As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft we will provide profiles of more than 60 prospects, including video interviews with each player, what they're saying leading up to draft day as well as their potential fit on the Bulls.
Robert Upshaw, C, Washington
7'0" | 258 lbs. | 21 years old
10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 59.3 FG%, 24.9 minutes, 19 games (kicked off team for violation of team rules)
Late first round to undrafted
"I have a clear understanding of what’s gone on in my life. And unlike most people in my situation I’ve been able to identify the wrongs and I’m able to go through the experiences and I’ve been able to learn from them. And everybody makes mistakes, regardless if they were the mistakes I made or the mistakes I’m going to make in life. At the end of the day I’ve learned and I’ve made my mistakes but I’m still going."
Rotoworld mock draft selection:
27. LA Lakers – Robert Upshaw, C, Washington: There are plenty of red flags with Upshaw after being kicked off a couple teams in college, and the team that drafts him will have to be sure to surround him with a top-notch support system. But he’s also big enough and solid enough defensively that he should be able to find a spot in the league, assuming he can stay out of trouble.
Fit for the Bulls:
If Upshaw didn't have so many red flags - he was kicked off both Fresno State and Washington for reportedly failing drug tests - he probably would be a lottery pick. A 7-footer with elite shot-blocking skills and an NBA-ready frame, Upshaw has the makings of a perfect complement to Pau Gasol on the second unit. Fred Hoiberg took in some troubled kids at Iowa State, so he's no stranger to getting the most out of players who otherwise wouldn't have received a shot. He's certainly good enough to be selected at No. 22 and he'll likely be available. The Bulls just need to figure out if the potential headache is worth having that second unit anchor who can defend the rim, rebound well and provide some inside scoring. He's easily the biggest wild card in the draft.
Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.
NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.
Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.
He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.
Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.
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.