It’s time. I’ve been putting it off, but, with only a week or so left before the NBA Draft, now is the time to address the Bulls 7th overall pick. I decided to be bold with this post. I’m making a stand and throwing out the hot takes. The gloves are off! You don’t like my picks??!! Come at me bro!!!
From what I can tell, from all the extensive prospect research I’ve watched other people do, there are four players that almost, most definitely, probably, most likely WON’T be available for the Bulls at pick 7. These four (in no particular order) are:
-Luka Doncic – Slovenian 19 year old who plays professional basketball in Spain for Real Madrid. Doncic has won EVERY BASKETBALL AWARD IN EUROPE and is only 19! The 19 year old is the BEST PLAYMAKER in the draft, and only a moron wouldn’t draft the MOST DECORATED EUROPEAN 19 year old OF ALL TIME #1 overall. He’s a champion, a winner, a leader, an MVP, a rising star, a future Hall of Famer, and 19 years old.
-DeAndre Ayton- Is a talented big man from Arizona.
-Jaren Jackson JR – The BEST, MOST VERSATILE Big/Wing in the draft.
-Marvin Bagley III – played for Duke.
These four players should NOT be available at pick 7. Here are the prospects who probably, most definitely, maybe, WILL be available (in order of presumed greatness)…
The RokDeez Bulls Blog Draft Madness Best Available At 7th Overall Big Board 2018
1. Mohamed Bamba – The Project
7’1” tall. 225 lbs heavy. 7’10” wingspan.
What I like: Everything. He is big, fast, and smooth. He’s a center. He blocks shots. He rebounds the basketball poetically. He is learning how to shoot the basketball from beyond the 3 point line. He is smart, polished, well spoken in front of the media. I think he and Lauri Markkanen would fit well together in the front court. Bamba would become the defensive anchor for the Bulls, cleaning up any mistakes his teammates (i.e. Zach LaVine) make. He has a ton of untapped potential waiting to be molded into greatness.
Hot take: Bamba is destined for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
…Except he’s still learning to shoot the basketball from beyond the 3 point line.
…And he is thin. He needs to bulk up in order to compete in the paint against NBA centers.
…And he can get lost on defense when running back in transition.
…And it’s going to take a long time for him to realize his full potential.
2. Mikal Bridges – The Ready Made
6’7” tall. 209 lbs heavy. 7’ wingspan.
What I Like: Mikal Bridges IS THE BEST DEFENDER in the draft. He is a wing player that can defend multiple positions and score some hoops. He is a strong one-on-one defender, a smart help defender, and his basketball instincts seem to be geared toward defense. He played 3 seasons of college basketball for Villanova, winning 2 national titles and improving his game every season. He reminds me of Jimmy Butler, but it remains to be seen if Bridges can continue to grow like Butler did. He has a very high defensive IQ and instinct. He would make an instant, positive impact on the Bulls, and could probably be in the starting line up game 1 of the season. He is capable of hitting 3 pointers at a high percentage, making him a true “3-and-D” wing.
Hot Take: Mikal Bridges will be a perennial All NBA Defensive 1st Team finisher.
Weaknesses: Bridges is an older prospect, having spent a good chunk of time winning championships in college. His recent shooting success is just that, recent. In his first season playing for ‘Nova he didn’t exactly stretch the floor with his shooting range. In his last 2 seasons, he went from a below 30% three point shooter to a 43.5% three point shooter, yet another example of his work and dedication to basketball (I guess that’s not really a weakness then is it?). But his age has raised questions among “experts” about his talent “ceiling.” While Bridges has gotten better every single year, people wonder how much better he can get, they assume his potential is almost tapped out. If the Bulls draft Mikal Bridges, it will be fun to see just how high his ceiling really is.
3. Wendell Carter JR – The Underrated
6’ 10” tall. 259 lbs heavy. 7’ 3” wingspan.
What I Like: Wendell Carter Jr is a team first, do the little things to win, kind of player. He sets screens. He passes the ball. He plays defense. He is one of the BEST REBOUNDERS in the draft. He played one season of Duke basketball in the shadow of Marvin Bagley III. While Bagley grabbed the headlines, Carter grabbed the rebounds, scored in the post, and cleaned up after Bagley’s defensive gaffs. If drafted by the Bulls, Wendell Carter expressed an interest in learning from Robin Lopez, ROBIN LOPEZ of all people. He is humble. His game is constantly being compared to Bulls killer Al Horford. Carter would be a very good fit with the Bulls, his ability to play in the post would free up Markkanen for 3’s. His passing and pick-and-roll play would make him deadly in concert with Zach LaVine. He has also shown real ability to knock down three pointers, making him a pick-and-pop threat/stretch big.
Hot Take: Wendell Carter Jr will be a better NBA center than DeAndre Ayton.
Weaknesses: Carter needs to improve as a perimeter defender. He got into a lot of foul trouble chasing after quicker offensive players as they blew past him from the 3 point line. Carter could also be more assertive with his talent; He allowed himself to be overshadowed at Duke “for the good of the team”, even though (2nd Hot Take!) he is a BETTER PLAYER than Marvin Bagley III.
4. Trae Young – The Potential
6’ 2” tall (in heels). 180 lbs heavy. 6’3” wingspan.
What I Like: Trae Young is the second best playmaker in the draft. He is also a spectacular gunner from long distance. Trae Young has draw comparisons to Steph Curry and Steve Nash, and they are justified. His ball handling skills are good, probably better than good, which allows him to create space to get his deadly shot off. He broke scoring and assist records in the Big 12 and NCAA in his single season at Oklahoma. He was the Sooners best, and most consistent form of offense the entire season, and they leaned on him heavily. He had an insane usage percentage (37.1%), nearly 2 percentage points higher than LeBron James usage percentage (35.2%) in this years NBA post season. Much like LeBron, Young carried his team. Young might be the long sought after “Point Guard of the Future” the Bulls have been pining for. If he is drafted by the Bulls, expect Kris Dunn to be moved to the 2 guard position (or to another team), playing off the ball on offense and covering the opponents lead ball handler on defense.
Hot Take: Trae Young will live up to the hype.
Weaknesses: Young is small. He will be of little help on the defensive end of the floor. He has been known to take defensive possessions off, hanging out near the perimeter, not going for loose balls or long rebounds. While his potential greatness is almost palpable, if he fails to make an historic impact on the offensive end of the court, he could turn out to be a monumental bust. By the end of his lone college season, opponents had figured out how to defend Young. While his playmaking is incredible, teams overwhelmed him with multiple defenders forcing Young to make poor passes and numerous turnovers. It will be easy for NBA teams to replicate this strategy. Also, I don’t like his fit with the Bulls. If he plays in a line up with Zach LaVine, then the Bulls will have two gaping holes on the defensive end of the court. As good as Kris Dunn is, I don’t think he can cover for both LaVine and Young. If Trae Young is drafted by the Bulls it may signal an impending roster shake up of Butler-to-Minnesota-esque proportions.
5. Michael Porter JR – The Unknown
6’10” tall. 215 lbs heavy. 7’ wingspan.
What I Like: Michael Porter Jr appears to want to play for the Bulls. They were the only team he allowed to give him a physical (though those results were shared with the entire league). His agent is based out of Chicago, and Porter has been living in town while he works out and trains before the draft. It can also be inferred from his posts on social media and answers he has given in interviews, that the Bulls are his favorite team. Great, I like the Bulls too, something Porter and I have in common. But beyond that not much else is KNOWN about Michael Porter Jr. His single college season at Missouri was cut short due to an unfortunate back injury. Going into last season, Porter Jr was one of the top high school prospects in the country. Some “experts” had him going #1 in this years draft, most had him in the top 5, and he still might end up there. His size and high school highlight reels make him look LeBron-esque. If his back is healthy, and his athleticism is for real, he could be a steal at #7 and the franchise cornerstone the Bulls have been missing.
Hot Take: Jontay Porter will have a more productive NBA career than his brother, Michael Porter Jr.
Weaknesses: If you couldn’t tell from my hot take, I am not sold on Michael Porter Jr. I don’t trust his back. More importantly, he is a bad passer. He also takes a lot of dumb, bad, contested, inefficient shots. He plays upright and stiff on both offense and defense. He is NOT a good one-on-one defender, routinely beaten on the perimeter by the offensive player he is trying to guard. While he has some real offensive potential, and has shown some defensive potential (read as size), considering his back injury and that he plays the same position as Lauri Markkanen, I don’t think the Bulls should draft Michael Porter Jr. with the 7th pick overall.
6. Miles Bridges – The Tweener
6’7” tall. 225 lbs heavy. 7’ wingspan.
What I Like: Miles Bridges plays hard. Has all the tools to be a competent pro. He will probably be a solid rotation player for many years in the NBA. Bridges gives all sorts of effort and has displayed some serious, sneaky, athleticism for his body type. He reminds me of a slightly larger Marcus Smart (maybe it’s just his Michigan State uniform).
Hot Take: Miles Bridges will win more NBA titles than Marvin Bagley III.
Weaknesses: Miles Bridges would be a reach for the Bulls with the 7th pick. At least three of the players I have already mentioned will be available for the Bulls, and all of those players SEEM to have more potential/upside than Miles Bridges. His size does not correlate with his skill set, and could cause some real defensive match up problems for the team that picks him. Still, I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Bulls selected Bridges 7th overall, I would just scratch my head and wait for the season to prove them right or wrong.
…And that concludes my Big Board. A week or so from now this will all be forgotten and we will be welcoming the newest members of the Chicago Bulls. I hope you enjoy the draft, and the rest of the madness leading up to it. I will write and publish my post draft reaction post either Thursday night (June 21st) or, more likely, Friday morning. The NBA Summer League Schedule has been posted and I plan on covering the Bulls run toward the Summer League Championship. There will also be plenty of Free Agency Frenzy to cover in the weeks to come (forget Miles Bridges, maybe the Bulls should sign the real Marcus Smart!). Thanks for reading. Go Bulls!