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Bulls Wed Jun 24 2015

Draft is Key to Bulls' Future Success

BullsThe NBA Draft may not have the same hype as its counterpart in the NFL, but it is the linchpin for NBA teams' futures. A solid selection during the draft can have a lot more impact than signing an aging free agent or swapping for a one-year rental at the trade deadline. For the Chicago Bulls, this year's draft on June 25 could be the blueprint for their future.

The Bulls are in a quasi-transitional phase. Their core group of players remain intact, but they have a rookie coach and a new offensive strategy to implement in the coming year. Coach Fred Hoiberg has signed up for an interesting adventure. He has inherited a team that has very little salary cap wiggle room and a roster of war-torn veterans and unproven sophomore players. Hoiberg won't have the luxury of chasing a big free agent signings like Kawhi Leonard or Marc Gasol, so it is important that he and the front office are smart in Brooklyn.

The intrigue of paying top dollar for this year's crop of free agents may seem enticing, but the Bulls would be wise to resupply their team through the draft. This mindset has worked in the past. Just look at the Golden State Warriors -- their team was based around the ideology of drafting smart, and now they are NBA Champions.

Foregoing free agency may also ease the stress level of Bulls personnel as well. You saw how much of a ringer the team was put through when they tried to go out and get Carmelo Anthony. I'm sure Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose would rather rest their nagging injuries this summer, rather than wine and dine marquee free agents. This may be the first time in a long time that the Bulls can concentrate on picking the right prospects and properly grooming them for success.

The roster is a bit run down from the rigors former coach Tom Thibodeau put them through, but the cogs in the machine are still there. Jimmy Butler has transformed into one of the most fearsome guards in the league, Noah, Rose and Taj Gibson can still put up staggering stats when they're not nursing injuries, and Nikola Mirotic has proven why he was the Spanish League MVP in 2013. This situation is perfect for any rookie coming in. They can learn from these All-Stars and inject some new life into the team.

While infusing talented draft picks with proven veterans is important, the Bulls success with the draft over the past few years has been, how shall you say, wavering. General Manager Gar Forman, who took over the position from current Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson in 2009, picked some of the key players that are on the roster now, but there were some duds along the way. The draft is more of a crap shoot after you get out of the first 10 picks. For every Taj Gibson, there's a James Johnson. And for every Jimmy Butler, there is Marquis Teague. Hey it could have been worse, you could have traded LaMarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas. Oh wait...

But the Bulls shouldn't hang their heads with their position in this year's draft. The 2015 NBA Draft is stacked with players and even picks in the second round should be fruitful for teams. Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D'Angelo Russell should go early, but the Bulls have a whole crop to choose from after that. It would be smart for the Bulls to take someone to help improve their three-point game, but they may just go with the best available, such as Jerian Grant or Justin Anderson. Draft night is coming, people, and the Bulls are gearing up for the future.

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Rick Jones / June 24, 2015 8:11 PM

Chris, very nice! You are a good writer!

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