Bulls

How did Bulls' rivals fare in NBA Draft?

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How did Bulls' rivals fare in NBA Draft?

Whether youre in the camp that believes Bulls first-round draft pick Marquis Teague will make an instant impact and garner playing time as a backup point guard next season or view the former Kentucky point guard as a long-term value selection, theres no quibbling with the fact that he was arguably the best talent left on the board at No. 29 Thursday night.

Teague is unlikely to individually affect the Bulls fortunes very significantly next season, but how many rookies on upper-echelon, veteran-laden teams, typically selecting near the bottom of the first round, do?

The defending champion Heat basically took a mulligan, trading the rights to 27th overall pick Arnett Moultrie, a big man out of Mississippi State regarded as a lottery-level talent, to Philadelphia and ending up with lightly-regarded LSU center Justin Hamilton, who may be bound for Europe.

Meanwhile, Finals opponent Oklahoma City took free-falling Baylor forward Perry Jonesviewed as a top-five talent, his perceived lack of a high motor and reported knee issues prior to the draft, severely dropped his stocka big-time talent who will have little pressure on him to produce immediately and excellent role models in high-level young teammates like three-time league scoring champ Kevin Durant, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, Sixth Man of the Year James Harden and league-leading shot-blocker Serge Ibaka.

The aforementioned 76ers, though facing some tough decisions in free agency with starting center Spencer Hawes and sixth man Lou Williams, the teams leading scorer, entering free agencynot to mention rookie revelation Lavoy Allen, as well as annual trade rumors surrounding All-Star swingman Andre Iguodalaadded some young firepower to an already young and athletic team with not only Moultrie, who could challenge for a starting role, but St. Johns small forward Maurice Harkless who still needs to add polish, strength and a semblance of an outside jumper, yet could also see plenty of action as a rookie.

Boston is another Eastern Conference playoff team that had a successful draft night, as the Celtics acquired productive Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger, whose bad back caused him to slip, and Syracuse center Fab Melo, giving them size and defense; team top exec Danny Ainges smart draft could have been part of the reason future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett reportedly opted to sign a three-year, 34-million deal instead of retiring, although the squad could lose sharpshooter Ray Allen in free agency.

As far as the Bulls Central Division rivals, Cleveland was bold in drafting Syracuse guard Dion Waiters fourth overall as a backcourt partner for reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, then trading for North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, while Detroit got a potential steal with Connecticuts Andre Drummond at No. 9, as the athletic center, the second-youngest player in the draft, could form a potent post duo with Greg Monroewho can move to his natural power-forward spotand while he could take years to fully realize his potential, should be able to help the Pistons as a rebounder and defensive presence.

On the other hand, Indiana made puzzling moves for a team on the verge of contending (perhaps due to the Pacers front-office shake-up), reaching for Duke big man Miles Plumlee, a middling college player if a superb athlete, with the likes of Jones and Moultrie still on the board, then trading up for UC-Santa Barbara shooting guard Orlando Johnson in the second round, while Milwaukee, which had traded down with Houston and acquired center Samuel Dalembert, added to a stable of young, defensive-minded big men by adding North Carolinas John Henson to a group that already includes Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders, though Kentucky shooting guard Doron Lamb in the second round could be a sleeper pick.

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. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: