While delusional Knicks’ fans may have taken Twitter by storm, no fans were more disappointed and heartbroken following the lottery than the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls had the 4th best odds to score the #1 overall pick, and ended up with the 7th pick in the draft. Their dip is worse than the one exhibited by the Wizards since the Wiz not only still have All-Stars, but are better set to begin a rebuild. The Bulls, on the other hand, we don’t need to look too closely at their situation because they are kind of screwed regardless.
The Bulls’ best players on their roster currently are Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter, Jr., and Wendell Carter, Jr. While many fans may cry out the boy wonder of Zach Lavine, the main issue I have is the money to talent ratio he is the antithesis of. Yes, he is hyper-athletic and a superb offensive player. However, he can’t play defense, can’t shoot the 3, and is not a playmaker. Therefore, he is not only a negative asset to me, but he is a negative asset in terms of his contract. Making $19.5 million per year as an athletic shooting guard that can’t shoot, play defense, or pass is not something to be proud of. Remember, this is the same team that decided it was a good idea to give Jabari Parker a $20 million contract. You mean to tell me that you, the Chicago Bulls, think Parker and Lavine can lead a team while holding 40% of your teams cap hostage?
Thank your lucky stars everyday Bulls’ fans that the Wizards were dumb enough to trade Otto Porter to you for Jabari, and that’s the rest I will say on the matter. Can’t be getting too worked up over the Bulls here.
However, how their money and roster is constructed currently is a huge issue for the Bulls going forward. What the Bulls really need is a point guard that isn’t named Kris Dunn or Cam Payne, and they can’t have another season of relying on Zach Lavine to shoulder the playmaking load. Unfortunately, at the 7th pick, there may not be a point guard there. Every team above the Bulls realistically could use a point guard. With their being 3 point guards actually deserving a high draft selection, I do not see one making it down to the Bulls. Sure, the Bulls could trade up to get one, but with who? Cleveland could pull what the Hawks did last year, and trade down to get their guy but draft the one that the Bulls one. With how some mocks are going, the Bulls could net Darius Garland or Coby White that way, and both would be a great addition to the team. I can see both sliding into the starting lineup and being able to make an impact immediately. However, I don’t see what the Cavs could gain from that. I’ll discuss more in my Cavs’ piece about what they can and should do, but the Bulls may not be high on their list of people to trade their pick with.
Of course, the Bulls could just trade back instead of up. A team desperately needing assets for a blockbuster All-Star trade (looking at you Celtics), could easily offer up a few picks and a player to entice them. I find it extremely hard to believe that Terry Rozier, the 20th pick, and the 22nd pick for Markkanen and the 7th would be something the Bulls would turn down. They could get a good two-way point guard, allowing Lavine to play at his statistically better position of shooting guard. The 20th and 22nd picks could net them any 2 of guys like Romeo Langford, Bol Bol, Goga Bitadze, Tyler Herro, Brandon Clarke, Naz Reid, Mfiondu Kabengele, PJ Washington, Jordan Nwora, Cam Johnson, or Ty Jerome. All would help add depth to the Bulls’ abysmal bench units, and provide them with more building blocks for their rebuild.
With that in mind, and the fact that a trade back might result in them acquiring a player they may not want on their team, the Bulls may focus instead of remaining where they are and just drafting at 7. The list of players they should draft at the 7th pick is very small to say the least, since they need a player that can fit into their long-term plans and not provide any minutes controversies. With that in mind, they only really need to be looking at Coby White, Darius Garland, Cam Reddish, and Jarrett Culver. Only one out of the three guards (White, Garland, and Culver) will make it to them, and I truly believe that they should just take whichever one lands to them regardless of what is going on. The Bulls need a guard, and they can make it work with whoever they draft. They get Garland? Cool, Lavine can play shooting guard. They land Culver? Awesome, Lavine will be point guard. They win with White? It’ll be a bit more fluid since they both can play either guard position, but White is a better point guard than Lavine is. Those three situations would be the best possible outcome, and the one that the Bulls are praying does happen.
“But Buck,” you may be asking. “What if N.A.W. (New Andrew Wiggins, aka RJ Barrett) slips to them at 7, and all the guards are taken?”
Well, then the argument becomes Cam vs. RJ, and that’s where I say Cam is the better choice for them. RJ is a ball-dominant, iso basketball player with limited vision who doesn’t space the floor well. Cam, on the other hand, is a 3-and-D prospect who is comfortable taking the back seat to stars while playing extremely well in a spacing system. Cam isn’t as fast or athletic as RJ, but Cam has better fundamental on both ends of the ball that a team with a coach like Jim Boylen would love to have. Cam can play the 2 and 3, allowing potential small ball lineups with Otto Porter, Jr. playing the 4 to be a possibility for this team without sacrificing anything on the defensive end. A Lavine-Hutchinson-Reddish-Porter-Carter defensive, small-ball lineup to come in after the offensive lineup of Lavine-Reddish-Porter-Markkanen-Carter? Sounds right up ol’ Boylen’s alley, and doesn’t sound too heinous to watch play in a top-heavy East. Bulls could easily begin working themselves out of this hole if they are able to score any of these 4 players come draft night.