The NBA Draft takes place next month, with mock drafts now in full-force. So, as the draft nears, I recently gathered a collection of Bulls bloggers from varying sites and different perspectives to have a round-table discussion on the Bulls draft.
Our round-table discussion consisted of the following:
Myself, Tyler Pleiss (@Tyler_Pleiss) - BaB
Vijay Vemu (@VJVemu) - BaB
Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) - Bulls Confidential
Mark Karantzoulis (@MKarantzoulis) - Bulls Confidential, Dennis Podman Podcast
Drew Edstrom (@DNEdstrom) - Bulls Bloc, Chicago Now
Josh Vinson (@TheJoshAVinson) - National NBA Writer at DRoseHoops
During the round-table, we discussed three topics related to the draft, the following is the first of those three topics.
Topic #1 - Should the Bulls try to trade up in the draft? If so, what would you be willing to give up?
Tyler: K.C. Johnson has reported a few times already that the front office would be willing to trade up for Kris Dunn from Providence. As of now, Draft Express (who I trust more than other sites) has Dunn going to Minnesota at #5. There have also been reports that Boston at three and Phoenix at four, in addition to Minnesota could all be open to trading their pick, the former to move back in the draft.
But to answer the question, I would say no. I think if they were to, their best package would consist of their current 1st, plus the Kings pick and a player such as Doug McDermott or Nikola Mirotic (assuming Jimmy Butler is off the trade block), more than likely the latter of the two. Not exactly overpowering assets. Moreover, this draft after the first two, three picks isn't that strong on star power or game changers, so I'm not sure it's worth it to move up. Especially when they could very well draft a guy like Wade Baldwin from Vanderbilt at 14, who has great potential as a 3 & D guy, in addition to what his overall fit with the Bulls could be.
Mark: It's hard for me to say the Bulls should seriously considering moving up in the draft as I'm stuck on the point of how it could be realistically achieved.
The Bulls are a team right now who lack sure-fire long-term assets that can be banked on to be part of future plans. For that reason, it makes sense that they'd be interested in prospects at the top of the 2016 NBA Draft, but acquiring a player like Kris Dunn seems improbable given so few assets exist on the roster as presently constructed.
The Bulls' willingness to nab Dunn will be limited by the existing value of their current assets. For that reason, I don't see a plausible situation that nets the Bulls a top-5 pick. Empathizing with a team like Boston, who currently holds pick No. 3 in the upcoming draft, would they really want to cash in their main prize from the infamous trade with the Nets, for Doug McDermott, pick No. 14 and the Kings pick? If I was Danny Ainge, I'm not accepting that deal, and would I envision that position being mutual for all general managers who currently are in possession of a top-5 pick.
But for arguments sake, if we're to assume that the Celtics would be interested in that offer, I'm not convinced that this would be a logical deal for the Bulls to make. Perhaps I'm still stricken by the draft day deal that resulted in Doug McDermott, but consolidating assets seems like a bad decision for a team lacking talent while also not being on the periphery of contention to justify such a bold move.
I really like Kris Dunn, but is his ceiling high enough to justify selling multiple assets? I don't think so, particularly as there are some nice prospects available to the Bulls with their own draft selection.
Tyler: I thought you brought up some great points in regards to the Bulls assets in your response, Mark. As you said, I highly doubt the Celtics would want anything the Bulls have, unless it's revolved around Jimmy, which I don't see happening. But I do think a team like Phoenix at #4, offering (potentially) two first rounders, this year's pick and the Kings pick, and including a stretch four in Niko could be intriguing for them. If there was a potential trade partner, they'd be the one to me, though I still highly doubt anything were to happen in the grand scheme of things.
Drew: If the Bulls can create some sort of package that would entice the Celtics then I am all for it. However, I do not see the Bulls moving up. You both have mentioned that the Celtics would not be interested in anything that the Bulls have and I agree. The Celtics are on the verge of something great and Danny Ainge would probably be reluctant to give up some picks unless for a player the caliber of Jimmy Butler.
I also really like Kris Dunn and if approached the Bulls should engage in talks. At this point in time the Bulls are stuck in basketball purgatory, the middle. I do not see this team competing at all at this point, so anything to expedite the process of a quick rebuild would be beneficial. Im open to anything as long as the future is in mind, this team is not going to compete. Teams around the league are not that interested in the players that the Bulls have besides Mirotic, McDermott, Butler or Taj Gibson. I do not see the Bulls moving up.
Josh: I believe if the Bulls did trade up it would be something major but I just don't see it happening. The Bulls are high on Kris Dunn as everyone knows, however I'm wondering if maybe they should try to trade up for a big perhaps? With Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah both possibly being gone the Bulls could use a guy like Jakob Poeltl (or someone similar). At the same time I just don't see the Bulls being able to move up unless they did something drastic, which as everyone probably knows this front office is "historically conservative" as K.C. Johnson would say.
I'm sold on Wade Baldwin IV being the guy that the Bulls could pick up at #14 and would fit this new system. I think him being a guard with a 6ft 11 wingspan is very valuable. There are other guards that could be looked at as well but the problem is outside of the Timberwolves, the majority of the teams with higher picks than the Bulls could use a guard such as Buddy Hield, Denzel Valentine or a player like Kris Dunn. So that too makes things interesting.
At the same time Colin Cowherd is reporting the lakers would trade their #2 pick for a great player, so possibly a Jimmy trade for Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram? Not a bad idea if the Bulls are rebuilding completely.
Will: This draft pick seems to indicate the direction the FO hopes to take during the next few seasons --the Bulls FO can't make this pick without deciding what they want to do with the current parts, which will make this a particularly interesting draft.
I am in full agreement with Mark. Trading up, unless it was a deal including Butler and therefore getting a top 2 pick in return, seems like yet another futile attempt to make another run with this core. The Bulls have to start thinking long term, and drafting a 22-year-old, Dunn, although he is talented, probably isn't going to be the centerpiece of the next great Bulls team. And he's certainly not the solution to the current problems. In other words, why trade up, trading away established players or future picks/assets, to get just slightly higher in the lottery? The talent in the 6-10 range doesn't seem TOO much more incredible than that in the 14 range, where the Bulls pick.
I've seen some mocks saying the Bulls are after a guard; Baldwin, Valentine or Demetrius Jackson. I've heard they've also shown interest in some bigs like Deyonta Davis, Ante Zizic, Ivica Zubac -- probably suggesting the Bulls are ready to let Noah and Gasol walk, as Josh mentioned. All are nice players, but to me, the Bulls have to swing for the fences here, to find the best potential talent. If they hang on to their pick, I'd hope for trendy prospects Marquese Chriss or Timothe Luwawu to fall, both of whom could be rotation guys in the near/immediate future, with serious upside down the road.
Drew: I love Luwawu, I think he could have an immediate impact with the Bulls. He has great length and can defend. I believe he Bulls biggest need is a 2/3. An athletic wing that can defend would be great.
I hope Pau and Noah walk unless Noah wants to take a hometown discount. The Bulls need a rim protector if both of those guys walk.
Vijay: I think the Bulls shouldn’t be trading up. I think someone mentioned this earlier in this thread (Will or Mark) but it would be a horrible idea to trade up. Chicago doesn’t have the best assets when it comes to the trade market so they will likely have to dangle Butler + the Kings pick and their own pick + a sweetener to even get teams talking who are in the top five. I’m on the "don’t trade away Jimmy Butler" train so I’m totally against giving him up for a top five pick. It’s not worth it.
Teams know that the Bulls are in love with Dunn so they can possibly end up getting a better deal from Chicago knowing that they would do anything to get Dunn. Getting a player like Dunn is great considering how he is one of the few "play right now" point guards in the draft, but I don’t know if it’s exactly the right idea to trade the future away just for him.
Plus, I think there are some good options at #14. The mocks have the Bulls taking a lot of different players. I personally like Demetrius Jackson and Timothe Luwawu. I’m usually skeptical of overseas guys, but the reviews on Luwawu are pretty good. They can even go with a big man although a guard would be a better idea. The options are there for Chicago at #14.
WIll: That's my point. Gasol is all but out the door. You don't know if Noah will want to resign. You don't know whether Rose will be around, or if he even should be (discussion for another time), so you have to make these decisions beforehand, or just spit ball and pray you made the right call.
The two options are to trade Buter now, just to be able to gather talent and have a better understanding of your future OR draft the purest available talent (Chriss) or a player with potential (Luwawu) to be a solid NBA starter at a position that is at a premium in today's NBA. Since Butler is realistically not going anywhere, the latter seems like the only viable option. Either way, there is more at stake here than just the 14th overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls need to decide what they want to be, which makes this decision a critical one.
While the Bulls may be "interested" in trading up for a prospect in Kris Dunn, it's highly unlikely considering the assets the Bulls currently possess, among other varying reasons.
Come back for part two of the round-table discussion when we give our top three prospects for the Bulls.