Depending on the fine-tuning of their prospects list in the final days before Thursdays start of the 2012 draft, the Bears could well be positioned for a trade down from No. 19 and still landing an impact player to come in and start as a rookie.The key is in the number of players deemed both worthy of the pick involved, in this case one in the difficult mid range of the draft, and who might be available at a later point in the first round in particular.I would say right now, were working on a core of about seven players, said Bearsgeneral managerPhil Emery on Monday.That core will have players ranked according to the Bears standards of measure,including players who will be gone by No. 19 and could alsoshrink as the day approaches.Emery agreed that 2012 is good for wide receivers, defensive ends and tackles, in addition to tackles who could be moved into guard in the NFL.Since defensive end has been established as a priority, this points to a desirable situation in which a target area also happens to be one deep in quality players.That also shapes up as a scenario in which the Bears could deal down, depending upon how many of their core targets are still available when their turn comes at No. 19.Witha tiny handful of core players, the pressure could increase for trading up to get one.If the Bears consider a core of seven players to be of sufficient quality for No. 19, those become even better bargains if they could deal back a couple of picks and get one of their core.But that requires precise measuring.When you move back, you have to have a list of players that you feel good enough about, and a number of players, that the worst case, Emery said.The doomsday thing is you move back four spots. OK. If you were in that slot and you move back you get the fourth or fifth player in that sequence; you better feel good about that player.Because all those guys can be taken; every one of them. And I have been in a trade situation that the third one out of three that we had -- the first guy got taken where we moved out of, the second went and then we got the third one. You have to feel really good about that third player on that list because that could be the one you end up with.With a core of seven, the Bears are in a potentially very good position to feel good when they are on the clock Thursday.
It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.
Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.
Then, he bailed the Bulls out.
Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.
It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old.
"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."
Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.
"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."
Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.
"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."
He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.
"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."
Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.
"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."
Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.
"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."
Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.
Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.
But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.
"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."
Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.
"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."
"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."
It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.
But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.
"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."