The NBA draft order is set. The Chicago Bulls will have the 7th pick overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, the Sacramento Kings pulled off the Lottery miracle and found their way to the 2nd pick overall, pushing the Bulls out of the 6th seed. The Phoenix Suns won the 1st pick, and the Atlanta Hawks the 3rd, and while things didn’t go the Bulls way, it could have been worse, they could have been stuck with the 9th pick overall.
There should be a good player available for the Bulls with the 7th pick. They chose Lauri Markkanen with last years 7th pick, maybe they can replicate that success. When combing through previous NBA drafts one thing becomes apparent, there have been some very good players selected 7th overall, and one great player: Steph Curry was the 7th pick in the 2009 draft.
“Ugh, when have we ever drafted anyone good at number 7?” pic.twitter.com/DjZimTXnJH
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) May 16, 2018
Some fans are now angry that the Bulls won the tie breaker drawing against Sacramento. They think that if the Bulls lost then they would have gotten the winning combination that gifted the Kings the 2nd pick, but I don’t think that’s true. Even though the Bulls won the tie breaker they had the exact same number of combinations as the Kings, the odds of winning were the same for both teams. You can’t get angry at the person behind you in line if they just happen to buy the winning ticket, if they were ahead of you they would have had the exact same odds at buying that ticket. Picking 7th might be a blessing in disguise. It’s a lot harder to make a bad pick at 7. All of the elite prospects will be taken, no doubt, but most players chosen at 7th overall are solid NBA contributors. You don’t have to think too hard when your picking 7th, you just take the best player available. Considering the Bulls don’t have anyone on the roster (except maybe Markkanen) that could be considered irreplaceable, the best available player should be who they pick this draft no matter if they were #1 or #30 overall.
“We’re confident we’ll get a guy we like.” Chuck Swirsky talks with John Paxson after last night’s draft lottery.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) May 16, 2018
7th overall is also a flexible position to be in. If the Bulls don’t like any of the players available at that spot, it should be possible to trade down for future assets. Or, if they really want one of the top 5 spots, they might be able to package the 22nd pick with the 7th and move up (it’s a stretch, sure, but possible). This is why the scouting department and front office of an organization are so important during a rebuild, they are the ones who have to make the tough decisions. The Bulls are about as good as most other teams in the league at scouting and evaluating talent. They’ve had their fair share of success and failure when it comes to the draft.
Looking at the recent success of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, I worry that the Bulls will be doomed to Eastern Conference mediocrity for another 8-10 years. The young rosters on both teams are intimidating with their talent, and the Celtic’s coach, Brad Stevens, has cemented himself as the best in the East. As much as the Bulls like to reassure us that the Jimmy Butler trade accelerated the rebuild, they still need a transcendent talent to elevate them past the likes of Joel Embiid, or a cohesive unit that can outmaneuver the X’s and O’s on Brad Stevens clip board. Maybe Markkanen can be that player, and maybe, with another year under his belt, Fred Hoiberg can forge that unit, but for now, I’m more than a little worried about the Bulls future.
That’s where I’m at right now, disappointed the Bulls won’t be picking 1st, happy they won’t be picking 9th, and mostly concerned about their future standing in a young and talented Eastern Conference. Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on looking at some of the players that might be available to the Bulls at 7 and 22, and I will also post part 3 in my ongoing guide to Bulls free agency 2018. Thanks for reading and Go Bulls!