The nice thing about having two picks in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft is that it provides flexibility. Trading up in the NBA Draft is not quite as frequent or common as in the NFL‘s annual selection meeting, but with two picks in the hand, the Chicago Bulls should do whatever possible to draft Michigan State guard Gary Harris.
Harris, a 19-year-old sophomore entry to the draft, is the perfect player for the Bulls. He is a talented combo guard who can shoot and defend. He would also be the perfect complement to Derrick Rose.
The biggest detractor on Harris right now is his size after measuring just 6-foot-2 without shoes at the NBA combine. That is small in terms of NBA shooting guards, but Harris is still a talent Chicago can’t afford to look past.
In two seasons with the Spartans, Harris played 69 games and averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He also shot 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc.
Harris was impressive as a freshman but was even better last season, upping his points per game average from 12.9 to 16.7 as he helped lead the Spartans to the Elite 8.
For years the Bulls have struggled with perimeter shooting, and right now Mike Dunleavy is the only reliable outside shooter signed for next season with D.J. Augustin set to become a free agent. That’s where Harris comes in and that’s also why the Bulls should trade up to get him.
Thanks to his disappointing measurement at the combine, Harris could see his stock take a dip and it’s possible he may fall to the Bulls, who own the 16th overall pick. Yet, if he doesn’t, Chicago should package the 16th pick along with the 19th overall selection to move up and get him.
Not only would Harris add the perimeter shooting the Bulls desperately need, but he would fit perfectly with head coach Tom Thibodeau thanks to his defensive prowess. As good as Harris can be for the Bulls on the offensive end, he is an even better defender making him a candidate to start right away in Chicago.
Taking into account the fact that the Bulls may not be able to re-sign Augustin or Kirk Hinrich depending on what happens with Carmelo Anthony in free agency, acquiring a player like Harris becomes even more important.
Most draft experts believe Harris is a solid lottery pick, meaning Chicago would likely need to move up somewhere in the range of picks 10-14 in order to draft him. That kind of move is definitely possible with two first-round picks, and although it seems like a heavy price to pay, the chance to acquire a surefire starter who can contribute at both ends of the floor makes it worthwhile.