I’ve Been Thinking…

With the 2019 NBA Draft just hours away, I’ve been thinking…

1) The Bulls shouldn’t trade up to draft a point guard (unless it’s Ja Morant). I’m not saying they shouldn’t draft Darius Garland or Coby White, I’m just saying don’t waste future draft capital on them. If either one of Garland or White is available with the 7th pick, then the Bulls should absolutely consider taking them. For me, there isn’t enough evidence to warrant moving up to pick White or Garland. It’s also important to remember there will be a plethora of veteran point guards and ball handlers available in free agency this summer.

2) Trading down in this draft could be a way to move Cristiano Felicio. I’m not sure who, if anyone, is looking for the 7th pick overall, but if a team starts kicking the tires… I hope the Front Office find a way to unload the Brazilian Bomb.

3) I’m sick of the Bulls acquiring incomplete players, guys that are just “scorers” or “great defenders.” Why can’t we have good all-around basketball players? Guys that can do a bit of everything at the NBA level. They don’t have to be world beaters, but they should at least have basic skills on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. It’s time to stop accumulating half-a-players.

4) Even today, reports are still circulating that a third team might get involved in the New Orleans Pelicans/Los Angeles Lakers/Anthony Davis trade. I think I’m over the Bulls being that third team. It would be an extremely “thirsty” (desperate) move by the Front Office, and it’s never a good thing to act out of desperation.

5) I heard somewhere that 44% of the NBA’s players will be free agents this summer! That’s nuts, if it’s true. The entire shape of the league could alter this summer. The Bulls have an ample opportunity to add some good veterans to the roster, but one of the biggest weaknesses this FO has is signing free agents. Between the draft and free agency, this summer could really make or break the Bulls rebuild.

6) Don’t expect any of the players the Bulls draft this year to make a significant impact next season. I have a feeling whoever the Bulls end up picking will probably need some time to develop before they start making strides in the NBA. This draft is heavy on potential and light on refined ballers. There’s a lot of “if the stars align, and he works real hard, player X might stick in the NBA,” and not a lot of “player X has the skills to be an All-Star in the league.”

7) I’m still sold on Shamorie Ponds and Nic Claxton.

8) If GarPax trade Zach LaVine after casting aside Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen fails to improve significantly next season, they deserve to be horse-whipped, tarred-and-feathered, and banished to the Washington Wizards. If LaVine and Markkanen don’t pan out, then the Bulls will have definitively “lost” the Jimmy Butler trade and it will be time to run GarPax out of town.

9) It’s sad how so much of the Bulls rebuild still relies on the Jimmy Butler trade. While a franchise like the Atlanta Hawks has been incredibly proactive in acquiring young talent while mixing in veteran leadership, the Bulls have plodded along making trades for cash instead of draft picks. Currently, the Atlanta Hawks have 6 picks in this draft: the 8th, 10th, 17th, 35th, 41st, and 44th. They can use those assets to trade up for higher picks, or trade out for a veteran leaders, or stand pat and draft 6 more up-and-comers to an already impressive roster of developing players. Meanwhile, the Bulls are stagnant with the 7th and 38th picks.

10) I’ve made a habit of saying the Front Office does a good job drafting quality NBA players. I’ve written recently that the draft is what GarPax does best, that we should have faith in their skills as talent evaluators. Here is a list of players the Bulls have drafted over the last 10 years:

2018: Wendell Carter Jr – waiting on development

Chandler Hutchison – waiting on development

2017: Lauri Markkanen – waiting on development

2016: Denzel Valentine – waiting on health

Paul Zipser – out of the league

2015: Bobby Portis – traded

2014: Doug McDermott – traded

Cameron Bairstow – out of the league

2013: Tony Snell – traded

Erik Murphy – out of the league

2012: Marquis Teague – out of the league

2011: Nikola Mirotic – traded

Jimmy Butler – traded

2010: No picks

2009: James Johnson – traded

Taj Gibson – traded

In ten years, the Bulls have managed to draft one star (Butler), four rotation players (Gibson, Johnson, Mirotic, Portis), two players barely hanging on to NBA careers (Snell, McDermott), four players we’re still waiting on (Valentine, Markkanen, Hutchison, Carter Jr.), and four players completely out of the league (Teague, Murphy, Bairstow, Zipser). I think I’m going to start holding off on my praise of the FO’s draft record. Mirotic, Butler, Gibson, Rose and Noah are quickly fading in time’s rear view mirror. Markkanen, Hutch and Carter still have so much to prove.

We’ll see what GarPax can prove with their latest shot at the draft. Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!