.  

So that brings us to now, and the Bulls haven't traded up.  I wouldn't mind trading up to get anyone that falls.  Word is that Kemba Walker is falling in the lottery.  If the Bulls can trade up and take him, do it.  Forget about the issue that Walker is small and probably a point guard at this level - you take him, play him off the bench, and trade him later for a starting shooting guard.  

At No. 28, Chicago Bulls select Jimmy Butler, SF, Marquette

Butler fits the Bulls mold perfectly.  Butler, the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational, has gained a reputation around the league as a warrior, the former moniker of his alma mater, Marquette University.  Homeless at 13, Butler had to learn to fight for everything he had.  This mentality has transitioned onto the basketball court.  Butler can do it all on the floor, as he guarded the opponent's best player for MU during the last two seasons.  He improved his jump shot over his collegiate career and has a solid mid-range game.  He’s a good passer that takes care of the ball and thinks a play ahead.  What he lacks in explosiveness he makes up in heart and IQ.  While he is the age of most college juniors, Butler has upside offensively, and can contribute right away for teams defensively.

Butler can step in and back up Luol Deng right away.  Butler fits in with the hard nose defensive mentality.  He also has an offensive game that's going to get better.  From a stats perspective, Jimmy is incredible at getting to the line, and his good FT shooting would be a huge help.  Butler would be a great pick for any contender, but it gives the Bulls some depth.  This is not an upside pick - Jimmy will be a rotation player for a long time in this game.  To get that at pick 28 is great value.


At pick No. 30, Chicago Bulls select Nikola Mirotic, F, Montenegro


After the Bulls failed to move up in the draft, they have once again gone for value.  Mirotic would have gone in the late lottery had he been eligible to play in the NBA this year.  He has signed a multi-year deal in Europe, and will stay for the next two years.  This gives the Bulls an opportunity to watch over one of the best shooters in Europe while hoping he can add strength.  At 6-foot 10, he is very versatile, can play in the low post, and can penetrate while dribbling with both hands.  If he continues to develop, the Bulls will have a nice piece on their hands in a few years.  The Bulls didn’t need a player at this spot in the draft, and did not want to reach for a need, when they could sign a veteran two-guard in the off-season.

Mirotic can shoot the hell out of the ball, and if you give him two years to play with Real Madrid, get bigger, learn the game and find a niche, he would be a great piece to bring over from Europe.  

My second round pick is coming up at 44.  Everyone keeps saying the Bulls need to find a backup to Rose.  My question is - what the hell is CJ Watson?  Watson can score and shoot, while running the offense for 6-8 minutes at a time.  But, the draft pundits know more than I do, so I'll end up taking a PG.  Cory Joseph would be great, another player that can learn on the bench, and has more talent than 44th overall.  Shelvin Mack is a winner and blah blah, but he's got some upside, and is a shot maker.  

I'll open a draft thread in a minute, and we can throw all of the rumors we see in the comments.