Bulls

Breaking down NBA Draft prospects outside the top 5

Breaking down NBA Draft prospects outside the top 5

When Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson announced the Bulls would be looking to build through the draft after trading All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves last June, the expectation was the roster would be pared down to a level that would almost guarantee a top 5 selection in 2018. The Bulls bought out the option on Rajon Rondo’s contract and did the same with Dwyane Wade just before the start of training camp. That left the roster without a single player over the age of 30 and sorely lacking in NBA experience.

Through the first six weeks of the season, everything was going according to plan. The Bulls played hard and were competitive in most games, but their lack of experience kept them from getting many wins. A 10-game losing streak starting in late November dropped their record to 3-20, easily the worst in the league.

But then Niko Mirotic and David Nwaba returned from injuries and the team found its mojo. 10 wins in 12 games allowed the Bulls to leapfrog a handful of teams in the standings, and all of a sudden that top 5 pick doesn’t look like a sure thing anymore.

Unless the Bulls get lucky in the draft lottery and jump into the top 3, they probably won’t get a shot at franchise changing talents like Duke forward Marvin Bagley, III, Arizona center Deandre Ayton, international star Luka Doncic or Oklahoma point guard Trae Young (who looks like a Steph Curry clone).

Still, all is not lost. The 2018 draft appears to have star potential through the top 10 picks, and remember two of the top rookies this season, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell (No. 13) and the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma (No. 27) were selected even later than that.

Check out the video for a look at which players the Bulls might be interested in if their pick falls outside of the Top 5.

Bulls provide update on Kris Dunn recovery timeline from knee injury

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USA Today

Bulls provide update on Kris Dunn recovery timeline from knee injury

Just one day after Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. provided cautiously optimistic updates on their injury recoveries, the Bulls took a hit.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Kris Dunn will continue his current rehabilitation schedule on his right MCL for four to six weeks before "progressing to functional training" and determining if "additional treatment" is required (i.e. reevaluation). That timeline is a result of an MRI and reexamination conducted on Dunn's knee on Feb. 14.

Dunn sprained his right MCL 13 seconds into a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 31. The Bulls' defensive efficiency and playoff chances have plummeted since that time, and this news confirms suspicions that an extended absence would be in the cards.

To that point: With about two months remaining in the regular season, a four-to-six week reevaluation timeline casts serious doubt on whether Dunn will return at all this year — a possibility the Bulls have already been preparing for.

Dunn is set to his restricted free agency this offseason, and has proven immensely valuable to the Bulls in his third season with the team. Before going down, Dunn was second in the NBA in total steals and the Bulls owned the seventh-rated defense in the league.

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Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

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USA Today

Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

In case you forgot, Jim Boylen once worked for Rudy Tomjanovich. In fact, the former Rockets coach gave Boylen his NBA start, hiring him as an assistant coach and video coordinator way back in 1992.

Boylen saw first-hand the coaching chops and commitment Tomjanovich displayed as the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles while Michael Jordan was playing baseball in the mid-1990s. So it's beyond loyalty when Boylen says he believes, like many others, that Tomjanovich belongs in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The organization named Tomjanovich a finalist over All-Star weekend in Chicago.

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett highlight Hall of Fame finalists]

"He's deserving," Boylen said. "I don't know why he's not in there yet. It doesn't make sense to me. Two championships, a gold medal."

That's a reference to Tomjanovich coaching USA Basketball's gold-medal winning team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tomjanovich is an occasional visitor to the Advocate Center to watch Boylen.

"What he did with those Rockets teams and his playoff games — sixth seed in '95 — nobody's duplicated that. To win it from the sixth seed, play on the road like we did," Boylen said. "He has an unbelievable record in elimination games, which I think is a true test of your coaching and being able to communicate your message. I think he's getting in."

Does Boylen possess inside information?

"No," Boylen said, smiling. "He's due."

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