Cubs

Who analysts predict the Bulls will select in the first round

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Who analysts predict the Bulls will select in the first round

By Mark Strotman
CSNChicago.comThe NBA Pre-Draft Combine, held in Chicago over the weekend, had a handful of winners and losers. These changes in certain player's stockcould have implications on who is available when the Chicago Bulls make their selection withthe 29th pickin the draft, whichwill take place on June 28 in New Jersey.The Bulls' second round pick (No. 60) belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls originally traded the pick to the Bucks as part of a deal for John Salmons. The Bucks then traded it to the Nets as part of a deal for Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the Nets finally traded it to the Lakers as part of a deal for Sasha Vujacic.With Pre-Draft Combine measurements, agility and peformancedrills and interviews taken into account, here is a look at who some of the top college basketball and NBA analysts have the Bulls selecting in the first round.Aggrey Sam, CSNChicago.com (64)29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SG, MemphisBarton weighed in at 174 pounds at the Pre-Draft Combine, which was the lighest of the 60 players in attendance. Still, Barton should be able to put on neccesary weight over the summer in order to be ready for the start of the year. As Sam noted, "he still needs to get stronger, but his improved jumper, ability to create for himself and others, versatility and length give him a chance to crack the rotation right away for a Bulls team that will likely have several new faces." Barton would give the Bulls an athletic wing who could replace one of Rip Hamilton, Kyle Korveror Ronnie Brewer.Jeff Goodman, CBSSports.com (611)29. Chicago Bulls: Tyshawn Taylor, PG, KansasTaylor measured in at an impressive 6-foot-4 at the Pre-Draft Combine, and he has the experience and talent to step in right away and help the Bulls point guard situation. With Derrick Rose out indefinitely to begin the season, and C.J. Watson's team option still up in the air, Taylor would be a great fit in Chicago. He is ready to play from Day One, plays solid defense and can score the ball in a variety of ways, something that will help the Bulls' second unit if Watson does not return. Adds Goodman: "Can be the ideal backup to Derrick Rose. Brings speed, toughness and a point guard with experience to the table.NBADraft.net (610)29. Chicago Bulls: Quincy Miller, SF, BaylorMiller is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year's draft. He tore his left ACL in December 2010, which forced him to miss his entire senior season. He arrived at Baylor healthy, and did play in all 37 games for the Bears, but averaged just 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. Though he was rated as the No. 4 prospect in the 2011 high school class by Scout.com, there are questions as to whether he will ever regain his pre-ACL surgery form. The Bulls could work in the 6-foot-10 Miller slowly behind Luol Deng.DraftExpress.com (69)29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SF, MemphisWhile Barton's weight may be a concern, it's still worth noting that the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 8.0 rebounds per game last season at Memphis. He also averaged 18.0 points per game on over 50 percent shooting. Rated as the No. 12 recruit in the 2010 high school class by Scout.com, Barton has only begun to tap into his potential at 21 years old.HoopsWorld.com (69)29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, SG, VanderbiltThree of four analysts chose Jenkins, with the fourth (Alex Raskin) choosing Doron Lamb. Jenkins was the most prolific shooter in college basketball last year, making a nation-best 134 3-pointers on almost 44 percent shooting. As a senior, Jenkins would be ready to play right away, and he has good size at 6-foot-4. As a bonus, Jenkins also made over 85 percent of his free throws in four years with the Commodores.NBA.com (531)29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, SG, KentuckyAs one of six potential Kentucky first round draft picks, Lamb would be an excellent fit in Chicago. The 6-foot-4 sophomore averaged 13.7 points per game for the national champions, shooting an impressive 46.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 82.6 percent from the free throw line. In addition, he handles the ball well and could act as a back-up point guard, if needed.Yahoo! Sports (530)29. Orlando Johnson, SG, UC-Santa BarbaraAnother one of the most impressive shooters in the draft class, Johnson averaged 19.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Guachos last year. At 6-foot-5, he possesses an impressive 6-foot-11 wingspan (the same as 6-foot-7 Harrison Barnes) and can defend multiple positions. He would be an instant upgrade on the wing rather than an upside pick and, like Jenkins, is well seasoned after four years at the college level.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.