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updated: 5/17/2014 8:33 PM

Draft camp gives glimpse of what's ahead

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  • Aaron Gordon, from Arizona, waits to participate in the running vertical jump at the 2014 NBA basketball draft combine Friday, May 16, 2014, in Chicago.

      Aaron Gordon, from Arizona, waits to participate in the running vertical jump at the 2014 NBA basketball draft combine Friday, May 16, 2014, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

  • Nik Stauskas from Michigan, right, and Doug McDermontt from Creighton watch players participate in the Draft Combine on Thursday. Stauskas recorded a 35.5-inch vertical jump and could be a nice addition to the Bulls as a long-range shooter.

      Nik Stauskas from Michigan, right, and Doug McDermontt from Creighton watch players participate in the Draft Combine on Thursday. Stauskas recorded a 35.5-inch vertical jump and could be a nice addition to the Bulls as a long-range shooter.
    Associated Press

  • Glenn Robinson III recorded the best three-quarter court sprint time (3.1 seconds) at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

      Glenn Robinson III recorded the best three-quarter court sprint time (3.1 seconds) at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
 

The NBA predraft camp, which was held this week in Chicago, has made an interesting evolution.

A decade ago, the drills and agility tests were closely-guarded secrets. Now the results are posted on the NBA's own website.

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In the old days, everyone would at least show up to get measured and run through the physical tests. This year's top level players -- Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid included -- were not there at all. That hardly affects the Bulls, who own picks No. 16 and 19 in the June 26 draft (the lottery is Tuesday).

Many of the second tier of players didn't participate in drills and some didn't bother to do the physical tests, for whatever reason.

One of the most interesting measurements this week was the hands of Indiana center Noah Vonleh, among the biggest in modern history at 9¾ inches long and 11¾ inches wide. Of course, Vonleh didn't make a huge impact in the Big Ten as a freshman, averaging 111.3 points and 9.0 rebounds, so teams drafting in the top 10 will have to make a tough call on the Massachusetts native.

The mock drafts still differ wildly, but there were a few things the Bulls could learn this week. There are basically three categories that could qualify as draft needs:

A true shooting guard

The Bulls haven't been a very good 3-point shooting team since Kyle Korver left, so this might qualify as the No. 1 need.

A couple of obvious calls are Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Kentucky freshman James Young. Both fared reasonably well at the draft camp, measuring close to 6-foot-7 in shoes. They both turned in maximum verticals of 35½ inches. By NBA standards, a 40-inch jump is elite level and anything above 35 is good.

But Stauskas and Young might be gone by pick No. 16, so then who?

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood has a nice stroke and stands 6-8. He didn't distinguish himself on defense, though, and it's tough to tell how much of a deal-breaker that would be for the Bulls. The same could probably be said for North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren.

If the Bulls would prefer an athletic wing, a couple who stood out this week were Clemson junior K.J. McDaniels and Michigan sophomore Glenn Robinson III. The 6-6 McDaniels recorded the best three-quarter court sprint at 3.1 seconds, jumped 37 inches and has a big wingspan. But in the shooting drills, he did not stand out, going 58 percent from long range and 59 percent on the move. Keep in mind, this is unguarded shooting.

The 6-7 Robinson jumped 41½ inches, did the sprint in 31.5 seconds and shot 62 percent from long range. Handles was a question in college.

One guy that bears watching is UCLA freshman Zach LaVine. He is scrawny with raw skills, but has the type of athleticism to make people think he could make a Russell Westbrook-style jump in the NBA. LaVine measured 6-6 in shoes and jumped 41½ inches.

Not as well-known is Oklahoma State's Markel Brown, who jumped an impressive 43½ inches. He was a dunking machine while averaging 17.2 points as a senior, but the Bulls need shooters.

One guy who stood out in the shooting drills was Washington 6-5 senior C.J. Wilcox, who went 76 percent from long range. He averaged 18.3 points last year and jumped 37½ inches. He's 23, but the Bulls have experienced success in the past drafting an older player (Taj Gibson was 24 on draft day).

Michigan State's Gary Harris, an accomplished defender, measured 6-4 in shoes, but did not do the athletic tests.

A backup point guard

Since Marquis Teague didn't pan out, and D.J. Augustin and Kirk Hinrich are free agents, the Bulls might think about drafting a backup to Derrick Rose.

Where the Bulls are picking doesn't appear to be a great spot for point guards, unless Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis drops. Others who may be available are UConn tourney hero Shabazz Napier and Louisiana Lafayette's Elfrid Payton.

A backup big man

The Bulls signed former Houston power forward Greg Smith late last season with the idea of keeping him next year, but they could use reinforcements inside.

Michigan State's Adreian Payne should be available. He has a big, athletic body, but tended to play more like a 3-point shooting stretch four in college. Some team will take a chance on Michigan's Mitch McGary, who is coming off a back injury.

Otherwise, the best big men prospects figure to come from overseas. Among the choices are burly Bosnian Jusuf Nurkic (6-11, 280), explosive but thin Switzerland native Clint Capela; 7-foot 3 Walter Tavares, who first touched a basketball in 2009; or 18-year-old Latvian Kristaps Porzingis.

None of the foreign big men were at the draft camp this week, while Payne and McGary didn't participate.

There are plenty of other possibilities, but the draft camp provided a little bit of a head start to understanding them all.

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