June 24, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls own the 22nd pick in Thursday's draft. And with a deep pool of guards, adding a backup for Derrick Rose could be the way to go.

Then again, they could use a shooter. And a big man isn't out of the question, either.

About the only certainty right now for the Bulls is this: It's already been a noteworthy offseason.

They fired coach Tom Thibodeau over a falling out with management even though he led them to the playoffs all five seasons. They hired Fred Hoiberg from Iowa State to replace him, hoping a change will energize a team that fought through injuries in a 50-win season and bowed out to LeBron James and the banged up Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Bulls could use a backup point guard for Rose down the line and Notre Dame's Jerian Grant could be a possibility if he's still on the board. He would bring athleticism and a polished game, he shares a college alma mater with team executive John Paxson and has a family tie to the organization. Uncle Horace and Paxson were part of the first Bulls' championship three-peat in the 1990s, and dad Harvey played in the NBA.

Duke's Tyus Jones, Utah's Delon Wright and Louisville's Terry Rozier might also be possibilities at point guard. If the Bulls go for a shooting guard, UNLV's Rashad Vaughn could be their choice. His lone season got cut short by a torn meniscus in his left knee. But he is a strong shooter, and the Bulls could use some help on the perimeter with Mike Dunleavy Jr. set to hit free agency.

Going big might make sense for the Bulls, too. After all, Pau Gasol turns 35 next month and he can't be expected to play 78 games again. Taj Gibson just had ankle surgery. Joakim Noah needs to show his left knee is healthy after he was limited last season.

As for Rose, the former MVP is owed $41.3 million over the final two years of his contract, and questions still linger about just how good he can be.

At his best, he was one of the top players in the NBA - an explosive, fearless, 6-foot-3 blur who rocketed from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three seasons after being taken with the No. 1 pick by his hometown team in 2008.

All that came crashing to a halt in Year 4, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2012 playoff opener. He missed a season and had his first comeback limited to 10 games by a torn meniscus in his right knee.

This past season was a mixed bag.

Rose flashed that old explosiveness at times, hung on the perimeter at others and ultimately left the big questions unanswered.

Rose played in just 51 games and was third on the team in scoring at 17.7 points. His field-goal percentage (.405) was the worst of his career, not counting the 35.4 percent he shot over the 10 games he played in during the 2013-14 season. And he really struggled from 3-point range, shooting just 28 percent.

He was better in the playoffs, averaging 20.3 points. He scored 30 or more three times in 12 games after hitting that mark just four times in the regular season, and he averaged 6.5 assists in the postseason.

Whichever way the Bulls go, it will be interesting to see how much time the pick gets next season now that Hoiberg is on the sideline. Thibodeau used rookies sparingly, essentially redshirting Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell. Doug McDermott struggled on defense, injured his right knee and barely left the bench as last season wore on - a rude introduction to the NBA after Denver took him with the 11th pick and traded his rights to Chicago.

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