Although it was far from the biggest surprise of the 2013 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls’ first-round pick raised plenty of eyebrows. Armed with a pair of selections in the hunt to build a team that can challenge Miami in the postseason, Chicago appears to have whiffed on at least one of the two.
Here’s a look at both new additions to the Bulls’ roster and what they bring (or fail to bring) to Derrick Rose’s team.
SG Tony Snell, New Mexico (Round 1, No. 20 overall): D+
In principle, Tony Snell checks off most of the boxes the Bulls were expected to look for in their first-round selection. He’s a big shooting guard who can play the 2 or the 3, knock down the three-pointer and play a little defense.
He just doesn’t do any of it all that well.
The New Mexico product is coming from a solid defensive team, but he’s not a playmaker who will force a bunch of turnovers. He’s a good long-range shooter but not a great one, and he’s a dreadful rebounder for his 6’7” height (2.6 boards per game).
Most damningly, Chicago could just as easily have picked a similar guard who’s superior in virtually every category: North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock, who went to the Clippers five picks after the Bulls took Snell.
Bullock is a wonderful three-point shooter (.436 to Snell’s .390) and a better weapon than Snell from inside the arc (1.4 more points per game overall, .483 field-goal shooting to Snell’s .422). The 6’7” Tar Heel is also a great rebounder (6.5 boards a night) and showed signs of raising his level of play defensively with a career-high 1.3 steals per contest last year.
Bullock also has a much higher ceiling athletically than the unremarkable Snell.
Snell was widely considered a second-round prospect, which is where the Bulls should’ve left him. Regardless of whether there was an obviously better option available, it’s awfully tough to picture Tony Snell being an NBA success story.
PF Erik Murphy, Florida (Round 2, No. 49 overall): B
Second-round picks, especially ones as far down the draft board as No. 49, rarely make NBA rosters. That said, the Bulls are to be commended for finding one who has a fighting chance in Erik Murphy.
At 6’10”, Murphy has every opportunity to be the player Vladimir Radmanovic failed to become as a Bull. The power forward was a perfectly solid rebounder (5.5 boards a game last season) while serving as Florida’s top three-point threat (72 treys on outstanding .453 shooting).
He’s also coming from the same Billy Donovan defensive system that trained Joakim Noah, so while Murphy doesn’t have a fraction of Noah’s instincts on D, he’s at least been well coached.
At 238 lbs, he’s not heavy for an NBA 4-man (even one who stays out by the arc), and he’s regrettably slow. Still, for a team in serious need of depth off the bench behind Taj Gibson, Murphy provides a promising frontcourt option.
It wouldn’t be any surprise to see the Bulls give Murphy a D-League tryout to see how effective he can be as a scorer (and how much trouble his lack of athleticism causes him) against higher-level competition. A good showing there could easily earn the ex-Gator a roster spot with the big club.