Wowza! What a Draft Day!
Lots of trades. Too many trades. None of which involved the Chicago Bulls. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what just happened. Truthfully, it was a very boring draft for the Bulls. As picks were swapped all around them, they played it straight and stuck to the script.
Zion, Ja, and Barrett went 1, 2, 3 as expected. De’Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Culver were taken 4, 5, and 6, leaving the Bulls with a crystal clear choice at 7th overall: Coby White, point guard from the University of North Carolina.
With the point guard position secured, the Bulls turned their focus to adding some depth to the roster. Twitter was wild with speculation, would the Front Office take on a bad contract for another 1st round pick? No. The Bulls kept it simple. They found an athletic big in the second round (38th overall) that might become the rim protector we’ve all been hoping for: Daniel Gafford, big out of Arkansas.
Both White and Gafford are probably being described as “safe” picks by somebody, somewhere, on the interwebs. They are not. Both players have a lot to work on, and we fans will have to be very patient, especially with Coby White. He’s probably not going to be very good for a huge chunk of next season. Most NBA point guards suck their first couple years. They make a lot of mistakes and they get overwhelmed on both ends of the court. I fully expect this to happen to White, and so should you.
If he gets it, if the game ever “slows down” for him, if he becomes comfortable with the new level of competition, then the Bulls might have finally found the elusive Point Guard of the Future. My fear is that White won’t mature fast enough for GarPax and us fans. I’m worried that the expectations for this 19 year old will be too high. The Front Office wants this team to be in the hunt for the playoffs next season. That’s a pretty tall order for a rookie point guard. I hope GarPax find a veteran point guard to shepherd this team, and White, until the Bulls are competitive again. Now that I’ve taken a wet cloth to your expectations here’s 15 minutes worth of ESPN on Coby White…
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Daniel Gafford. I say “elephant in the room” because he was soooooo obviously a Bulls kind of player and I didn’t cover him in any of my posts leading up to the draft. My bad. When you see his highlight reel you’ll understand why the Bulls took him.
He’s an athletic big, good around the rim and in the post, solid in pick and roll, a capable finisher in transition, and he has strong shot blocking instincts. What he doesn’t do is shoot the ball well from beyond 5’ from the rim. He never attempted a 3 pointer in his two seasons at Arkansas, and he averaged just over 1 assist per game. Gafford is a traditional pick-and-roll, post’m up, kind of big. I’m sad and a little ashamed that I didn’t recognize how much of a GarPax kind of player he was. I must have been blinded by my love for Shamorie Ponds (who went undrafted, but was quickly signed by the Houston Rockets when the Draft ended.) and Nic Claxton (drafted 31st overall by the Brooklyn Nets).
And just like that, the 2019 NBA Draft is over. The NBA gets a short breather from the madness, and then Free Agency begins the evening of June 30th. I will be on vacation the next couple weeks, but should be back writing posts before Summer League starts. Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!