Columnist

Bulls will take best available in draft, whomever that might be

 
 
Published: 6/1/2009 12:17 AM

The Bulls head into the June 25 draft without any single glaring need.

Their overall team wish list would include better interior defense, a post-up scorer, a taller shooting guard, someone who has a chance of guarding LeBron James and more speed or outside shooting to complement point guard Derrick Rose.

In other words, they're in a spot to take the best player available player and hope he becomes an asset.

Since the Bulls are getting close to the luxury tax, unloading a pick or taking someone who will play overseas for a couple of years is another option.

Here's a rundown of some possibilities for the Bulls' Nos. 16 and 26 picks:

DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh: He was one of the best players in college last season, using his strength and work ethic to average 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds.

Look around the NBA, though, and there haven't been many effective low-post scorers standing 6-6½ in shoes, as Blair was measured last week. He does have an impressive 7-foot-2 wingspan.

Assorted point guards: This draft is deep in small point guards, with Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Jeff Teague (Wake Forest), Eric Maynor (VCU), Darren Collison (UCLA) and Patrick Mills (St. Mary's) all likely first-round picks.

These type of guys might be in fashion after a strong playoff performance by the Rockets' 5-11 Aaron Brooks. The Bulls will consider taking a backup point guard who can break down defenders and allow Derrick Rose to play off the ball, but it's not a specific target.

Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: Good athlete who didn't shoot all that well for a two guard (. 336 from 3-point range last season) but could have the size at 6-5 to be a decent defender.

Earl Clark, F, Louisville: A good athlete with the size (6-101/4) to be a tough matchup as a power forward with perimeter skills. He averaged a respectable 8.7 rebounds as a junior but didn't shoot well from the foul line (.647) or 3-point line (.326).

Jrue Holiday, SG, UCLA: At 6-4, he appears to be another athletic combo guard in the mold of Russell Westbrook, but he averaged just 8.5 points as a freshman.

James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest: A very skilled but inconsistent athlete who probably could play either forward spot at 6-8 and 257 pounds. He combined for 54 points and 29 rebounds in consecutive games against Duke and N.C. State last season, then totaled 17 points and 16 boards in his next two outings.

Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville: He wasn't a big scorer or shooter during four years at Louisville, but he might be athletic enough at 6-6 to be a Trevor Ariza-style big guard.

B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State: This guy measured 7-1¼ in shoes but had a very average freshman year at OSU, averaging 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. His defense needs work and he seems to be more of a face-up shooter than post scorer.

Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis: A multitalented 6-5 guard who stepped in for Rose and averaged 17.1 points as a freshman at Memphis. Shot just 27.4 percent from 3-point land, though.

Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina: A very good shooter who knocked down 8 of 10 attempts from 3-point range in the Final Four, Ellington measured 6-5 at the draft camp and averaged 15.8 ppg for UNC as a junior.

Chase Budinger, SF, Arizona: Probably the one thing the Bulls don't need in this draft is a small forward, with John Salmons and Luol Deng coming back.

Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech: He might be this year's version of Javale McGee, a raw and athletic big man. The 6-9 sophomore averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds last season.

Austin Daye, PF. Gonzaga: A very long big man (6-11 with a 7-3 wingspan) who weighed in at a scrawny 192 pounds last week.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina: Well, he does fit the mold of John Paxson's type of player - hard worker with an NCAA title on his resume. Hansbrough measured 6-9½ in shoes last week, which is tall enough to be a factor at power forward.