Bulls

NBA Draft Profile: Michigan State F Branden Dawson

branden-dawson-nba-draft-profile-slide-for-06-22.png

NBA Draft Profile: Michigan State F Branden Dawson

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.

Branden Dawson, F, Michigan State

6'7" | 230 lbs. | 22 years old

2014-15 stats:

11.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.2 steals, 53.5 field-goal percentage

Projection:

Late second round/undrafted

Quotable:

"A lot of coaches and GMs were concerned about my position, going from the 4 to the 3, but I played the 3 my freshman and sophomore season. And we had to make that adjustment of me going to the 4 because of the team. I've been working on things as far as my weaknesses, my ballhandling, decision making, shooting. I just want to show people that I'm comfortable playing the 3. The 3 for me is not something that I've never been or never played."

Fit for the Bulls:

Size, size, size. That's the No. 1 topic of conversation when it comes to Dawson and his NBA prospects because the 6-foot-7 power forward who led the Big Ten in rebounding last season is telling NBA teams he wants to be a small forward. And that's a smart move because as impressive a big man and rebounder as he was the last two seasons at Michigan State, his 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame likely won't cut it as an NBA power forward. The problem, though, is that Dawson seems to be a much better power forward than a small forward, he's just trapped in a small forward's body. His rebounding and defensive effort — be it stripping the ball or blocking shots on the perimeter — were terrific in college. His offense, though, left a lot to be desired. He came through by scoring inside and hitting floaters in the paint, but among the trees at the NBA level, those ways of scoring the basketball might not work for the 6-foot-7 Dawson. That'll likely scare plenty of NBA teams away this week. As for the Bulls, a small forward is probably going to be on their wish list, but with new head coach Fred Hoiberg brought in to better the offense, it would make sense that the Bulls wouldn't look to Dawson, who has a bunch of offensive question marks.

LeBron James tabs Black Panther director Ryan Coogler for 'Space Jam 2'

sp2.jpg
USA TODAY

LeBron James tabs Black Panther director Ryan Coogler for 'Space Jam 2'

This week, ESPN reported that the LeBron James and Maverick Carter-led Springhill Entertainment group tabbed "Black Panther" director/producer Ryan Coogler to produce "Space Jam 2" with Terence Nance set to direct. The information was also distributed by Springhill Entertainment via a photo on Twitter:

A sequel to the original Space Jam has been rumored for quite some time, especially following Springhill Entertainment signing a deal with Warner Bros. back in 2015. But this is the first time that there has been concrete announcements making the long-rumored sequel a reality.

James seems to be quite excited, and heavily involved in the film's production, and a source close to ESPN even said that James personally recruited Coogler to work on 'Space Jam 2'.

There are no confirmations on any other NBA players who will be in the movie. But speculation is running rampant, and some have even stated players who they think should star alongside James in the sequel to the late '90s, Michael Jordan-led classic:

And some more light-hearted, joking responses as well:

The 'Space Jam 2' movie will be interesting, as James has been sure to try to calm down those who think the project is simply a money-grab. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he said that the movie is not just about he and the Looney Tunes getting together.  James stated, "It's so much bigger. I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people."

'Space Jam 2' has no release date yet, but is scheduled to begin shooting in the summer of 2019.

Surprise team in the East?: Bobby Portis compares Bulls to '17-'18 Pacers

3-4_bobby_portis_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Surprise team in the East?: Bobby Portis compares Bulls to '17-'18 Pacers

The Bulls haven't garnered much respect in the national media. And on top of that, Las Vegas definitely has already put the Bulls out of the running for a playoff spot, pegging them for 27.5 wins. But when it comes to doubting the Bulls, count Bobby Portis out. 

In an appearance on the Locked on Bulls Podcast last week, Portis stated that the Bulls would benefit from defined roles and was very confident in the team's outlook.

He went on to say that the Bulls will be "really good" and that the reason the team didn't win was because they "never got a chance to gel as one cohesive unit".

Portis compared this current Bulls team to an upstart Eastern Conference squad from last season.

He said, "There's always a surprise team, I feel like last year the Pacers were the, surprise team in the East, y'know? Maybe that can be us this year."

Portis is correct in the assessment that more practice time together as a whole unit will have a positive effect on the team. LaVine especially, should be able to hit the ground running after playing 24 games with the Bulls last year and now having a full training camp and preseason under his belt as well. And Portis himself, no longer worried about competing for a starting job, should continue to bring high-energy, scoring and rebounding to lead the bench unit. 

But his comparison of this year's Bulls team to the '17-'18 Pacers is perhaps the most intriguing.

The Pacers surprise season last year was spurred on by the excellent play of Victor Oladipo, the 2018 NBA Most Improved Player. If one of LaVine, Jabari Parker, Markkanen, Dunn or even Portis himself, can make a jump of this nature into (or near) All-Star status, then of course the sky's the limit for the '18-'19 Bulls. 

Near the end of the Portis interview on Locked on Bulls, Portis is asked to finish the sentence "The Chicago Bulls are going to win BLANK games this season." Portis responded that the Bulls are going to "win as many games as we can and we gonna make the playoffs."

Hopefully the rest of the Bulls are as confident as Portis. It could be just the attitude the team needs to get off to a fast start.