The Runner Sports

Five Options for the Chicago Bulls in the 2013 NBA Draft

The NBA draft is fast approaching. June 27th is the day NBA rats like me live for, and the Chicago Bulls have options at pick 20. This is the lowest pick the Bulls have had in a few years, as they have had picks at the very end of the first round for the past two years. Pick 20 is by no means a lottery pick, but there are some very solid options that fill needs for the Bulls that should be available.


Option One: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville.


Measurements: 6’11, 245 pounds, 7’4 Wingspan.

2012 Statistics: 31.1 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 53% shooting.

What He Brings: Dieng gained a lot of hype by helping Louisville through March Madness, and playing a pivotal role in helping them to win the National Championship. He brings NBA readiness. He’s already 23 years old, and many scouts say his ceiling is relatively low. He is limited offensively in the post, but he brings a pretty good mid range shot. Defensively, he is very capable of manning the middle of the second unit. He may not have blocked as many shots as Kansas center Jeff Withey, but his solid base and athleticism will make him the better pro. He will hit shots when they’re needed, and swat a shot or two away every game he plays in. While he won’t be a dynamic pro, he can contribute immediately, and is a safe bet to be a solid backup.

Why He Fits: Nazr Mohammed didn’t give the Bulls a lot last year as the backup center. Tom Thibodeau had no faith in him, and as a result Joakim Noah played a ton of minutes. This brought injuries to Noah, but he still had to play with the injuries because Mohammed couldn’t be relied on. The lack of a backup is what I personally think led to Noah missing games due to the built up injuries, and to him losing the Defensive Player of the Year award. (Noah is better defensively than Marc Gasol, hands down.) Dieng changes all of that. He is NBA ready and can break the pattern of Bulls rookies hardly playing. He’s basically Omer Asik with more offensive potential.


Option Two: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas.


Measurements: 6’9, 235 pounds, 7’3 Wingspan.

2012 Statistics: 32.4 MPG, 13 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 44% shooting.

What He Brings: Mitchell is a very intriguing prospect. He has lottery level talent that he showcased his Freshman year at North Texas. Last season he hit 57 % of his shots and 44% of his threes to score 14.7 PPG along with 10.3 RPG and 3 BPG. He could have been a top 15 pick last year, and many mocks had him there in the 2013 draft before the season started. Unfortunately, due to a coaching change that affected him too much, Mitchell imploded this year. Still, in drills he has been incredibly impressive, and he has a 38″ vertical. He’s small for a power forward, but he has long arms and great athleticism. He can score, he can block shots from the weak side, and he can rebound. His implosion this season, and questions about his resilience have teams apprehensive to pull the trigger on him.

Why He Fits: Mitchell represents the new breed of power forwards in the NBA. He’s not overwhelmingly big, but he’s athletic and can hit long range twos and threes. Mitchell was every team’s focal point when playing North Texas, and he didn’t have the point guard to set him up for open threes and on the block. Mitchell is raw offensively, but he has a good skill set and he’s a great finisher. While the Bulls have Taj Gibson locked up, and many anticipate Nikola Mirotic’s arrival in Chicago, Mitchell has star potential. He would thrive playing next to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The Bulls normally like to play it safe in the draft, but taking Marquis Teague last year showed they will take a risk on lottery talent if it’s there.


Option Three: Allen Crabbe, SG, California.

Allen Crabbe, Klay Thompson

Measurements: 6’6, 197 pounds, 6’11 Wingspan.

2013 Statistics: 36.2 MPG, 18.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 46% shooting.

What He Brings: Crabbe had a hand in his face every time he shot for Cal this past year. He was the primary everything for the team, and defenses keyed in on him. Crabbe has a sweet shooting stroke, and when he gets an open look you can pretty much guarantee the ball is going in the net. His athleticism is there, but it’s not outstanding, especially for a guard. He needs to put more weight on his body to adjust to the NBA game, and just needs to get stronger in general. His defense needs to improve, but he has the measurements to be a pretty good defender, especially in the Bulls’ system.

Why He Fits: The Bulls have been looking for a back court mate for Derrick Rose since Rose became a Bull in 2008. They need a guy who can shoot well from the floor, especially from deep. They tried and failed with Richard Hamilton, and Crabbe is essentially a younger version of Rip. He comes off screens and curls well, and will benefit immensely from Derrick Rose driving and kicking the ball out to him beyond the three point line. The only reason Crabbe would see a lot of playing time in his first season would be if the Bulls can’t offer enough money to bring in veterans capable of contributing. However, with a year of learning the NBA game and getting better defensively, Crabbe could be the long term answer at the two.


Option Four: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan.


Measurements: 6’6, 199 pounds, 6’7 wingspan.

2012 Statistics: 34.8 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 44% shooting.

What He Brings: Hardaway can be a great shooter and defender on the floor, he just needs to put forth the effort. Hardaway is athletic, maxing out at a 37.5″ vertical, and showing good quickness on the floor. He finishes well around the rim, and is capable of flying high and playing above the rim. Hardaway shot 37% from behind the arc in 2012, shooting a hair over 5 a game. To shoot that well with that many attempts is a great sign. The other important thing is Hardaway’s ability to create his own shot. He needs to improve his handles, but he has the ability to make some offense happen for himself. He settles too often for long, contested jumpers, and really needs to get better at exerting effort at all times on the floor.

How He Fits: Similarly to Crabbe, Hardaway fits as a three point shooting back court mate to Derrick Rose. His ceiling isn’t that high, but his NBA readiness is pretty much there. He could actually contribute right away if Thibodeau feels comfortable putting him out there. He would benefit greatly from playing next to Rose over the next coupe years, and Rose could benefit from him. Hardaway’s ability to create his own shot gives Rose more room to do his thing and hit some threes of his own. Hardaway could play some spells at the three if the Bulls play small ball, and his dynamic athletic ability along with his shooting ability would make him a solid contributor for years to come. If he improves his effort and handles, he could potentially develop into an All-Star.


Option Five: Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence.


Measurements: 6’6, 197 pounds, 6’7.25 Wingspan.

2012 Statistics: N/A

What He Brings: Ledo was supposed to be one of the top Freshmen this past season, as he was a dynamic high school scorer. Ledo, however, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA before playing a single college game. Despite never playing in college, Ledo declared for the 2013 draft, and should be available when the Bulls pick. Ledo has a great handle, and very good court vision. He’s capable of playing point guard for periods of time, but will spend most of his time as a 2. He’s smart, strong, and can shoot lights out, making him a strong candidate for the steal of the draft along with Tony Mitchell, my second target. The issues with Ledo are not concerning his talents, rather his experience and off court issues. He would be a long-term project for the Bulls, but one that could work out very well.

How He Fits: Capable of creating his own shot and hitting big shots, Ledo is the best 2-guard available when the Bulls pick. Give him a couple years to develop, and you have an All-Star back court with Rose and Ledo. It’s possible Ledo doesn’t fit in the NBA, and flames out with his inexperience and off court issues, but this is a risk the Bulls should consider. They proved they’re okay with inexperienced risks as long as the talent is there by taking Teague last year. Ledo would be a dynamic second option on the offense eventually for the Bulls, but he would not contribute right away. He would get similar playing time to Teague this past year, showing flashes of potential along the way.


There we have it, five options for the Chicago Bulls in the 2013 draft. These are the five best players for the Bulls available at pick 20 in my opinion, and I would be very happy with any of these selections. I would love to see Dieng in a Bulls uniform myself, and that is currently who I have the Bulls selecting in my mock draft, which you should keep an eye out for as it will be coming soon. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you!


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Author: Rob Wegley

Co-Owner of The Runner Sports, Senior Editor for The Runner Sports, Writer for The Runner Sports focused on the NFL and the NBA. Located in the Chicago area. Professional journalist since 2012.