The hardest part about preparing for a draft is getting a sense of what other teams are going to do. Both in terms of who they will draft, but also where other teams will draft given all the potential trades out there leading up to and taking place on draft night, causing uncertainty about who will be available when you’re on the clock.
With that being said, I’ve tried to organize my thoughts about how I’d like to see the Bulls should approach this draft, starting with a projected top ten. The Pelicans at #4 and the Cavaliers at #5 are big unknowns for me. If either trades their pick or drafts Garland or White, it throws the plans I have right out the window.
Specifically, looking at the Bulls, their biggest need is extremely obvious given the fact they’ve drafted a big with their first round pick in each of the last two years, and traded for a 2 and 3, in LaVine and Otto Porter Jr., respectively.
Ja Morant, who I was praying for during the draft lottery before my hopes and dreams were crushed when Chicago ended up at the seventh pick, is pretty much already drafted by Memphis according to the entire Internet. Then you have Garland and White. The consensus seems to be Garland is the better prospect, likely going to Phoenix, if not earlier, which is a-okay with me. I don’t see his game translating as much to the NBA as White’s1.
Now, Garland only played a few games in college before going down with an injury, so there’s a lot of unknown with him still, and I think that unknown is why people have gravitated to him. With draft picks, the younger and less you know about a guy, the more the media can imagine and paint their potential with high expectations, not really having anything concrete over an entire season to go off of. The media loves that kind of shit. And he still could end up being better in the end. Teams need to make a judgement call based on the information they have no matter how limited it may be.
With White though, you have a bigger point guard who can shoot nearly as well, and get to the basket with both his strength and agility. While Garland can get to the basket, he needs to rely on maneuverability and craftiness much more because he lacks the same strength and size. When watching through their highlights, both have a slower shooting form, but the thing that popped out to me was how aggressive White could be going to the basket, where Garland was only looking to find space in the lane and working to find angles to fit the ball through.
Neither is the defender and distributor I would have liked to see given the current roster makeup of the Bulls, but another guy who can score the ball isn’t a bad backup plan, considering the Bulls are still very much a work-in-progress. Much of what the Bulls have today may change before they ever become a playoff team again so White is another piece they can add to the puzzle and hope it ends up fitting, either with this squad, a future squad, or as a potential trade piece.
If none of the lottery point guards are still available at 7, I’d rather see the Bulls trade down than take the best available, unless it’s Culver. I have no interest in Hunter, I like Reddish, but I think he needs the right situation to flourish and he most certainly won’t find that environment in Chicago. Clarke and Hayes are solid, and I’m really high on Clarke, but with Lauri and Carter Jr. I just don’t want to use another lottery pick on a big man, especially given the way the league is trending.
If they were able to trade down a little bit, Kevin Porter Jr. would be the target for me and then I’d target Shamorie Ponds as a PG with the 38th pick.
But, let’s say all goes according to plan, the Bulls get White with the seventh pick, most likely Porter Jr. and Thybulle will be off the board before 38. That leaves us with KZ Okpala. I haven’t had a chance to see him play too much, but the thought here is to find that 3 and D type player, with switchability and high upside. At 6’9.5″ and 210, The Ringer compares him to Brandon Ingram, Trevor Ariza, and Wes Johnson. He’s still pretty raw, but as a sophomore, he has time to develop and the potential is there for him to be a runaway hit.
Given all of the unknowns after the first three picks, a lot of guys could fall, so I’ve laid out, in order, who I’d want the Bulls to target with their second round pick, taking the best available.
All in all, it should be exciting tonight. I just can’t wait to see Zion on the court.
God help me if the Bulls trade up to draft Garland.↩