Bulls beef up perimeter in draft

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CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Bulls selected Cleveland State guard Norris Cole with the 28th pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, then took Marquette swingman Jimmy Butler two picks later.

Don’t expect to see both players in a Chicago uniform, though.

Several reports had the Bulls sending the rights to Cole along with their second-round pick (No. 43) to Minnesota for the rights to 6-foot-10 forward Nikola Mirotic, whom Houston took at No. 23 and reportedly dealt to the Timberwolves.

Assuming all that goes through, Chicago would only be on the hook for one rookie contract since Mirotic is locked up with Real Madrid in Spain for the next four years.

Butler was an honorable-mention All-Big East pick for Marquette after finishing second on the team in scoring (15.7 points per game) and rebounding (6.1 rpg.) while averaging a team-high 1.4 steals.

He joins a team that made a big leap last season, winning a league-leading 62 games and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals behind MVP Derrick Rose and a major overhaul that came on the heels of back-to-back first-round playoff exits.

The Bulls‘ inability to hit from the outside ultimately cost them, and they wound up getting eliminated by Miami in five games. Even so, general manager Gar Forman said this week he was more inclined to go with the best available player rather than simply fill a need.

He pointed out they could address their weaknesses through trades and free agency, although there’s a big cloud of uncertainty with the lockout looming. And apparently that’s how Chicago will address its shooting _ through a signing or a trade.

The Bulls brought in 40 to 50 players for workouts and Forman figured about 20 would be gone before Chicago picked. He had also said they would likely keep their first-rounders but didn’t anticipate keeping three rookies, meaning that second-rounder could get cut, traded or stashed overseas.

And he didn’t think the team needed another major shakeup, even though the Heat figure to remain a major headache for the Bulls in the coming years.

They contained Rose, and without a reliable scorer at shooting guard, Chicago bowed out in five games.

The Bulls simply couldn’t connect from the outside after hitting 10 of 21 3-pointers in the opener against Miami and went 21 of 78 from long range the rest of the way.

For the playoffs, they shot 42.2 percent overall and 32.9 percent on 3-pointers and they weren’t much better during the regular season. Chicago ranked 19th in field-goal percentage (46.2) and 18th on 3-pointers at 36.1 percent.

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