Bulls Draft: Point guard breakdown


Bulls Draft: Point guard breakdown

When Derrick Rose went driving to the basket with less than 90 seconds left in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Bulls fans were expecting to see another acrobatic lay-in for the reigning MVPs 24th and 25 points of the afternoon.

Perhaps a kick-out to Kyle Korver for Roses 10th assist. What fans weren't expecting was to see Rose crumble to the ground shortly after landing awkwardly on his left leg, silencing the sellout crowd at the United Center.

The result was a torn ACL, and 12 days later, the Bulls had lost in six games to the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. It was an abrupt end to Roses banged-up season, but he still managed to average 21.8 points and 7.9 assists in 39 games.

Spot starter C.J. Watson filled in well in Roses absence, averaging 11.3 points and 4.6 assists per game in 25 starts. John Lucas III also saw an increase in playing time, and finished with averages of 7.5 points and 2.2 assists in 49 games. Mike James saw limited action in 11 games.

Bulls history

Since 2000, the Bulls have made 29 draft selections. They have spent five of those selections on point guards: 2000: Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut); 2002: Jay Williams (Duke); 2003: Kirk Hinrich (Kansas); 2004: Chris Duhon (Duke); 2008: Derrick Rose (Memphis).

What the Bulls need in a point guard:

As is the case for any Tom Thibodeau-coached player, a Bulls point guard will get after it on the defensive end. The Bench Mob prides itself on stout defensive play, and given Roses eventual return to the lineup, any draft pick will need to lock down the opposing teams second unit point guard. A distributor, compared to a shoot-first point guard like C.J. Watson, would also work as a change-of-pace guard in the Bulls lineup.

Top 15 2012 Draft prospects
1. Damian Lillard, Weber State The two-time Big Sky Player of the Year (2010, 2012) has shot his way into the Lottery, perhaps as high as No. 6 to the Portland Trail Blazers.

2. Dion Waiters, Syrcause The Big Easts Sixth Man of the Year would have started on the majority of teams in the country -- including Syracuse -- if he didnt fit his role so well off the bench. But make no mistake; hell be starting in the Association.
3. Kendall Marshall, North Carolina Arguably the nations best passer, a fractured right wrist in the NCAA Tournament hasnt hurt the leftys status as a potential Lottery selection.

4. Tony Wroten Jr., Washington The tallest of the top point guard prospects, the 6-foot-5 Wroten can score from anywhere and is just 19 years old.
5. Marquis Teague, Kentucky Sometimes the forgotten freshman on the National Champion Wildcats, Teague progressed as the season went along, peaking in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament where he scored 24 points and handed out seven assists.

6. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas The most experienced point guard on this list, Taylor played at least 26 minutes per game in each of his four seasons with the Jayhawks.

7. Scott Machado, Iona The court general of one of college basketballs most high-powered offenses, Machado led the country with 9.9 assists per game.
8. J'Covan Brown, Texas The Longhorns' leading scorer a year ago (20.1 points) has an excellent jump shot and can find open shooters when he drives.

9. Tu Holloway, Xavier Built more like an NFL fullback than an NBA point guard, Holloway had a disappointing senior season after being named as a Third Team All-American his junior year.
10. Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette A shooting guard-turned-point guard, Johnson-Odom did 17 reps on the bench press and had a combine-high 41-inch maximum vertical jump. He was an Honorable Mention All-American this past year.

11. Dee Bost, Mississippi State His shooting is a concern (39.2 percent from the field last year), but Bost is an excellent passer and one of the best defending point guards in this years class.


Rose is reportedly ahead of schedule with his rehab, but is still expected to miss a good portion of the 2012-13 season. The Bulls will not be able to replace Rose's leadership or athleticism, let alone his 21.8 points or 7.9 assists per game. But they will need to somehow fill the void left in his absence at the point guard position.

The Bulls have been linked to rumors as a team looking to trade into the Lottery, but with Rose expected to make a full recovery, it wouldn't make much sense for Gar Forman to spend an early pick on a future starting point guard, should they trade up into the top-10.

If they stay at No. 29, Lillard and Marshall would be off the board. Wroten Jr. and Teague would likely be gone, as well. Taylor would be an intriguing selection, given his experience and ability to come in and play right away. The Bulls had success with another former Jayhawk point guard in Hinrich, so a Kansas alum in Taylor may be the answer.

Machado would give the Bulls a pass-first option at the point, different from Rose or Watson, but at just 6-foot-1, his defense is a question mark. If they trade back into the second round, Brown, Johnson-Odom and Bost would all be good fits who could learn under Roses tutelage.

27 Days to Opening Night: Lauri Markkanen's best rookie Game Score

27 Days to Opening Night: Lauri Markkanen's best rookie Game Score

The performance matched the venue.

Lauri Markkanen made quite the impression in his first game at Madison Square Garden, tallying 33 points (a career-best), 10 rebounds, eight 3-pointers and a pair of steals.

Markkanen made 10 of 22 from the field and went 8-for-15 from beyond the arc. He also made all five of his free throws and threw a hammer down on Enes Kanter.

It was arguably his best game of the year, and Basketball Reference’s Game Score agreed. We’ll safely assume he tops that at some time this season.

Previous Countdown to Opening Night posts:

38. Bobby Portis' career-high in points

37. Michael Jordan's career-best PPG in 1987

36. Lauri Markkanen's 3-point FG% as a rookie

35. Michael Jordan's PPG in 1988, his first MVP season

34. Wendell Carter

33. Scottie Pippen

32. Kris Dunn

31. Michael Jordan's 50-point games

30. Michael Jordan's career scoring average

29. Teams afraid of Zach LaVine putting them on a poster

28. Bulls' over-under win total in Las Vegas

Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks


Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks

That was quick. 

Hours after we wrote how Adam Boqvist has been flying under the radar this training camp because his NHL timeline could still be 2-3 years away — something even he admitted after the Blackhawks drafted him No. 8 overall in June — he put on a strong showing in his second preseason game on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings playing on the top pairing and leading the team in ice time (22:15). 

His offensive skill is evident. So is his general skating ability. What really stood out was how he defended, particularly a 1-on-1 rush against the speedy Andreas Athanasiou.

This is the play that got Blackhawks fans excited. This is a player who has the ability to speed up his timeline if he takes advantage of this next year of development, which won’t begin in London on Friday after coach Joel Quenneville told reporters following Thursday’s contest that his debut with the Knights in the OHL is being put on hold because they want a longer look at him.

In fact, Quenneville didn’t rule out the possibility of Boqvist making the Blackhawks straight out of camp.

"I think as we've gone through camp and see him play through the games, we're watching him," Quenneville said. "We've been pleased with him. It's almost like, when you come to camp, we want to watch these guys. They make those decisions for us with how they play and it's been a positive one."

But that doesn’t mean he’d necessarily stick around for the full season.

Because he’s 18 years of age, Boqvist is eligible to play in up to nine games before getting sent to his respective junior team without burning the first year of his entry-level deal. He’s a slide candidate next year as well. It’s what the Blackhawks did with Ryan Hartman, who appeared in five games in 2014-15 and three games in 2015-16 before securing a full-time spot in 2016-17. That's the likely scenario if it were to reach that point.

It's hard to imagine the Blackhawks breaking in each of their top-two defensive prospects in Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist at the same time. And for Boqvist, you certainly don't want to waste any years of his entry-level contract when he could be using that time to truly develop so he could hit the ground running when he does enter the league on a full-time basis.

Perhaps the back injury to Connor Murphy, who is expected to be out until December, allowed the Blackhawks to view Boqvist's situation in a wider lense. Or maybe this was the plan all along.

Regardless, the Blackhawks may get a glimpse of the future quicker than they thought and it’s added a little excitement to training camp and the anticipation of Opening Day.