Tonight at 6 PM CT, the 2012 NBA Draft will be held somewhere in New Jersey. The location isn’t at all important. What are important are the players who will be in attendance.
Former University of Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis is expected to be selected first by the New Orleans Hornets, and after that…nobody knows. University of Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal could go second to the Charlotte Bobcats. However, the Bobcats have let it be known that they would be interested in trading out of the spot to acquire more picks. Kansas University power forward Thomas Robinson could also wind up being a Bobcat if they hold onto the pick. As I stated before, after Davis,anyone from Beal to Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to possibly UConn’s Andre Drummond could be selected second…by whomever holds the pick.
The 2012 draft class is deep, but there are no franchise players in my opinion, and that includes Anthony Davis. Drummond will either get a GM a raise or fired, Ohio State PF Jared Sullinger has been red-flagged because of injury, and Fighting Illini center Meyers Leonard is going to wish in about 3 months that he had stayed a member of the Fighting Illini men’s basketball program.
Since the Bulls hold the 29th overall pick, there’s really no need to try to figure out which lottery prospect fits in best with them. Rumors flurried that the Bulls might have been interested in moving small forward Luol Deng and his sizable contract for a lottery pick, but I’m starting to get the feeling those rumors were bunk. I’d love to see this year’s first-round pick and the future Charlotte pick the Bulls own, plus Deng moved to perhaps, the Sacramento Kings for Tyreke Evans and the 5th pick. Or nearly that same package (remove the Charlotte pick) to the Golden State Warriors for the 7th pick? Same package to Toronto for the 8th pick?
As you can probably tell, I’d like to see Mr. Deng traded. No, I am not a hater. I believe Deng is a good player. I’m 99.9% sure that if the Bulls selected a small forward with the lottery pick they got in return to replace Deng, he wouldn’t be as good, initially. However, the dude has peaked. I simply can’t see Deng getting any better than he is right now. And right now, he is no more than a #3 option on a very good team. He is a solid, but not elite defender. Deng has a good jumper, but when you’re not aggressive on the offensive end, it doesn’t mean much or become masked by his so-called elite defensive abilities. Luol Deng, despite being the somebody-anointed “glue guy”, is after 8 seasons, still just a role guy.
Alas, I am writing about the Bulls. They of the 5-year, $45 mil contract for Hinrich and 5-year, $75 mil contract for Boozer. They will likely stand pat, give Deng the captain’s “C” once and for all, and take the best player available with the 29th selection.
The Bulls could conceivably use either an upgrade or backup for every position on the floor. With point guard Derrick Rose out for possibly all of 2012-13, the most glaring immediate need is a replacement for the 2010-11 NBA MVP. Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas and Kentucky’s Marquis Teague come to mind, but at 29, you’re more than likely not getting someone who will be a smash from jump. Taylor isn’t the ideal point guard and Teague, while having the potential to be a good NBA player, is certainly not the defender that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wants in his system. Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins could be an instant improvement over Rip Hamilton at the 2, which is definitely a need. Small forward Will Barton of Memphis would be a steal at 29, so I assume he’ll be gone at 28. Syracuse center Fab Melo could also be around at 29, but the Bulls don’t need anymore bigs who can’t score.
Yet, I hope the Bulls select Michigan State’s Draymond Green, a 3/4 combo player; poor man’s Charles Barkley. Green is a great rebounder despite not being a very good athlete, and can handle and distribute the ball extremely well for a “power forward”. There is bias in this sentiment, perhaps. It would be surreal to see Green take minutes from Deng, admittedly. Besides all of my selfish reasons, he’s a good basketball player who spent four years in East Lansing getting yelled at by one of the best coaches in the country, Tom Izzo. Thibs should be a cakewalk for the Saginaw native.
Regardless, I just don’t want the Bulls to screw up tonight. Everyone on the team except Rose can be had, and no drafting any players from Duke. Those are the rules. And no Evan Fournier. No, it’s not because he’s French. Well…