Bulls

Vincent Goodwill's 2015 NBA mock draft

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Vincent Goodwill's 2015 NBA mock draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky: He said he hasn’t received a promise but it’s gonna happen. He’ll be paired as a cornerstone with Andrew Wiggins and begin a Towns-Okafor debate for years to come.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke: Has the more pro-ready skill set (offensive polish) than Towns but as custom, questions start flowing the closer we get to D-Day. Unless they’re trading for DeMarcus Cousins, it’s hard to see them passing him up to take a perimeter player.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State: If there was a talented but injured player available, the 76ers would take him and hit the reset button on the ever-present tanking process. But Russell can get to the basket with ease and in a point-guard centric league, they’d be foolish to pass him up.

4. New York Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia: Taking the best player available doesn’t fly much when an organizational philosophy is “who fits best in the triangle”. Here’s believing the Knicks buy into the hype about his versatility and shooting, because he’s an urban legend at this point.

5. Orlando Magic

Mario Hezonja, F, Croatia: Here’s where there’s some intrigue. If they didn’t have Elfrid Payton, could see them taking Emmanuel Mudiay but considering Hezonja has been noted as a good shooter and they need floor spacers with Payton and Victor Oladipo attacking the basket.

6. Sacramento Kings

Justise Winslow, SF, Duke: Improving shooter who can get better with more fluid mechanics. His end-to-end activity is something that could intrigue coach George Karl, but let’s be honest: nobody knows what the Kings are gonna do. Not even the Kings.

7. Denver Nuggets

Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China: If the Nuggets are indeed shopping point guard Ty Lawson, it means they’re open to selecting a point guard and he’s a sharp contrast from the incumbent. In other drafts he’d be a top four selection and still could, which is why the Nuggets won’t pass him up if he’s here.

8. Detroit Pistons

Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona: Word has it Johnson wants to go to Detroit or Miami, and the Pistons have a huge hole at small forward. His athleticism will be necessary in Motown, although you wonder if the Pistons will look for shooting in Sam Dekker or even Hezonja if he’s there.

9. Charlotte Hornets

Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky: Here’s where some fun really begins because the trades will start flowing. Charlotte will be listening but Booker is probably going to be the best shooter on the board at that time. The Hornets just moved Lance Stephenson and they need shooting around Al Jefferson.

10.  Miami Heat

Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin: Here’s a uneducated hunch, Miami will move this pick to Boston, a team desperate to move into the top 10. The Heat want more cap space to handle the Dwyane Wade saga, so dumping this will help. If they keep it, Dekker is an excellent shooter and floor-spacer for a team building around it, still.

11. Indiana Pacers

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky: Top-5 talent, big time questions. Orlando could take him as early as five but the questions about his maturity will cause him to slip. But Indiana, looking to replace the underwhelming Roy Hibbert, will take the chance and hope a veteran locker room keeps a talented defensive big on track.

12.  Utah Jazz

Myles Turner, PF, Texas: A stretch four can be what turns the Jazz into a playoff team, considering their strong finish to last season. But if they’re not in love with their point guard combo of Dante Exum-Trey Burke, could they take Cameron Payne from Murray State?

13. Phoenix Suns

Frank Kaminsky, PF, Wisconsin: A common question is how much room does Kaminsky have left to grow? True, but at worst he can be a solid backup for the Suns behind Alex Len and maybe even a complement to Len if they play big.  He can stretch the floor with decent NBA range.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky: A prime candidate to trade all the way out of the first round because of their already-complete roster, Lyles would still be a decent fit to a stacked frontline. He’s thought to go anywhere from 7 to 18, and he appears to either be a victim of fit or beneficiary of best talent on the board.

15. Atlanta Hawks

Kelly Oubre, F, Kansas: Surprising he’ll still be on the board but he’s athletic and long, which is what the Hawks could use given their lack of it on the wings. Can get to the basket and finish.

16. Boston Celtics

Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State: Best player on the board regardless of need, and even though Boston isn’t in need of a point guard, another shot creator is always in vogue.

17. Milwaukee Bucks

Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas: A rebounder, shot blocker and floor stretcher. The Bucks have that in spades and appear to be in more want of it to go along with scorers Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton.

18.  Houston Rockets

Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame: The Rockets could use an actual ballhandler instead of putting everything on James Harden, and Grant can handle the pick and roll, a Rockets staple. Could go higher but could fall to the Bulls at 22.

19. Washington Wizards

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona: A tough name to evaluate considering how much he’s affected the way teams look at him due to impressive workouts. But the Wizards need more wing help with Paul Pierce likely opting out, setting up a battle between Hollis-Jefferson and emerging Otto Porter.

20. Toronto Raptors

R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State: Hunter could go anywhere from 14 to a few picks left in the first round, but his shooting could make him a higher pick than his skill set could claim.

21. Dallas Mavericks

Tyus Jones, PG, Duke: Everyone knows the Mavericks are looking for point guard help and Jones could be the best on the board. Jones could be operating on a promise from the Rockets but that could be without knowing Payne is on the board. If Jones is here…

22. Chicago Bulls

Rashad Vaughn, G, UNLV: Hearing the Bulls like Vaughn and scouts love his confidence and ability to score. Considering the Bulls could play smaller this season, they’ll need more shooting on the floor and another shot creator. Vaughn could be their guy.

23. Portland Trailblazers

Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA: Looney is an excellent offensive rebounder but he is still raw compared to his contemporaries. Portland likes length and Looney can get up and down the floor.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers

Delon Wright, PG, Utah: A combo guard who’s solid enough to play alongside Kyrie Irving in a pinch or take over point guard duties for decent stretches. If Cleveland is smart, they’ll be looking for a real backup not named Matthew Dellavedova.

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Montrezl Harrel, PF, Louisville: Good athlete but Louisville players haven’t made huge marks in the league. Perhaps slightly undersized but a decent change of pace from the ground and pound style of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

26. San Antonio Spurs

Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia: A candidate to be taken in the early 20’s, Anderson is a “3 and D” guy who’ll likely find his niche as an outsider shooter and role-filler, something the Spurs always seem to never get enough of.

27. Los Angeles Lakers

Joseph Young, SG, Oregon: Depending on what they do with the second pick, they could be looking for more backcourt help in preparation for Kobe Bryant’s departure. Young is a shooter, one of the best in the draft.

28. Boston Celtics

Jarell Martin, PF, LSU: The Celtics have no problem drafting hard-playing guys without a true position of players too short for traditional NBA standards. Enter Martin, who’s a better athlete than many on the Celtics roster.

29. Brooklyn Nets

Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville: Can finish and get to the lane with ease despite not being the best point guard prospect. They’ll need another lead guard in Brooklyn, though.

30.  Golden State Warriors

Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse: McCullough won’t play this season, recovering from an ACL injury, which gives him time to rehab and develop at his own pace without the pressure of having to contribute immediately.

2-time All-Star Luol Deng signs 1-day contract to retire as a Bull

2-time All-Star Luol Deng signs 1-day contract to retire as a Bull

Luol Deng experienced plenty of highs and lows throughout his nine-plus seasons with the Bulls.

But his love for the organization that acquired him in a 2004 draft-day trade never wavered, even after it traded him to the Cavaliers in January 2014 in a move to exit the luxury tax.

That’s why Deng signed a ceremonial, one-day contract Thursday so that he could retire as a Bull.

“From the moment we made Luol Deng the seventh overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls became a better team,” Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “Luol carried himself with first-class professionalism and leadership, helping lead his Bulls team to eight playoff appearances during his time in Chicago. We’ll always remember his All-Star career and the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night.”

“We’re very fortunate and humbled that Luol has chosen to retire as a Chicago Bull,” Bulls COO Michael Reinsdorf said. “He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win. I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts.”

Deng, a two-time All-Star, is all over the franchise leaderboard. He’s tied for fourth by playing in parts of 10 seasons with the Bulls. He’s sixth in games played, fifth in minutes, fourth in points, fifth in field goals, ninth in rebounds, fifth in steals, seventh in 3-pointers and eighth in free throws.

But Deng’s impact with the Bulls moved past numbers. When he arrived with Ben Gordon, one season after the Bulls drafted Kirk Hinrich, Deng helped pull the Bulls from their post-dynasty funk and transform them into a perennial playoff team. He chose to play through a torn wrist ligament so that he could represent his adopted homeland of Great Britain at the 2014 Summer Olympics.

He became a two-time All-Star as Tom Thibodeau’s indispensable, two-way forward, consistently ranking near the top of the NBA in minutes played. And his community service through his Luol Deng Foundation featured Chicago and global reach.

The day after the trade to the Cavaliers, Deng talked to this author at length while standing inside the Cavaliers practice facility.

"I had an opportunity to play for a great organization. I've been very lucky to play 10 years for the only team that I ever knew as a kid," Deng said that January 2014 day. "I only knew Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls when I was 7 years old and in Egypt. For me to be the fourth-leading scorer on that team, did I ever think a refugee kid in Egypt would even play for the Bulls? There's a lot of amazing things that have happened."

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Kris Dunn takes team-first approach to reserve role behind Tomas Satoransky

Kris Dunn takes team-first approach to reserve role behind Tomas Satoransky

Not even a reserve role can shake Kris Dunn’s resolve.

Continuing his completely different tone from the end of last season in his comments to reporters, Dunn took the news that he’ll back up Tomas Satoransky in stride Thursday in advance of the Bulls’ final preseason game versus the Hawks.

“Just being positive, cheering guys on. Just bringing my energy. I’m an energetic guy. That’s just my personality. I just bring it to the gym and allow that good energy to resonate on the floor and to the other guys,” Dunn said at the Advocate Center. “You need (depth) in the league. There are going to be games where the starters come out flat and the second unit is going to have to pick it up and allow them to come back in and finish the game. Just having depth is a good thing because injuries occur. You need backups you can trust.”

At the tail end of last season, as Dunn got publicly challenged by executive vice president John Paxson and phased out of the Bulls’ core in the team’s public comments, the guard acted sullen at times. But he reported to voluntary September workouts with a renewed energy and mental approach after a self-proclaimed offseason of reflection.

“I just appreciate Coach (Jim Boylen) talking to me and being straightforward and being truthful to me,” Dunn said. “I’m going to do my job and do what’s best for the team.”

Dunn started two of the first four preaseason games but largely played with reserves. Does he feel he got a fair shot at keeping his starting job?

“I’m not really going to speak on that. I feel I’m in a great spot. I love what the coaching staff is doing with me and the team. We have a great group of guys,” Dunn said. “We’re going to play hard every game and hopefully make that playoff push.”

And Dunn, who recorded six steals last Friday in Indiana, believes he still has an important role.

“My greatest strength right now is defense. I know that. My teammates know that. It’s no surprise to the team,” he said. “I bring it each day.”

Boylen is appreciative of Dunn’s attitude.

“Before I could even get out the words, ‘Kris, I’m going to bring you off the bench to start the season,’ he had already said, ‘Coach, I’m going to do whatever you need me to do and I’m ready for what you want me to do.’ Before I could even get it out. It was a two-minute conversation,” Boylen said. “I’ve always said he has great heart for the team. He has always been very coachable. He accepts criticism. He owns his mistakes. His response is all about the team and what we’re trying to build. It’s role definition and it’s role acceptance. His role acceptance is off the charts.”

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