The Chicago Bulls hold the 20th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, and the team has no shortage of concerns that the selection could be used to address. From the near-certain free-agent departure of playoff hero Nate Robinson to the perpetual quest for shooters around Derrick Rose, the Bulls have plenty of directions they could go with the pick.
Based on the group of players likely to remain on the board when the Bulls make their choice, these three are the most promising for Chicago’s future:
1. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
It’s kind of amazing that the Bulls have any shot at the player who entered college as the No. 2-ranked freshman in the country (trailing only probable top pick Nerlens Noel). However, Muhammad’s stock has already slid as far as the late lottery by many projections, so it would only take another few spots to leave him available to Chicago.
If the Bulls can get their hands on the athletic 6’6” SF, they should snap him up without hesitation. He’s a fine three-point shooter (.377 in his lone college season) and an A-plus athlete, with the latter virtue making him a great candidate to improve his middling defense under Tom Thibodeau.
2. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Bullock isn’t quite the athlete that Muhammad is, but he boasts many of the same virtues and is much likelier to be available to Chicago. The former Tar Heel is a big-body defender (6’7”, 205 lbs) who can play either SG or SF, and he’s a bit more skilled on D than Muhammad is.
In addition, while he didn’t put up gaudy point totals in Chapel Hill, Bullock is a lethal three-point shooter who hit .436 from the college arc last year. He has the potential to become a younger, stronger Rip Hamilton, which would make him a terrific fit with the Bulls.
3. Mason Plumlee, Duke
If the Bulls don’t like the available perimeter options, another major need they could address is a backup for Joakim Noah. One prime prospect to supplant geriatric Nazr Mohammed in that role is a four-year college veteran who developed into one of the country’s top big men (and leaders) for an Elite Eight squad.
Plumlee averaged a double-double for Duke as a senior, and he blocked at least 1.4 shots per game over three of his four college seasons. His lack of raw athleticism will be an issue at the NBA level, but at 6’10”, 235 lbs, he’s got just enough size to be a strong bench option thanks to his savvy and strength.