First, the Bulls tried to get Kris Dunn. Then, using their 14th pick, they selected a player who fits the preferred drafting formula for John Paxson and Gar Forman in Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine.
Valentine, the Associated Press player of the Year, averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists his senior season at Michigan State. But he also missed four games for arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in December.
“I’m healthy now,” Valentine said in New York. “That’s all I can say.”
Valentine, a 6-foot-6-inch guard, played in 144 of 148 games in college after also having surgery on his right knee in high school.
The Bulls loved Dunn and engaged in talks with both the Celtics and Timberwolves in an attempt to land the Providence star. But the price, which would’ve included Jimmy Butler, proved too rich for their blood.
At the draft combine in May, Valentine said he’d love to play for the Bulls. He’s a combo guard who is considered a strong leader.
“I think I’d fit good,” Valentine said. “I could play the off guard or I could get on the wing or feed Jimmy Butler and have him score and play off him. I’m pretty good at adjusting.”
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