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Bulls Fri Jun 27 2014
Editor's Note: This column was updated after a clarification of trade rules was realized by the author.
From the perspective of the Bulls front office, the only way last night's NBA Draft could've gone better would've been if Jabari Parker somehow fell into their laps at the 16th pick. Obviously that event was a pipe dream of all pipe dreams with absolutely no chance of actually happening. The second best scenario for the Bulls was to land Doug McDermott out of Creighton. And that's exactly what they did.
The Bulls traded their 19th pick, the 16th pick they had from Charlotte (Tyrus Thomas trade) along with a 2015 second round pick (either their own or the one Portland owes them), to the Nuggets for Anthony Randolph and the rights to the 11th overall pick, whom they had already used to select McDermott.
When McDermott was announced as the pick for Denver, the trade winds began to swirl mercilessly. The Nuggets had already acquired Arron Afflalo before the draft, and picking McDermott would've added duplication to an already stocked wing spot on their roster. That's when word that the Bulls had made the trade came down.
McDermott fits multiple Bulls needs. He plays small forward, and was considered the best or second best scorer in the draft (you don't get the nickname 'Dougie McBuckets' by accident). He finished his four-year Creighton career as the fifth highest scorer in the history of college basketball
, and he got those buckets in a multitude of ways.
McDermott can shoot the lights out from three point range, he can drive to the basket, and he has a highly developed post game for someone as young as he is. He allows the Bulls to trade Mike Dunleavy in a potential Carmelo Anthony sign-and-trade because he plays the same position, and can fill up the scoring column better than Dunleavy ever could because of his array of options when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.
The rookie is probably an average defender at best, and individually, it's hard to see him ever getting much better than that because he has limitations athletically. He does, however, possess a high basketball IQ as a four-year college player (something Bulls management loves in their picks), and is the son of a coach. Those factors will help him pick up Tom Thibodeau's brand of team/help defense, while being able to simultaneously taking some of the scoring pressure off guys that aren't really talented at it in the first place. There's no doubt he'll be playing immediately in Chicago.
The trade it took to land McDermott actually adds money to the Bulls salary cap despite the swap of two picks for one because Randolph is due more than $1.8 million in the final year of his contract. The Nuggets made it clear that the only way the Bulls were getting the 11th pick was if Randolph was included. The Bulls used part of the trade exception they received from the Luol Deng deal to acquire Randolph without sending out any salary.
Why were the Bulls OK adding salary in a summer where their cap space is key to sign free agents? Simple -- because Randolph can be included in a deal for Carmelo Anthony if the deal is consummated later in the summer. If they don't want to wait, his salary isn't much more prohibitive than a minimum salaried deal, and can be flipped later on.
The only realistic way Anthony is coming to Chicago was via a sign-and-trade. It's the only way the Bulls can give him a salary comparable to what he could receive in New York, Dallas, and Houston. The selling points the Bulls have are not only a talented roster that's ready to win now (as opposed to New York's), but they also reside in the much easier (re: less talent laden) Eastern Conference. No Spurs, no Thunder, no Clippers to potentially deal with in round one of the playoffs.
Adding McDermott brings a truly talented scorer onto a Bulls team desperate for points. Adding Randolph's contract to the Bulls cap sheet still makes a sign-and-trade viable when it comes to giving Anthony a comparable salary figure. Draft night 2014 was a great one for the Bulls organization. Let's hope they can follow it up with a big signing after July 1st.