There was plenty of intrigue surrounding the Chicago Bulls and the 2014 NBA Draft. The Bulls went into the draft with two first round picks, No. 16 and No. 19, yet there was talk all along that Chicago wanted to try and trade up for an elite offensive prospect, while at the same time saving money by paying one first round pick instead of two. The focus this summer is on the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, but after striking a deal with the Denver Nuggets, the Bulls were able to add two talented players on draft nigh.
Here are my grades for each pick.
No. 11 Overall — Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
The Bulls came into the draft knowing that they needed to find some help on offense, particularly shooting. Not only was Chicago was the lowest scoring team in the NBA last season, they were also one of the worst shooting teams in the league.
Because of this, the Bulls had been targeting elite shooters in this draft and after trading the 16th and 19th picks to Denver, Chicago was able to acquire McDermott, the national player of the year in college basketball last season. The Creighton star averaged an eye-popping 26.7 PPG last season, while also connecting on 44.9 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
McDermott may not be the greatest athlete in the world and there are questions about his defense, but he is an elite scorer, which is what Chicago needed. Due to his size — 6-foot-7, 225 pounds — he will likely play small forward in the NBA, which could make Mike Dunleavy expendable in a trade to open up more cap room. He will also be expected to contribute right away and should fit in very well with star point guard Derrick Rose.
49th Overall — Cameron Bairstow, F, New Mexico
It’s hard to get excited about second round picks in the NBA Draft, but this year’s draft was deeper than most and there was a chance to get some legitimate players in the second round. Chicago believes they got one in Bairstow, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward from New Mexico.
Bairstow, who came over from Austrailia to play college basketball, is a tough, experienced player who led the Mountain West Conference with 20.4 PPG to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He is a physical defender who can score in the low post and also has a solid mid-range game.
The Bulls were so intrigued by Bairstow that general manager Gar Forman acknowledged that they considered trading up in the second round to make sure they could secure the New Mexico product, but as luck would have it, he fell right into their lap. No second round pick is guaranteed to make the roster, but if the Bulls are able to land Anthony this offseason, filling out the roster will be tough to do; Bairstow has the chance to be a solid backup to Taj Gibson at the power forward spot.