Bosh Zooms to Top of Bulls Free Agent Wish List


Bosh Zooms to Top of Bulls Free Agent Wish List

Monday, March 15, 2010
5:53 PM

By Mark Schanowski

How about the normally mild-mannered Chris Bosh ripping his teammates for a lack of effort in a road loss to lowly Golden State over the weekend? Much like the Bulls, Toronto has unraveled late in the season, losing 9 of their last 10 games to fall to 8th in the East, just one game ahead of Vinny Del Negro's injury-decimated crew. If Toronto somehow manages to miss the playoffs after spending big money to add free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu last off-season, you can just about guarantee Bosh will be shopping for a new team come July 1st.

So, what are the Bulls' chances of adding arguably the best power forward in the game? Bosh said during All-Star weekend he's not really excited about going somewhere to be a supporting actor. He wondered openly why a team wouldn't want to build around him. So far, that hasn't worked in Toronto, but it could work in Chicago where the Bulls have an unselfish point guard in Derrick Rose, who cares a lot more about winning than how many points he scores. Bosh could go to Miami to join forces with Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade, but does that really fit with his stated goal of being the number one star? And, where will all the shot attempts come with Wade, Bosh and Michael Beasley all on the same team? The biggest concern for the Bulls right now is the possibility that Bosh okays a sign and trade deal to preserve his Larry Bird contract rights and get a 6 year package with the maximum allowable raises his current team (Toronto) is allowed to offer. Bosh is from the Dallas area, and we know Mark Cuban isn't afraid to spend big money. If Bosh wants to go home to continue his career with the Mavs, I'm sure Cuban will find a way to make it happen. Basically, a sign and trade deal would open up the entire NBA for Bosh, instead of the 6 to 8 teams that will have enough cap room to offer a max deal this summer.

I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to some of the e-mails and comments we received after my last post suggesting what the Bulls might do in the draft and free agent markets this summer.

I wonder why there's no talk of trying to go after David Lee. At 20ppg and about 12reb he's a good option I believe if we can't score any of the big names(Lebron, Wade, Bosh). Because of his post moves and shooting ability, and the fact that he is less injury prone, I would take him over even Boozer and Stoudemire. (posted by mdot1986)

There's no question David Lee is one of the NBA's most improved players, but you have to remember, his stats are inflated a bit because he plays in Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun offense. Lee will get a real nice, multi-year contract from some team, but I doubt it will be the Bulls. He's more of a perimeter player than a low-post scorer, and isn't the kind of offensive threat who will command a double team. I wouldn't rule him out completely, but my guess is he's more likely to re-sign with the Knicks or move across the river to join the Nets.
First and foremost, I kind of want to see what Asik can do before I decide what to do as far as a big goes. However, I'll take your word for it and say he is more of a perimeter big like Okur. I'm really hoping the Bulls go after Bosh this summer. Then Amare goes to Miami with Wade remaining there. LBJ stays in Cleveland. Leaving the Knicks possibly getting both Boozer and Joe Johnson. Highly unlikely I know, but if I'm Gar and Pax I want Bosh. He's a good locker room guy and can work both inside and outside to about 15feet. My Rankings for the low post guys are: Bosh, Boozer, then Amare. The only reason why Boozer is ahead of Amare is because Amare has had more injuries. Secondly, the draft is in June as we all know. In my opinion I haven't seen James Johnson shine like a 16th overall pick yet and the season is coming to an end. Now a lot of it is because Luol has been healthy, but we need a SF to come off the bench and be productive. Unfortunately JJ hasn't done that. That's why I want my first rounder to be either Damion James from TEXAS who is a double double machine or Stanley Robinson from UCONN who is a man beast and has great athleticism. I understand a 2guard is ideal, so with that said if the Bulls decide to go that route in the first round I like: Dominique Jones from South Florida, James Anderson from Oklahoma State and Scotty Hopson from Tennessee only if he decides to declare. Now the second round is semi-deep with talent, these are usually hit or misses. I like Dexter Pittman from Texas big inside presence can post up. I also like Jerome Jordan from Tulsa, who has a nice jump shot and can also post up. Other guys who I think would be good for the Bulls are: Wayne Chism from Tennessee and Matt Bouldin from Gonzaga. I think Willie Warren from OU would be a risk, because of his injury this year, but definitely has ability. I also believe that Greivis Vasquez from Maryland is a solid guy, but lacks strength when attacking the basket. Some prospects I would keep an eye on if they go undrafted would be: Jon Scheyer from Duke and A.J. Slaughter from Western Kentucky. (posted by drose01)

All kinds of great stuff here. Omer Asik is the 7 foot center from Turkey, who is expected to be with the Bulls next season. He's missed a lot of time this year because of injury, but the Bulls liked his potential enough to trade 3 second round draft picks to acquire his rights. As far as the draft, the Bulls already have Luol Deng and James Johnson at the small forward position, so barring a trade, I don't think they'll go after either Damion James or Stanley Robinson. The more I think about it, I wouldn't be surprised if they trade that 1st round pick to free up another couple million dollars of cap room. They could take a look at Jon Scheyer as a free agent since he's not expected to be drafted.
Would have liked to see the Bulls build on last year, but they went the other way. I truly do not want to see the Bulls draft a 2 guard, I think they need someone experienced to go with Rose, but not a max player. I would like to see the Bulls trade Deng over the summer for that slot and move the smaller Taj Gibson into Deng's spot. In my heart of hearts I would like to see the Bulls move Kirk and grab 2 of the 3 low post players that are available in free agency with one of them being Bosh. And if possible at all I would also like to see the Bulls grab a 3pt shooter. I know that's a lot, but hey we are posting dreams right. (posted by kdissaved)

Taj Gibson has done a real nice job as a rookie, but his skills really aren't suited for the small forward position. James Johnson has come on late in the season, and I think the Bulls want to give him a serious look next year for more minutes as a back-up to Deng. And, don't be surprised if the Bulls try to move Deng in sign-and-trade scenarios involving Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. If they're able to get a power forward in a sign-and-trade, they would then have enough cap room to try to sign All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson in free agency.

I think the Bulls should aim for the top free agents in LeBron and D-Wade, that way if they arent able to get them, their fall back options would be Bosh and Stoudemire, not too shabby. (Reggie - Chicago, IL)

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, the Bulls need to be careful not to spread themselves too thin in free agency. If they flirt with LeBron and D-Wade, and then try to get in late on either Bosh or Stoudemire, they might wind up with no one. I'm guessing they'll go hard after Bosh, with Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson as their back-up plans.

To me, I think the Bulls need to get rid of Vinny and hire a coach with more experience. Are there any coaches out there that you think might fit the bill and do you think Vinny will be gone?
(Wayne - St. John, IN)

Vinny won't be back to coach the Bulls next season. Don't be surprised if you hear Doug Collins' name re-surface as a possible replacement. He's good at turning teams around quickly, and the Bulls could have an attractive roster in place by the start of training camp. If Collins decides to stay in broadcasting, I'm sure we'll be hearing the usual names like Avery Johnson, Byron Scott and Jeff Van Gundy, but don't rule out the possibility of Celtics' defensive assistant whiz Tom Thibodeau getting his first chance to run an NBA team.

Thanks for all the great questions and comments. Please keep them coming. We'll try to acknowledge at least a few in our future posts. Don't forget you can watch the next three Bulls games on Comcast SportsNet. Kendall Gill and I will have all the pre and post game coverage.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Why the Bulls should bet on potential and draft Jaren Jackson Jr.

Why the Bulls should bet on potential and draft Jaren Jackson Jr.

Previous making the case for: Deandre Ayton | Luka Doncic | Mo Bamba | Marvin Bagley | Michael Porter Jr.

The modern NBA center is transforming. Last season 12 centers (as listed by Basketball Reference) made 50 or more 3-pointers, up from 10 players in 2016-17. The year before that, in 2015-16, five players accomplished that feat. Four players did it in 2014-15, three did it in 2013-14, and from 1990 to 2012 only Mehmet Okur (five times), Channing Frye (three times) and Byron Mullens (once) accomplished it.

Many of the names on that list, however, don’t exactly cut it on the other end. Sure, players like Joel Embiid, Al Horford and Marc Gasol are elite defenders. But repeat 50+ club members also include Karl-Anthony Towns, Marreese Speights, Kelly Olynyk, DeMarcus Cousins and Pero Antic. In other words, players Rudy Gobert won’t have to worry about contending with for Defensive Player of the Year.

But that former list – the Embiid, Horford, Gasol one – could add another member to it in the coming years. Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. was a rarity in college basketball this past season. He became the fifth player since 1992 to compile 35 or more 3-pointers and 100 or more blocks in a single season. Jackson had 38 and 106, respectively, and he accomplished those numbers in 764 minutes; the other four players on the list averaged 1,082 minutes, and the next fewest was Eddie Griffin’s 979 minutes in 2000-01.

Staying on those minutes, Jackson averaged 21.8 per game. That was decidedly fewer per game than Carter (26.9), Bamba (30.2), Ayton (33.5) and Bagley (33.9). We’ll get to why those minutes might be an issue, but for now it’s a reason to not be scared off by his lack of raw numbers (10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks).

Jackson’s block percentage (14.2%) ranked fourth in the country. That was higher than Bamba’s 12.9%, despite Bamba tallying 3.7 blocks per game. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Jackson was elite as a rim protector. He ranked in the 99th percentile in defensive possessions around the rim, allowing a mere 0.405 PPP. To put that number in context, freshmen Joel Embiid (0.844), Karl-Anthony Towns (0.8) and Myles Turner (0.667) weren’t even close. This past season Bamba allowed a whopping 1.088 PPP in that area, ranking in the 33rd percentile nationally.

Jackson plays bigger than the 236 pounds he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine. Here’s where we tell you he’ll need to add muscle like all 18-year-olds entering the NBA (oh, he’s also the youngest first-round prospect in the class). But defending the interior shouldn’t be a problem; his defensive rebounding rate wasn’t spectacular (19.8%), but the Spartans were a solid rebounding team as a whole – 76th nationally – so Jackson didn’t need to be great for the Spartans to succeed.

Jackson is going to defend at a high level, and in five years he’ll likely be known more for his defense than his offense. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have potential on that end of the floor. He ranked in the 91st percentile in points per possession (shooting 51 percent from the floor and 40 percent from deep helps), doing his most damage in the post (1.22 PPP, 98th percentile) and on jumpers, which were almost exclusively 3-point attempts (1.09 PPP, 81st). He was even a plus on pick-and-rolls, averaging 1.11 on a limited 27-possession sample size.

But not all 3-pointers are created equally. Consider that Jackson did almost all of his damage beyond the arc from the top of the key. He went 21-for-42 from straightaway, according to Synergy Sports, an absurd percentage on that many attempts. From all other areas he went 17-for-54. But in the pick-and-roll era, Jackson’s ability to pop out to the top of the key after setting a screen, and his confidence to take and make those shots, is priceless.

He needs polish on both ends. That seems like the easy way out, and a generic statement that could be made for all these prospects. But so much of his game is still raw; again, there’s a reason he played just 54 percent of all available minutes, and tallied 15 minutes in the Spartan’s NCAA Tournament loss to Syracuse.

He committed 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes (Bamba committed 4.3, for reference) and he shot just 48 percent on non-dunks inside 6 feet. His post numbers were good because he is nearly 7 feet tall and was always one of the most talented players on the floor. It’ll get tougher at the next level, and he’ll need to improve his feel around the rim as well as his post moves.

It doesn’t appear likely at this point, but there’s still a chance Jackson could fall to the Bulls at 7. We’ll safely assume Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic will be off the board. If Michael Porter’s medicals check out he should go in the top 5, and the other three selections could be Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba and Trae Young. Young is certainly the least likely of the bunch, but it only takes one team to fall in love with his potential. Orlando at No. 6 is a natural fit.

If he is there at No. 7, he needs to be the Bulls pick. Admittedly this would be less of a decision than some of the other picks we’ll get to in the coming weeks. Allowing Lauri Markkanen to roam the wings while Jackson set picks for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine would improve the offense drastically. And putting an elite rim protector next to Markkanen only covers up the latter’s weaknesses and, thus, makes him a better player.

If teams fall in love with Bamba’s length, Young’s shooting and Porter’s health, Jackson could be waiting when the Bulls pick at No. 7. He isn’t the wing the front office covets, but he is a two-way player with immense upside.

Wichita State's Landry Shamet could give Bulls backcourt versatility they desperately need


Wichita State's Landry Shamet could give Bulls backcourt versatility they desperately need

The Bulls are in need of talent. That much is clear after a 27-win campaign in which they finished ranked 28th in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They’ll add a pair of prospects next month, with two selections in the first round, and presumably take the next step in their rebuild. Talent is important, that can’t be overstated. The Bulls should stick to their board and take the best player available nine out of 10 times.

But as much as the Bulls need an influx of talent, versatility in the backcourt might be a close second. And while there isn’t really any player at No. 7 that would fit that bill – they could reach for Collin Sexton – there are a number of versatile guards, in a class dominated at the top by bigs, who could be there when the Bulls are on the clock at No. 22.

Meet Wichita State guard Landry Shamet. That classic NBA buzzword “versatile” is thrown around more often than ever before. The idea that a player can play multiple positions, can defend 1-3 or has the potential to learn two spots at the next level. Then there’s Shamet. He’s actually done it.

He arrived in Wichita as a shooting guard, the Shockers’ highest-rated recruit in nine years. A broken foot cost him all but three games of his freshman season, but he returned in 2016 and made an immediate impact, including a shift to point guard midway through the season; the move went seamlessly, as he led the Shockers in assists (3.3) and was 14th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.00). He matched Kentucky freshman point guard DeAaron Fox in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, scoring 20 points on 7 of 14 shooting in a loss.

He remained at point guard in his sophomore season and dominated, earning an honorable mention All-American nod while leading the team in points (14.9) assists (5.2), and 3-pointers (2.6) per game for a Shockers team ranked in the top 25 all year, and as high as No. 3 in December.

He had the ball in his hands plenty at Wichita State, but his shooting hardly suffered. A point guard in name, his shooting may be his best attribute. In his final two seasons Shamet shot 44.1 percent from deep on 354 attempts. He was the nation’s best spot-up shooter when Greg Marshall used him off the ball, and made multiple 3-pointers in 23 of 32 games.

His versatility can best be explained as such: He was the only player in the country – and just the 13th since 1992 – to average at least five assists, 2.5 3-pointers per game and shoot 44 percent from deep. The 6-foot-5 guard brings shooting, facilitating and length defensively to the table. It’s no cliché.

“I feel like I can step in and do whatever a coach needs me to do, whether it’s playing on the ball being a facilitator/playmaker/initiating offense, or a guy you’ve got to honor off the ball (as) a spot-up shooter,” Shamet said Friday at the NBA Draft Combine.

He struggled shooting in the 5-on-5 scrimmages over the two-day span, but also noted that he accomplished his main goal of defending well. His 6-foot-7 wingspan will be looked down upon in an era where measurements mean more than ever, but he also had a 39-inch max vertical (12th best) and a 3.11 three-quarters court sprint (10th best).

He admitted he’s more athletic than some give him credit for – as his vertical would suggest – but that his game is more “cerebral” and making the right decisions.

“I feel like I have a high IQ, a cerebral player,” he said. “I’m not going to wow you with crossing people up and doing things that a lot of the guys in the limelight do all the time. I feel like I’m a solid player, pretty steady across the board.”

It’s a skill set the Bulls could use. His numbers and measurements look similar to Denzel Valentine, who has drawn mixed reviews in two NBA seasons and is really the closest thing the Bulls have to a “versatile” guard; Valentine was one of 21 players with 140+ 3-pointers and 240+ assists, 12 of whom were All-Stars.

Shamet also has seven inches of vertical leap and a quicker sprint as far as Combine times are concerned, and he’s a more natural fit as a point guard than Valentine. Shamet said two players whose games he studies include Malcolm Brogdon, a less-than-flashy guard who won 2017 Rookie of the Year making just about every correct play. Brogdon possesses the same sneaky athleticism – ask LeBron James – has shot 40 percent from deep in two NBA seasons and has a 2.62 A/TO ratio.

“You don’t want to step out of your comfort zone and be somebody you’re not, so out here I’m trying to be me, be solid, (and) make the right play all the time,” he said. “I don’t rely on my athleticism, I like to think the game. So I try to just be myself.”

Kris Dunn is cemented as a point guard for the Bulls’ future, and the front office sang Cameron Payne’s praises at season’s end, though he’ll be a free agent after next season. But Dunn, Payne and Jerian Grant combined to shoot 33.6 percent from deep, and even Payne’s 38.5 percent shooting came in a limited, 25-game span.

Shamet wouldn’t be a home-run pick, and certainly not a sexy one. Those picks have burned the Bulls in the past with players like Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and even Valentine. Shamet is 21 years old and has had two major foot surgeries. But the skill set is one the Bulls have needed for some time. And in a draft where the Bulls will be searching for talent, adding a player who fits the bill as a team need as well makes sense.