The Chicago Bulls, whether they admit it or not, are officially in full tank mode as they attempt to add more ping pong balls in the draft lottery. While the first year of their rebuild has featured some ugly losses, this young Bulls teams nevertheless showed flashes of their potential with last year’s lottery pick Lauri Markkanen, dynamic second-year point guard Kris Dunn and returning swingman Zach LaVine meeting, if not exceeding the expectations of the front office.
This year’s top-heavy draft presents another opportunity for the Bulls to add yet another high-upside talent to the core. Chicago will have two first-round picks in June’s NBA Draft. They have acquired the Pelicans’ 2018 first-round pick after sending Spanish forward Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans and kept their own first rounder, which has a better chance of landing in the top 10.
In his latest piece on Basketball Insiders, NBA scribe Spencer Davies delved deeper into the Bulls’ rebuilding plan and provided suggestions as to which among the top prospects in the upcoming draft would best fit with this team. According to Davies, the Bulls will eventually fill the void at the small forward spot, and they could look into bringing in a physical specimen in that position just to balance out their finesse-dominated roster.
“Typically you’d go with the best player available when you’re slotted in the top ten, but the Bulls should feel good about their backcourt and the power forward position. What they really are lacking are reliable shooters and perimeter defenders, as well as a player with a bulldog mentality.”
Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. are the two wing players who would fit the bill for the Bulls. Not only because both Bridges and Porter already possess NBA-ready bodies, their versatility and reliable three-ball would make their transition to the modern NBA a lot easier.
Bridges is basically the spitting image of Russell Westbrook, only that he is a heftier version with a 6-foot-7, 230-pound body. The Spartans star had another impressive campaign in his sophomore year (17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds) and added more fuel to the hype by dropping 29 points, nine rebounds and four assists in MSU’s win over Bucknell in the first round of NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Porter came in as a prodigious wing player with a strong claim to become the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, a lower back injury suffered in the first half of Missouri’s season-opener against Iowa State derailed what would have been his audition to the NBA. Nevertheless, scouts and general managers remain very high on the 6-foot-10, 215-pound standout who is drawing comparisons from the likes of Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson.
As for the Bulls’ chance of getting one of these prospects, it’s trending really well as Chicago currently owns the 9th worst record in the league at 24-44. The latest “Mock Draft” by Basketball Insiders writer Steve Kyler had the Bulls selecting Texas Longhorns’ defensive stalwart Mohamed Bamba. On the other hand, Bridges and Porter were projected really high at No.5 (Sacramento Kings) and No.6 (Cleveland Cavaliers), respectively. Still, the performance of these prospects in the ongoing NCAA tournament will have drastic effects on their future rankings in the succeeding mock drafts.