The NBA doesn't sleep for long, but there is a two-month run after free agency and before training camp without much news. As such, SB Nation's NBA team thought it would be cool to try to guess the top 100 players in the league...after the 2016-2017 season. This exercise was as much fun as it was inherently outrageous, especially for someone like myself who has always kept tabs on future mock drafts, high school rankings and the like.
I can genuinely say Matt letting me write for Blog-a-Bull is still a huge honor to me, so being able to work on this project with Tom Ziller, Paul Flannery, Mike Prada, Jonathan Tjarks and Conrad Kaczmarek is sort of mind-blowing. I'm pretty sure I've read everything Ziller's written since his AOL Fanhouse days circa 2007 or 2008. Flannery, Prada and Tjarks are three must-reads in my opinion, and Conrad does great work at our Cavs blog Fear the Sword and also for our dot com operation during the season.
An order was randomly selected and we started the draft with the six of us. Tjarks made things interesting (if not completely insane) early using his No. 3 overall pick to select.....Andre Drummond!
After Westbrook went at No. 4, I had the fifth pick. I was only considering Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, but what sort of Bulls blogger would I be if I took Kyrie? Really, I would have taken Rose in good faith at No. 3. I was as hard on Rose as anyone last season, but whatever, it's over now. That ordeal will not affect his future, and I still choose to believe his future is as bright as any player this side of LeBron and Durant.
A few more notes:
-- The Bulls had four players selected in the top 100. Rose went No. 5, Flannery tabbed Jimmy at No. 58, Noah went No. 62 to Prada, Nikola Mirotic went to Tjarks at No. 63. Of all the players who didn't get picked, Deng has a case as being one of the toughest omissions. The 2016-2017 season will be Deng's age 31 season, and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he was still a top 100 player by then. I'll accept a large portion of the blame for this, seeing as I took Ivan Rabb at No. 95. Ivan Rabb just finished his sophomore year of high school.
-- Players from Chicago taken in this draft: Rose at No. 5 (me), Anthony Davis at No. 7 (Conrad), Jabari Parker (after his third NBA season) at No. 26 (Prada), Jahlil Okafor (first current high schooler drafted) at No. 29 (me), Dwyane Wade at No. 60 (Ziller), Iman Shumpert at No. 89 (me). I also came really close to taking Cliff Alexander at the end of this draft too, but got gun-shy. If this was a 2020 projection, I definitely would have taken Cliff.
So please: check it out. YFBB contributed a few words after every Bulls player was picked, too. This was a blast to work on and I fully look forward to all of us being very wrong come 2017, assuming the Earth is still around at that point. For what it's worth, SB Nation also did this in 2011 trying to guess the best players in 2015, and Austin Rivers went No. 14. Sports!