Chicago Bulls Draft Duke’s Wendell Carter, Jr. After Late Push To Trade Up Is Thwarted

The Chicago Bulls take Wendell Carter, Jr. with the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft.

Wendell Carter shakes hands.
Mike Stobe / Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls take Wendell Carter, Jr. with the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft.

The Chicago Bulls took Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. with their first of two picks in this year’s NBA draft, according to NBC Sports Chicago. How will the Bulls’ selection of Carter will be judged will be interesting after they decided to play things safe, despite rumblings that they were looking to trade up.

Wendell Carter, Jr. becomes the latest Duke player taken in the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. Carter joins a heralded list that includes Elton Brand, Jay Williams, and Chris Duhon as players the Bulls have taken from Duke in past years.

The Bulls have always had a preference for taking players from proven college programs. Schools such as Duke and Michigan State are often where the Bulls spend a lot of their time scouting future draft prospects. It has been a practice that has not gone over too well with Bulls fans, however.

Bulls’ fans have longed for the team to take a chance on players with a huge upside. Lacking superstar talent is what has doomed the Bulls in recent years. It has been the difference in the Bulls being playoff contenders versus championship contenders over the years. A developing story regarding the Bulls’ failed attempt to trade up in the NBA draft may change that perception.

Clutch Points is reporting that the Chicago Bulls were in talks with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire the No. 3 overall pick. It is possible that the Bulls were aiming for either Luka Doncic or Mo Bamba with their failed trade attempt.

Instead of the Bulls getting the No. 3 pick from the Hawks, it was the Dallas Mavericks, according to ESPN, who outmaneuvered them. The Mavericks will now have Luka Doncic in the fold to share the backcourt with rookie sensation Dennis Smith. It cannot be viewed as a loss for the Bulls because they had options with the No. 7 pick.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls had the opportunity to take Michael Porter, Jr. but chose Wendell Carter, Jr. The scouting reports on the two players could not be more opposite.

Michael Porter, Jr. would likely have been the top pick in the NBA draft if he were healthy. Instead, he slid all the way to the Denver Nuggets at No. 14. Michael Porter, Jr. has the explosiveness and athleticism the Bulls could have used.

Wendell Carter, Jr. is an underrated athlete who has been compared to the Boston Celtics’ Al Horford. A better NBA comparison for Carter would be LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls would be happy with either type of player.

Going with Wendell Carter, Jr. means that the Chicago Bulls preferred to solidify their frontcourt with a center. Carte’s name does not jump off the screen, however, neither did Lauri Markkanen, who was one of the best rookies from last season’s draft class.