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).
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.
Three times in the last six years, the Chicago Bears have spent their top draft choice on an offensive lineman. Now, for the second time in that span, one of those draft picks is heading out of town after an injury-plagued start to his pro career.
As reported by ESPN Chicago, the Bears have traded third-year man Gabe Carimi to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago will get only a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft in exchange for the former Wisconsin star, who played a grand total of 18 games in a Bear uniform.
Carimi, who’s been rehabbing the balky knee that hampered his performance a season ago, was expected to have a tough time finding a spot on the depth chart in a crowded pool of guards. Even so, it’s hard to see how the Bears benefit from pulling the trigger on a trade at this point in the offseason.
Theo Epstein and the rest of the brain trust trying to rebuild the Chicago Cubs arrived pretty much wholesale from the Boston Red Sox. As such, it’s not surprising that they’re thinking hard about acquiring some of the players they’d brought to Boston to become part of the Cubs’ future.
Apparently, one such player is center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs “are expected to make a strong push” to sign the one-time All-Star, provided that he digs out of the slump in which he’s begun the 2013 season.
Ellsbury’s overwhelming potential was shown off best in 2011, when he hit .321 with 32 HRs, 105 RBIs and 39 stolen bases. That performance is all but guaranteed to earn him a big-money contract somewhere when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
Nearly every member of the Chicago Bears is in Illinois this week for offseason training activities, but the focus has been on the one who isn’t: offensive lineman Gabe Carimi. The 2011 first-round pick is in Arizona, trying to get his perpetually injured right knee back to 100 percent.
Speculation has been heavy that Carimi is hurting his chances of staying on the roster by his conspicuous absence, but a report from the Chicago Sun-Times suggests otherwise. The paper notes that GM Phil Emery (during an interview on SiriusXM radio) said “we respect [Carimi’s decision]. And he’ll be welcomed back with open arms when he comes back.”
Emery’s comments bring a welcome sense of perspective to Carimi’s situation. Although a player missing OTAs can be a sign of friction between the individual and the team, there’s no indication that such a problem exists for the third-year lineman.