Chicago Bulls 2015 Draft: Robert Upshaw Biggest Wild Card

Robert Upshaw

is the biggest wild card in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has the talent to be a lottery pick, but after getting kicked off two programs in his two seasons at college, a lot of teams will shy away from him. If he has his head on straight, the big man could help a lot of teams, and he make the Chicago Bulls 2015 draft a big success.

Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls /

Chicago Bulls

Robert Upshaw is a huge wild card. He has a great NBA-ready body to pound away in the post (7-foot, 260 pounds and a 7-foot-5-1/2 wingspan), and his standing reach ranks with Shaquille O’Neal and DeMarcus Cousins.

Upshaw has great combination of length, strength and mobility. He is a great rim defender, averaging 7 blocks per-40 minutes. He also averaged 13.4 rebounds per-40 minutes. With his long arms, strength, soft hand and instincts, he can be a monster rebounder at the higher level.

As a post defender, Upshaw will be very good. right now, his fundamentals need to improve, as he depends on his size and length too much. It worked in college, but he will need to develop skills in the pros.

Offensively, Upshaw averaged nearly 18 points per-40. He is a great finisher with that body. He also gets to the line, although that may be a bad thing.

Upshaw averages 7 free throws per-40, but shot just a measly 43 percent. There will be a lot of Hack-a-Shaq game plans for him.

The biggest negative on Upshaw is not game-related. In his three seasons in college, each ended with him getting kicked off the team.

After his freshman year at Fresno State, Upshaw was dismissed for violating team rules. He sat out a year after transferring to Washington.

He was doing well in Washington, apparently getting his act together. He had an interview with the Seattle Times, speaking on having his troubles behind him. “I just got tired of being talked about and not in good way. I got tired of being average. I got tired of being somebody’s joke. Everybody come into the room and it’s ‘Ha-ha. He did this today.’ But it wasn’t anything about basketball.”

A couple of weeks later, Upshaw was again dismissed for breaking team rules.

Washington would not be specific with what specifically Upshaw did, but when he was on the court for them, opponents shot 38.5 percent on 2-point shots. After he left, that percentage went up to 49.7 percent. The team still felt the need to dismiss him.

An unidentified NBA executive commented on how well Upshaw was playing before getting the boot. “On talent alone,” the executive said, “if he would have stayed throughout the year, he could have crept all the way up to the middle of the first round, maybe late lottery. He was having a great year.”

The Bulls will need to address the center position at some point. Joakim Noah was a shadow of himself this season, and that knee of his may never be the same. He also has his contract expiring after next season. Pau Gasol had a great season for the Bulls, but he is getting old and, to be honest, what are the odds he could repeat what he did this season?

If the Bulls are interested in Upshaw, they need to decide if the team is strong enough to keep him in line. The team went after Dennis Rodman in the late 90’s and won three titles with him, but they had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen who ran things and made things clear to him.

If the Bulls feel they can bring out the best in Upshaw and keep his behavior in line, they could have the steal of the draft. If they get him but cannot keep him out of trouble, it could blow up in their faces.

Sometimes you just have to roll the dice. Will the Chicago Bulls do that with Robert Upshaw?

Next: Chicago Bulls Draft Profile 2015: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

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