CHICAGO -- With the potential departures of Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer looming on the horizon, and the uncertain status of Rip Hamilton's health throughout an 82-game season, the Chicago Bulls figure to be searching for a guard who can help create offense for a team that will badly need some without Derrick Rose and (likely) Luol Deng for a large chunk of next season. With that in mind, let's take a look at five names that could be on the Bulls' radar as they get set to select 29th in Thursday night's draft.
Will Barton, Memphis: 6-6, 174, Age 21
Barton's name has shot up plenty of mock drafts in the past few days. ESPN.com's Chad Ford believes he could go as high as 18th to the Minnesota Timberwolves. At 6-6, he has the length that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is always looking for in his wing players.
"I think I'm in the (No.) 17-29 range," Barton told the Commercial Appeal recently. "I think I'm a first- ... I mean, I know I'm a first-rounder. I just don't know where I'm going. Your guess is just as good as mine."
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt, 6-4, 215, Age 21
Jenkins averaged 20 points a game during his last two seasons at Vanderbilt, but the key for the Bulls, and any other team that may select him, is that he has the ability to knock down a long range shot. He shot 44 percent from beyond the arc last season in the SEC.
“He's gotten more athletic because of the amount of work he's put in in the weight room and what he's done with his body,” Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings told The Tennessean recently. “He's transformed his body from a kid who had some baby fat to a guy who is chiseled now."
Doron Lamb, Kentucky, 6-4, 210, Age 20
Lamb won an NCAA championship this past season with the Wildcats and created a name for himself by knocking down three pointers. He averaged 14 points per game and shot almost 47 percent from beyond the arc. Bulls GM Gar Forman will like the fact that Lamb has played in plenty of big games during his time at Kentucky.
"I had a great time in Chicago," Lamb said during the draft combine last month. "I met the coaches, the whole staff, the GM, I had a great time in my workout. I think I did good shooting and go hard in the drills. I had a great time there ... it would be a nice fit for me. Just going out there, working hard, just playing off Derrick Rose and whatever happens, happens. Just going out there playing hard and just earning my minutes."
Jared Cunningham, Oregon State, 6-4, 194, Age 21
Cunningham averaged 18 points per game in his final season for the Beavers, declaring for the draft after his junior season. He finished second in Oregon State history in steals and may earn his way, at least in the beginning, because of that defensive prowess.
"I've worked as hard as I can to be ready for the draft," Cunningham wrote on Oregon State's official site this week. "I've done everything I needed to do and now it's up to the teams to decide. I can't control where I get drafted. It's kind of nerve wracking, but this is what I have worked hard for."
Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt, 6-7, 212, Age: 23
At 23, Taylor is a little older than most other prospects, but that may not be a detriment as far as Forman and Co. are concerned. They like having more rounded players whom they feel can contribute in games, practices and in the locker room. The key for Taylor, is that at 6-7, he still has the ability to play 'lockdown defense' and be a spot up shooter, according to Ford. He has good bloodlines as well. He dad, Jeff Sr., played in the league. “He was even more of a defensive player than what I am,” Taylor said of his dad, according to The Tennessean.
“I think it will be just as special for him to be there and hear my named get called as it is for me. We've both been through a lot. He's been there from the start and he's seen me develop throughout the years. I think it will be fun for him to see my dream come true.”