Work in Sports
Bulls loaded with power after draft
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Bulls' philosophy on draft night reflected a more-the-merrier approach.
Co-Rookie of the Year Elton Brand started at power forward in Chicago last season, and Tim Floyd probably won't be in a rush to move him. So what are the Bulls' plans for fourth-overall pick Marcus Fizer?
The 6-foot-9, 262-pound Fizer may have to adjust to life at small forward as he rejoins Floyd, who coached him as a freshman in college.
"A lot of people say me and Elton playing together may clash. But we are going to do the best we can to co-exist," Fizer said, adding he will have to learn how to play defense as a small forward. "To be reunited with Coach Floyd who started it all will be something good."
Fizer was chosen after Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift and East St. Louis prep star Darius Miles, whom some thought the Bulls might get.
"We felt comfortable if Darius went ahead of us; we knew Fizer was going to be there," general manager Jerry Krause said.
The Bulls, with three first-round picks, used No. 7 for Texas center Chris Mihm, and then minutes later traded his rights to Cleveland for the rights to Michigan guard Jamal Crawford, who had been drafted at No. 8, and cash.
Crawford, who played in only 17 college games, moved up with his play in pre-draft camps.
"My name just took off from there," he said. "My goal was to get in the top 20. No. 8 is just icing. I bring an excitement. I make other players around me better."
Chicago went international to fill its need at center, choosing 7-foot project Dalibor Bagaric of Benston Zagreb in Croatia at No. 24.
"Bagaric is a guy down the line who can help us," Krause said, adding he considers Bagaric to be a free agent who will be able to leave his current team and join the Bulls next season.
And with their three second-round picks -- Nos. 32, 33 and 34 -- the Bulls took Indiana guard A.J. Guyton for his scoring, 6-11 Connecticut center Jake Voskuhl and his teammate Khalid El-Amin, a 5-9 point guard. Voskuhl and El-Amin helped UConn win the 1999 NCAA title.
Krause said the Bulls received a flock of calls for the second-round picks.
"We said, 'Wait a minute, there's gonna be three guys here we really like. ... Just take'em,'" he said.
The selection of Fizer, who averaged 22.8 points as a junior and led the Cyclones within a game of the Final Four last season, would appear to create a strange pairing with Brand, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds and was chosen co-rookie of the year.
Floyd said Fizer could be used at small forward and give the Bulls another inside scoring option.
"Marcus is one of the few players in this draft who requires double-teams," said Floyd, who is very close to Fizer's family. "We can put him at small forward and post him up. He can put it on the floor and take it by people."
Crawford's freshman season at Michigan was cut short by two NCAA suspensions -- six games for accepting benefits from Seattle businessman Barry Henthorn when he was in high school and six more for declaring for the NBA while still in high school after having signed a letter of intent to play for Michigan.
The 6-6 Crawford averaged 16.6 points for Michigan.
"We look at Jamal as a guy we could have easily taken with the fourth pick. We like him that much," Floyd said. "He has the versatility to play either point or the two-guard spot."
The Bulls' fourth pick was their own, the No. 7 choice came from Washington via Golden State as part of a three-way trade with Philadelphia for Toni Kukoc, and the 24th selection came from San Antonio in the deal for Steve Kerr.
Chicago also has close to $20 million under the salary cap to lure free agents, and Krause has promised an aggressive recruiting period that begins Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.