Bulls

Bulls Draft: Small forward breakdown

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Bulls Draft: Small forward breakdown

Luol Deng was asked to shoulder a heavy load during Derrick Rose's injury-plagued 2011-12 season, and the veteran responded. He was named to the All Star team for the first time and was also named as a second team All-Defense member. He continued his improvement on the perimeter, played lockdown defense and acted as the Bulls go-to scorer in the 27 regular season games Rose missed.
Brewer was technically pegged in as the starting shooting guard 38 games this year, but his role was just as much on the wing as a forward as it was as a guard. He played well as a defensive stopper, but struggled offensively.
Last year's first round draft pick Jimmy Butler played a similar role to Brewer, but was stuck behind Deng, Brewer and Korver in the rotation.
BULLS HISTORY
Since 2000, the Bulls have made 29 draft selections. They spent five of those selections on samll forwards: 2001: Trenton Hassell (Austin Peay), Sean Lampley (California); 2006: Rodney Carney (Memphis); 2009: James Johnson (Wake Forest); 2011: Jimmy Butler (Marquette)
WHAT THE BULLS NEED IN A SMALL FORWARD
Should Deng stay in Chicago, the Bulls have a scorer on the wing for the foreseeable future. But it wouldn't hurt to add another scorer to the second unit, especially when Deng sits post-wrist surgery. Butler and Brewer bring defensive intensity, so looking for someone who can score and has a little size to go with it would help give a balance to go with Butler.
TOP 11 2012 DRAFT PROSPECTS

1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky -- His only real weakness is an inconsistent jump shot, but he is one of the best defenders in the entire draft and has excellent size.
2. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina -- The ACC's third leading scorer last year has impressive size and can play multiple positions at the next level.
3. Moe Harkless, St. John's -- Despite being quite raw as a prospect, Harkless has as much upside as any small forward in this year's class.
4. Royce White, Iowa State -- Questions about his anxiety have all but vanished, and his stock has increased from a borderline first round pick to a potential lottery pick.
5. Quincy Miller, Baylor -- A torn ACL his senior year of high school set him back, but Miller still has plenty of upside and could be a steal in the first round.
6. Draymond Green, Michigan State -- He isn't the quickest player in the draft, but the 6-foot-8 Green can shoot, rebound, pass and dribble.
7. Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt -- The 6-foot-7 wing shot better than 49 percent in three of his four seasons with the Commodores, and is an above average rebounder and defender.
8. Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech -- The little-known prospect averaged 21.1 points and shot better than 41 percent from beyond the arc in his senior season.
9. Kevin Jones, West Virginia -- The runner-up to Jae Crowder for Big East Player of the Year, Jones averaged a double-double (20.1 points, 11.1 rebounds) and shot 50.9 percent from the field.
10. Darius Miller, Kentucky -- The sixth man on Kentucky's national championship team, Miller brings veteran leadership and an above average outside shot to the table.
11. Jae Crowder, Marquette -- Crowder doesn't have a real position, but his ability to rebound and shoot from outside should find him a roster spot.
ANALYSIS
Rumors of the Bulls looking to trade into the lottery have stemmed around giving up Deng, which would leave a void at small forward. The Bulls, of course, would have a high pick to fill that void, and while Kidd-Gilchrist and Barnes are expected to be off the board within the first five picks, Harkless or White would be intriguing prospects, depending on where the Bulls move up to (if they move up).
Even if Deng stays, his scheduled wrist surgery after the Olympics will cause him to miss substantial time into the 2012-13 season. With his 5 million contract, Brewer's status is up in the air. Butler is a cheap option who could be asked to step into a larger role next year.
If the Bulls stay in the No. 29 slot, any one of Miller, Taylor or Green would be an intriguing pick, as the latter two would be able to come in and play right away.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

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AP

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."