Bulls casting wide net at NBA's draft combine

Bulls casting wide net at NBA's draft combine
May 16, 2014, 10:00 am
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While it's not prudent to read too much into which prospects are interviewing with which teams during the NBA’s ongoing draft combine here in Chicago, the fact that the Bulls—equipped with two selections in the middle of the first round next month, which behooves them even as elite players don’t partake in all of the drills at the event or in some cases, even attend it—are so conveniently located does give them some advantage on the competition, as far as setting up subsequent workouts with potential targets.

That said, there’s multiple directions the organization could go in June’s 2014 NBA Draft, including trading one or both picks, and as always, there’s a wide range of players the organization is doing their diligence on. But Thursday, several feasible prospects said the Bulls had been in contact with them or were on their schedule, and a few seemed excited about it.

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“Most definitely, especially with Derrick [Rose] coming back, being able to push the ball and find shooters. I think that’s something they lacked this year and I can come in right away, and knock down shots for them,” said Duke swingman Rodney Hood, a projected mid-first round pick who plans to meet with the Bulls on Friday, when asked whether he believes he’d be a good fit in Chicago. “Shooting the ball is my staple and my size for my position. I think I can come in and play the two or the three. It really doesn’t matter. But shooting the ball, stretching the floor and being able to score the ball, and defending multiple positions. But the only thing I need to work on is my body. I think once my body continues to get right, my game will take off.

“Yeah, it felt pretty good. Just getting repetitions. A little jitters out there, but once I got going, I was knocking down shots,” the 6-foot-8 wing continued. “Shoot the ball is what I do best, but I think I do everything pretty much well. There’s certain things I’ve got to work on. Getting lower, learning how to play lower, because people are going to try to bump me, especially my first couple years. But I’m adjusting well. I’ve been working real hard down at IMG [a Florida training facility], getting my body right and it’s been a good adjustment.”

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An otherwise quiet Gary Harris, one of the top shooting-guard prospects in the draft, piped up a bit when posed with the same question, slanted more to the Michigan State product’s defensive prowess.

“I feel like I could fit right in. they have a good situation there and if I was fortunate enough to step in with that program, I feel like it would be great,” explained Harris, who said he met with the team Wednesday. “Definitely defensive-minded. What were they, the No. 1 defense in the NBA last year, or this year? So my game definitely appeals to that team.”

Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels, an athletic wing known mostly for his defensive prowess, is a player who would seem to fit the Bulls’ current mold.

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“I feel like I could bring a defensive presence to the team, guard multiple positions and a pretty good spot-up shooter,” he explained. “I feel like I could fit them pretty well. They’re a great defensive team and I feel like if I get drafted there, I could bring another defensive presence to the team.”

Other players who acknowledged either sitting down with the Bulls in Chicago, having it on their schedule or have plans to work out at the Berto Center after the event ends included UCLA’s Zach LaVine, arguably the most impressive player to work out at Quest Multiplex on Thursday, promising Kentucky swingman James Young, Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas, Wichita State standout Cleanthony Early, D-League scorer P.J. Hairston and Creighton star Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer and national player of the year this past season in college basketball.