Let's take a quick look at the Chicago Bulls' draft needs. Here's who they have committed (and not) for this upcoming season...
It looks like, without a Lottery pick, they'll have to shore up the shooting guard and center positions to backup whatever veteran free agent(s) they're able to sign.
They have only one pick: the 17th pick. Hit the jump to see what the mock draft boards think...
- NBAdraft.net: Hassan Whiteside (c, 7'0", 227, Marshall, freshman). I'm not sure this kid is ready for the big-time yet. But as the saying goes, you can't teach height -- for the record, I absolutely cannot stand that basketball cliche. Hate it.
On NBAdraft.net's board, I think Daniel Orton's game is a little more refined for a big than Whiteside's, and NBAdraft.net has him going at #18. But I like James Anderson, the shooting guard from Oklahoma State, a little better. Even though he had a poor opening round game of the NCAA Tournament, scoring just 11 points in a 5-point loss to the athletic Georgia Tech team, I could see some of his talent, especially his hang time. He was the third-leading scorer in the NCAA last season.
- DraftExpress: Luke Babbitt (sf, 6'7", 215, Nevada, sophomore). I highly doubt he will still be around at #17, but if he is, then he will definitely be the best player available at that slot.
Two guys that are later on the DraftExpress board are Orton and Texas sf/pf Damion James. If James is still on the board at #17 and if Orton and Anderson are taken, I think you take a best-player-available like James, who can come in and make an impact immediately. But then you have a glut at small forward, with last year's first rounder James Johnson, who I called a "Welfare Man's" (i.e., a notch below Poor Man's) Paul Pierce. Let James and Johnson duke it out, and trade the guy who's worse in training camp.
I wouldn't pick anybody who's completely unproven at #17, unless it's a big like Orton, because you've already got some issues with Johnson to work out and you really don't know who you'll sign in free agency at the 2. For example, I think drafting an Eric Bledsoe with the 17th pick would be too much of a gamble for what the Bulls will need considering the unpredictable battles for free agents.
- Chad Ford: James Anderson. Good pick!
It's kind of interesting, but based on the roster situation, Joakim Noah may end up being a mentor to someone after this Draft is done!