In selecting Tony Snell and Erik Murphy, the Bulls clearly emphasized improving one of their chief weaknesses -- outside shooting -- in Thursday night's NBA Draft.
The pair were certainly candidates at the picks where they were tabbed (Snell went 20th overall and Murphy, a second-rounder, was the 49th choice), but for a team likely returning the majority of their core and with aspirations to contend for a championship in 2014, the question of whether they can be contributors, either immediately or in the future, is significant.
Snell, a long, athletic and skilled wing, has a considerable amount of upside and if his production shows signs of one day consistently matching his talent, it's easy to envision him being a rotation player in time. Equipped with solid ball skills, deep shooting range, fluid athleticism and the potential to be a good defender, regardless of whether All-Star small forward Luol Deng is in Chicago beyond next season, there is hope that Snell is a part of the team's future, particularly if he adds some bulk to his slender frame, plays at a high level of intensity, develops defensively and most importantly, emerges as an deadly perimeter marksman.
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In Murphy's case, the fact that he brings a different dimension to the table than the Bulls' other big men, diversifying a rugged group with his three-point range, makes him an intriguing possibility for a second-round pick. Joakim Noah's fellow Florida Gator has decent size and post moves, but isn't a traditional, interior-oriented big man -- Murphy isn't known as a outstanding defender or rebounder and could struggle with stronger, quicker and more athletic opponents -- so while he'll have to strive to improve his deficiencies, if he can duplicate his college success as a knockdown shooter.
While there were other players on the board when Snell and to some degree, even Murphy, who could be looked at as surer bets for future NBA success, by targeting players to address a specific need, the Bulls' statement was obvious and can only be evaluated down the road.
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The duo's first opportunity to prove themselves will come in next month's NBA summer league in Las Vegas, where they will play for a Bulls team featuring last year's first-round pick, Marquis Teague and reserve big man Malcolm Thomas (amongst others, such as former Iowa State guard Charles Boozer, the brother of Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer -- as first reported by Hoops World's Alex Kennedy -- as well as 2013 training-camp invite Ryan Allen, the younger brother of Chicago native Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies), again coached by Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin.