The Chicago Bulls on Thursday traded up five picks in the 2011 NBA Draft to grab Serbian power forward Nikola Mirotic, a player expected to remain overseas for several years.
The move came in a trade which sent the Bulls' 28th and 43rd picks to Minnesota in exchange for the 6 foot, 10 inch Mirotic, who plays for the Euroleague's Real Madrid and will remain in Spain under contract.
The Bulls used their 30th pick to acquire Marquette forward Jimmy Butler, a player who was kicked out of house at age 13 and has persevered through adversity to excel at the collegiate level and is now a professional first round draft pick.
After a stellar 62-win regular season in 2010, the draft moves suggest that the Bulls will seek to address their scoring void at shooting guard in free agency. Jimmy Butler will likely backup Luol Deng, who played a significant amount of minutes last year, leading the team with 42.9 minutes per game.
The Bulls had the 28th, 30th, and 43rd picks and were likely trade away or draft an international player and develop him overseas, based on remarks by Bulls GM Gar Forman that the Bulls would not keep three rookies on the roster.
What the Bulls Needed
Fans hoped that the Bulls would address their scoring woes with a reliable shooting guard who could work his way into the rotation within a few years. The Bulls found scoring at other positions in this year's draft, however. Butler has a skill set very similar to Deng's, and Mirotic is a gifted big man who can stretch the floor for slashing teammate like Derrick Rose and Deng.
What the Bulls Still Want
Ideally, the Bulls want instant scoring and a starting shooting guard for a potential championship run next year. It was unlikely that they would find either so late in the first round, so the Bulls addressed other needs in the draft. With only one rookie on the active roster for next year, the Bulls are expected to use their extra salary on a free agent.