I will be going through all 30 teams, grading their drafts & giving my thoughts on what should happen for that team going forward.
The Chicago Bulls
Rd 1. Pick # 14: Denzel Valentine – G/F – Michigan St.
Valentine projects as an excellent role-player in the NBA, so long as his knees hold up. For whatever it’s worth – Tom Izzo, Valentine’s collegiate coach, came out in defense of Valentine, saying that the publicized knee problems were overblown. He also fits like a glove in the up-tempo style of offense that the Bulls are trying to run. Valentine is a great team player and leader who improved greatly during his four years at East Langston – in particular, he went from a complete non-shooter to one of the best shooters in this year’s draft. He is very versatile offensively, as he can run the point and play three positions on offense. His lack of athleticism and quickness will make it harder for him to score off the dribble, but he will adapt. This problem also leads many to project him as a poor defender at the next level, however I wouldn’t be so sure just yet – another unathletic Tom Izzo product made adjustments and is now the second best defensive player in the NBA. It’s worth noting that I’m not saying he will be as good defensively as Draymond Green – just that he could surprise people and be better on that end than what people think. Valentine isn’t a sexy, high-upside pick; but he fits the range, and will be a solid player at the next level who can contribute right away.
Rd 2. Pick 48: Paul Zipser, F, Germany
Many second round foreign players never make it to the ole’ US of A, so these picks are tough to grade. I do like Zipser, though. He’s long and athletic – so he has potential, especially on the defensive end.
Valentine can come right in, and contribute for the Bulls, and maybe play some point for the team. He should have a nice and long NBA career. Zipser has potential, and would fill some depth at the 3-spot if he ever makes it stateside.
Where the Bulls go from here:
Future at the Point Guard position: Even if Derrick Rose were still in the fold, the Bulls would’ve been wise to invest in a future talent at the position. The Bulls can’t trust Jose Calderon, who’s on the downslope of his career, and Jerian Grant, who isn’t a starter, going forward. The Bulls could think of making a play for Mike Conley, but he could prove to be too expensive. They could look at cheaper, temporary options such as Deron Williams, who would be an instant favorite, or possibly even Rajon Rondo, and draft a future lead guard later.
Depth at the 3-spot: Tony Snell hasn’t taken the next step, Mike Dunleavey is too old, and Doug McDermott is a talent offensive player but his defensive woes probably make him better used off the bench. The Bulls don’t have a legit option at the 3, and should look to add some competition at this position.
Future at the Center spot: Both Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are all but gone, and that leaves a gaping hole at center position. The Bulls should look into free agency to address it – maybe Bismack Biyombo or Dwight Howard, but most likely a cheaper option like Ian Mahinmi or Zaza Pachulia.