Rumors are flying, mock drafts are being second guessed, prospects are being poked, prodded, measured and interviewed: NBA Draft mania has set in. Originally, I was planning on breaking down a number of the prospects, the ones that are most likely to be available to the Bulls with the 7th and 22nd picks, but much better experts have done all sorts of breakdowns on every player in the draft. Instead, I decided to spend the next few weeks introducing you to possible Bulls draftees. Today we will start with some of the players that could be available to select with the 22nd pick.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube highlights and breakdown videos, I poured through 18 mock drafts (which I then compiled in an easy(?) to read spreadsheet), listened to several draft related podcasts, watched the NBA Combine on ESPN, read article after article on the Bulls and their picks/needs/draft interests… In short, I was taken by a cloud of madness, swept through the nightmare planes of Upside and Potential, thrown through the forgotten eldritch steppes of Instinct and Athleticism, swept through the murky depths of the sea of Fit vs Best Available, and finally I awoke, addled and raving, like a character out of a Lovecraft story.
But what had my fevered, eldritch nightmare revealed? No one knows anything about anything!!! You cannot stop his waking!!! *Maniacal cackling* Sorry, it seems I’m still suffering from the side effects of the Draft Madness. *Clears throat* I learned that, if mock drafts are to be trusted, then there are going to be a good number of players available at (and deserving of) being picked 22nd overall by the Bulls.
Jontay Porter, the brother of highly coveted prospect Michael Porter Jr, may be one of the players available with the 22nd pick. Jontay is not super athletic, but he possess very good basketball instincts. The 18 year old big man played well for Missouri, averaging over 9 points a game, along with nearly 7 rebounds and 2 assists. He shot 43.7% from the field, and 36.4% on 3 pointers. At 6’11 and 240 lbs, Jontay has NBA size, but, like every young prospect, he will have to develop his strength. His highlight reel is by no means spectacular, but some “experts” project he will become a competent pro.
Only one of the 18 mock drafts I studied had the Bulls selecting Jontay Porter…
Anfernee Simons is an 18 year old high school guard out of Florida who is entering the draft through a loophole in the age restriction rule (he spent an extra year in high school). He’s about 6’4”, 185 lbs, and very athletic. His basketball game has been described as “very smooth.” Only one mock draft that I saw had the Bulls selecting him with the 22nd pick. He is a project, a player who will probably spend the majority of next season in the G-League. If a team is willing to spend the time and energy developing him, Simons might turn into a draft day steal. He was one of a group of players the Bulls invited to stay in Chicago for a workout after the Combine.
De’Anthony Melton is another guard the Bulls might have an interest in. He played a single season of college basketball for the USC Trojans, averaging over 8 points and 3 assists a game. His shooting stats are pedestrian at best (43.7 FG%, 28.4 FG3%), and I didn’t see anything too impressive when I watched him during the Combine. He missed his sophomore year of basketball at USC due to the FBI probe into NCAA basketball. He is primarily known as a physical defender, and if his skills translate to the NBA, might be a serviceable professional. Only one mock draft had the Bulls taking the 6’4”, 19 year old with the 22nd pick.
Chandler Hutchison sparked a fire storm of rumors when he left the NBA Combine early. According to the interwebs, the 6’7” guard/wing from Boise State received a “promise” to be drafted by a late round team. Many speculate that it was the Bulls who promised the 22 year old senior they would draft him. The evidence is shaky at best, but the conspiracy theory involves the close relationship between Hutchison’s agent and the Reinsdorf family, yada yada yada, I’ll believe it when it happens.
As for Hutchison the player; he played all four years at Boise State, showing substantial improvement in his stats over his collegiate career. He is athletic and long. He has a fairly strong offensive game but would need to improve on defense in order to stick in the NBA. One of the 18 mock drafts had the Bulls selecting Hutchison with the 22nd pick.
Aaron Holiday is the 21 year old younger brother of current Bull Justin Holiday. While Justin is long and lanky, Aaron is short and compact. He is 6’1” on a tall day, but is capable of playing both the point and shooting guard positions. Aaron has played basketball for 3 years at UCLA. He is a scorer. He averaged 45% shooting (just over 42% from 3 point range) with 4.7 assists per game over his 3 seasons of college basketball. Aaron’s highlight videos remind me former Bull Nate Robinson, he looks to be strong for his size, tenacious when driving to the rim, and he has no shortage of confidence in his shot. Two of the mock drafts I saw had the Bulls selecting Aaron Holiday 22nd overall.
That concludes our first group of prospect introductions. Next week, I will continue to introduce players who may be available with the 22nd pick. In the weeks to come I will look at the 5 players that could/should be available at 7th overall, and put together part 3 of this summers free agency guide. Go Bulls!