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updated: 6/25/2012 6:30 PM

Bulls hoping to land solid player with 29th pick

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  • Kentucky guard Doron Lamb,left, forward Terrence Jones (3) and guard Marquis Teague celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.

      Kentucky guard Doron Lamb,left, forward Terrence Jones (3) and guard Marquis Teague celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.
    Associated Press

  • Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) signals to the crowd during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in the Big 12 Conference tournament Friday, March 9, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Taylor scored 20 points in the game.

      Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) signals to the crowd during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in the Big 12 Conference tournament Friday, March 9, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Taylor scored 20 points in the game.
    Associated Press

  • Kentucky guard Darius Miller scores in the second half of Kentucky's 57-44 win over Georgia in an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in Athens, Ga.

      Kentucky guard Darius Miller scores in the second half of Kentucky's 57-44 win over Georgia in an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in Athens, Ga.
    Associated Press

  • Missouri guard Kim English (24) celebrates in front of Marquette guard Jimmy Butler (33) after scoring two free throws to help defeat Marquette 83-79 in the last seconds of a second-round men's NCAA college basketball tournament game in Boise, Idaho, Sunday, March 22, 2009.

      Missouri guard Kim English (24) celebrates in front of Marquette guard Jimmy Butler (33) after scoring two free throws to help defeat Marquette 83-79 in the last seconds of a second-round men's NCAA college basketball tournament game in Boise, Idaho, Sunday, March 22, 2009.
    Associated Press

 

By Mike McGraw

The upcoming NBA draft is low on household names and, barring a trade, the Bulls won't pick until the 29th slot in the first round.

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But there is hope of finding a decent player.

The Bulls landed Taj Gibson with the 26th pick in 2009, and the draft seems to become more of a crapshoot each year. Of the 12 players on this season's all-rookie teams, just five were top-10 selections.

Actually, the worst spot to pick this year might be Charlotte at No. 2. After obvious top pick Anthony Davis, there's a confusing selection of flawed stars with decent potential.

Getting back to the Bulls, they figure to focus on wing players and point guards. They'll be able to draft an interesting player at one of those positions. Whether he becomes a rotation player someday is anyone's guess.

Here's a list of candidates -- and keep in mind, the better a guy sounds, the more likely he'll be off the board by the time the Bulls hit the clock Thursday.

Wings

Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt: This 6-foot-7 senior has an average wingspan, so he doesn't have that "length" component general managers love. But he's very athletic, with a vertical jump measured at 40 inches at the Chicago predraft camp, which is in the elite category.

The life story is similar to Tony Parker. Taylor's dad is an American basketball player of the same name, who played briefly in the NBA for Houston and Detroit, before extending his career in Europe.

So the younger Taylor was born and raised in Sweden, until choosing to live with grandma and attend his father's old high school in Hobbs, N.M. He averaged 16.1 points and shot 42.3 percent from 3-point range last season.

John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Taylor's college teammate was the most prolific 3-point shooter in Division I last season, making 3.8 per game while shooting .439.

The 6-4 Jenkins was the Commodores' top scorer last season at 19.9 points and his Twitter handle is Johnny Cash, appropriate for Nashville.

Doron Lamb, Kentucky: If Jenkins' 3-point credentials don't impress you, consider Lamb, a 6-4 sophomore who shot .466 from behind the arc for last season's national champs.

Lamb didn't have nearly as many attempts as Jenkins, but still unloaded 163 shots. He was Kentucky's second-leading scorer (13.7 ppg), behind Davis.

Evan Fournier, Poitiers (France): The 6-7 Fournier became the youngest player to ever score 20 points in a French league game when he did it at 18. Now 19, Fournier is not a great athlete (31 vertical), but is very skilled, fluid and reminds some of Manu Ginobili.

He has a good-looking shot, but hit just 27.7 percent from 3-point range last season. Fournier has told reporters his French contract shouldn't prevent him from playing in the NBA next season.

Jared Cunningham, Oregon State: This 6-4 native of Oakland is long, athletic and a versatile scorer. He didn't do the athletic tests at the predraft camp due to a hamstring injury, but his vertical leap is reported to be an eye-opening 42 inches.

Orlando Johnson, Cal-Santa Barbara: He played mostly forward in college, but has very long arms, a nice outside shot and a 39-inch vertical leap. Johnson averaged 19.7 points as a senior and shot 42.7 percent from 3-point range. He also has an inspiring story of overcoming several family tragedies.

Darius Miller, Kentucky: An athletic 6-7 wing, Miller started as a sophomore and junior, then came off the bench as a senior. He was widely considered the leader of last year's championship squad.

Will Barton, Memphis: A 6-7 sophomore, Barton is another athletic, versatile scorer and an excellent rebounder. His drawback is a very thin 174-pound frame.

Kim English, Missouri: Sort of a late bloomer in college, this 6-5 guard shot .459 from 3-point range as a senior.

Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech: He averaged 20.6 points last year, shot .416 from long range and has nice size at 6-6.

Point guards

Here are a few candidates who could someday back up Derrick Rose:

Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas: He got in some trouble during his college career, and the Bulls love good character guys. But he's a fast guard in the mold of Denver's Ty Lawson.

Marquis Teague, Kentucky: The younger brother of Atlanta's Jeff Teague performed extremely well in the vertical jump (40) and three-quarter court sprint at the draft camp.

Tony Wroten, Washington: A much taller, longer point guard than the two players listed above. Wroten is 6-6 with a 6-9 wingspan. He averaged 16.0 points last season, but shot an alarming 58 percent at the foul line.

At the top of the draft, Davis is a lock to go No. 1 to New Orleans. The next four picks are expected to be Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, Florida guard Bradley Beal, North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes and Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, in some order.

Robinson is probably the safest pick, but is he tall enough at 6-9 to become an NBA star at power forward? Barnes doesn't handle the ball well, Kidd-Gilchrist isn't much of a scorer, while Beal is a decent prospect with a small sample of work.

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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