Bulls

NBA Draft Profile: Washington C Robert Upshaw

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NBA Draft Profile: Washington C Robert Upshaw

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

2014-15 stats:

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)

Projection:

Late first round to undrafted

Quotable:

"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.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.