2011 NBA Draft: Bulls First Round Wrap Up

By Randy Holt

asdfAs of right now, it looks like the Bulls have finished wheeling and dealing as the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft has come to a close.

With all the names being thrown around and as many trades that take place on Draft Day, no one was actually sure of who the Bulls would end up with when the first round was all wrapped up on Thursday night.

But, at least for now, two names have been selected by the Bulls, though one of those names we will not see for a bit.

Officially, the Bulls kept the 28th pick. With that pick, they selected Norris Cole out of Cleveland State. But the proposed trade would see them swap that pick of Cole, and the 43rd overall pick on Thursday, with the Minnesota Timberwolves to move up and acquire Nikola Mirotic.

Mirotic is a Spanish player, who plays for Real Madrid in Spain, though it’s not the Real Madrid that any of us are used to hearing about. Most of what analysts have said of the 20-year-old Mirotic has been positive, despite the drawbacks of having to wait for him, given that Mirotic signed a five-year extension this year to stay in Spain.

He has good size, standing 6’10”, and has flashed enormous potential as a basketball player. He was awarded the Euroleague Rising Star award with Real Madrid this past season, after stealing a starting spot and breaking out in his role in Europe.

He’s noted as having a quick release and a smooth shot, with the only real drawbacks being his tendency to lack in motivation and athleticism, which also needs improvement. Luckily for the Bulls, those are a couple of easy fixes. It looks like they may have gotten a steal, when he does finally make his way over the U.S.

But the story that Bulls fans will love in this draft is that of Jimmy Butler, the Bulls 30th overall selection out of Marquette.

Many will compare Butler’s story to that of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher, in that like Oher’s story, which the film The Blindside was based off of, Butler was virtually homeless before being taken in by a more well-to-do family on a permanent basis. It was his new family (his biological mother kicked him out when he was 13) that convinced him to attend Marquette after a standout year at a junior college, mostly due to its academic reputation.

Butler was All-Big East honorable mention with the Golden Eagles in 2010-11, averaging almost 16 points and just a touch over six boards a game. He’s listed as a forward in most scouting reports, but at 6’7”, he could find his way into the rotation at shooting guard, as well as small forward for the Bulls.

At this point, it looks like the Bulls did well in their first round of the draft, and could be done for the night after trading that 43rd overall pick, once that ‘proposed’ deal becomes official. Stay tuned for more possible draft news, as well as deeper analysis of the Bulls’ two picks from the 2011 draft.

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