In the first part of our round-table discussion, we hit on whether or not the Bulls should try to trade up in this year's draft. And the consensus was: a resounding 'no'.
Moving on to part two of this three part series, we all provided our own top three prospects for the Bulls if they are more sensible and stay at #14.
Topic #2: Who are your top three prospects for the Bulls? Feel free to give a brief explanation for each.
Tyler: Hopefully we can all agree that the three main areas of need for the Bulls this offseason are at the Center, Small Forward and Point Guard positions. It's been noted that the front office was set to draft a point guard in last year's draft until Bobby Portis fell into their laps. And this year, it seems that hasn't changed. That being said, the Bulls desperately need to find a rim protector, seeing as though Joakim Noah is on the decline and is likely to head elsewhere. And their small forward position leaves much to be desired too.
For me, the top three prospects I have for the Bulls are, in no specific order; Deyonta Davis, Timothe Luwawu and Wade Baldwin IV. With Davis, who appears to be a top 10 pick, his athleticism, rebounding abilities and more importantly, his rim protection are ideal for the Bulls front court. While he's still pretty raw offensively, in terms of skill-set, he's only 19 and that can be developed over time. For what he does best, and considering the market for big men has sky-rocketed because of playoff performances (see: Ian Mahinmi, Bismack Biyombo etc.), and the Bulls limited cap space this summer, Davis would be a great selection to help clean up an area where the team has struggled the past two seasons.
BaB and SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell had Luwawu as his #1 pick for the Bulls, and after watching film of him it's easy to see why. As of now, Draft Express has him slotted to the Bulls, FWIW. Luwawu would almost certainly fill the huge void on the wing next to Jimmy Butler, with his shooting ability, defensive potential and shear athleticism. Netting Luwawu would also allow Hoiberg to slide Butler back to small forward, his natural position.
Finally, if the Bulls are keen on selecting a point guard, surely to step-in after the Derrick Rose era, I'd love to see them go with Wade Baldwin IV. Unlike Rose, Baldwin is able to knock down that three-point shot and defend multiple positions. He'd be able to fill the backup role this upcoming season and eventually the starting spot and be a perfect compliment for Butler (assuming he's still around).
There's quite a few ways the Bulls could go at #14, but in looking at the Bulls needs heading into the offseason, these are the three that I feel would best fill those areas moving forward.
Drew: You are absolutely right in saying that the Bulls need a Point Guard, Center, and a Small Forward. I believe that they are thinking point guard even though I think they can address that need in free agency. I mentioned earlier that they should draft an athletic wing but will probably go point guard.
My top three prospects that the Bulls could possibly get at number 14 in no particular order are Timothe Luwawu, Domantas Sabonis, and Wade Baldwin. As you mentioned before some of the Bulls best point guard options will be gone by the time they pick. In my opinion Baldwin is the second best point guard in this draft behind Dunn. Baldwin has the physical tools to be a good defensive point guard at the next level so that is why he intrigues me.
The more and more I read about Luwawu the more I want the Bulls to take him. I love his length and he can play both ways. He just turned 21 so he is a young guy with an NBA ready body, and he also boasts a 6'11 wingspan. Luwawu is used to a fast paced system since he played for Mega Leks (watch them, they are really fun). He'll have the ability to find the open man and attack the basket which would be beneficial for the Bulls offense. Luwawu is looking more and more like a fit.
Domantas Sabonis is offensively gifted and very efficient. When I watched him play this year it seems like when he had the ball in the post he knew what he wanted to do. Often times young post players are out of control and aren't polished. Sabonis however is very under control down low. I love this guy's motor and the ability to rebound the ball. He will not address the rim protecting needs that the Bulls crave, but will be a very good player at the next level because of that motor and rebounding ability.
Will: The three guys I'd most like, who are most realistic, are Valentine, Sabonis and Luwawu (in no particular order).
I think Valentine is going to be an NBA level rotation player right away, with the potential to be a secondary ball handler next to Rose and or Butler. His shooting ability, and footwork, will allow him to create space, which the Bulls need desperately, and his playmaking will allow him to move the ball in the offense and move the Bulls a step closer to the Hoiball system they desire. I also love the way he runs in transition. He really checks a lot of boxes for the Bulls.
Sabonis is someone whose skill set seems to fit with the direction of the NBA and the Bulls. With no idea the future of Noah or Gasol, the Bulls certainly have a hole to plug at C, as has been mentioned. Sabonis' passing, rebounding and potential to extend his range are tantalizing. He's got great character -- his competitiveness and intensity are exactly what the Bulls lacked this past year. He's not his father, but he's still going to be a solid NBA C, and that is something the Bulls could use.
As I mentioned, Luwawu is long, athletic, and a solid shooter, with the frame to become an elite defender. That package is at a premium in the modern NBA and just seems to be a fit anywhere. He seems to have a star level ceiling with a solid rotation level floor.
One guy I'm not quite as high on is Baldwin. He's a nice player, and his frame is lust-worthy, but his ability to run a P&R and ultimately, an NBA offense is frightening.
Mark: It looks like we universally agree on what positions need to be addressed in the draft, and the names mentioned are all consistent with my thoughts.
Seeing as we've reached alignment on potential prospects the Bulls should draft at a range of positions, it would be disappointing to see them going into this draft thinking about one position of need as their primary focus and bypassing other quality prospects.
My biggest fear with the Bulls heading into the draft is that management are fixated on filling their backup point role with a rookie, to the point where they reach on a player to fit a need.
Wade Baldwin is the guy I'd take at No. 14, who by chance happens to be the best available talent as well as fitting perfectly into the rotation. That fact is nothing but a mere coincidence. If Baldwin happens to be snapped up before the Bulls pick, in my opinion, the worst case scenario would be to draft another point guard Demetrius Jackson ahead of capable talent like Sabonis and Luwawu who would clearly be valuable selections for the Bulls. That isn't intended as a criticism of Jackson, but for a team with several weaknesses, adopting a strategy that ignores a player's position and taking the best talent available is the only logical decision that can be made.
Josh: Yeah I believe everyone is in agreement on what position the Bulls need to focus on, a big and a guard. Someone mentioned this and I hinted at this, this draft pick really will tell you what the Bulls are thinking long term because a "quick fix" would be this; bring in a guard that's a free agent. If you aren't moving Derrick in the offseason then you'll have Derrick and a back up guard, for example Trey Burke or somebody like that. Then you could use this 14th pick for a big or an expandable wing. Again, with Gasol and Noah possibly being gone then you'll need to fill that spot ASAP!
At the same time, why waste your 14th pick on a guard? If, and only if you might keep Derrick pending on his performance this year. Again, if Derrick somehow becomes an elite player (again) and gives you 28/12 every night and shows that he can compete and defend against any guard in the league.. why wouldn't you resign him? If you draft a guard at 14 you're basically admitting that regardless of what happens next season you have no intent on resigning Derrick... just a thought
But to answer the question,
WB-IV (Wade Baldwin) as I mentioned his physical strength and how well he can play off the ball too plus his wingspan.
Denzel Valentine - similar player to WBIV but I'll give him an advantage when it comes to basketball IQ, But again, he's a good in this system that Fred wants to run. Lastly, I like Luwawu now as well, many people on Twitter told me to check out his game and I did just that. I think he could be a great fit, he's a great two way player and he's tall but from what I'm reading his wingspan is the same as WBIV, so maybe I'm drunk on the WBIV kool aid, but he's like Tim and Denzel combined, just smaller in height.
Vijay: My 3 prospects for the Bulls are (no order):
1) Timothe Luwawu - International prospects still bring a lot of intrigue so Luwawu may not be as known and is more of an enigma than most of the players the Bulls are linked to. But his athleticism is off the charts and he would be a great offensive threat on the wing. The Bull struggled at the three spot the whole year with Mike Dunleavy, McDermott, and Tony Snell not doing anything on that end. They need someone big on the wing that can score and the Frenchmen is that guy.
2) Wade Baldwin IV - I like this guy a lot. His measurements are insane and that drew a lot of hype at the NBA combine. I know Ricky talked more about him in detail when talking about the 6 players the Bulls should draft and he said some very good things about him. The one thing Baldwin can offer that not a lot of guys on the Bulls can right now is solid defense. The Bulls need to get back to the basics when it comes to drafting well again. Get a guy who is willing to guard a one or a two when the Bulls decide to go to their bench or take out Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler. Plus he can shoot from the outside which always helps. I like Baldwin IV a lot. If the Bulls get him or Luwawu I'm not complaining.
3) Damontas Sabonis - Although Deyonta Davis offers great athleticism and can rebound a ton, I would personally take Sabonis over him. I think the big man from Gonzaga is tougher and is more polished as an inside scorer. Plus with the rebounding you get from Bobby Portis, the Bulls main priority can be a guy who can protect the rim and give you some offensive output. With Pau leaving you lose scoring and with Joakim Noah almost out the door you lose a rim protector. Cristiano Felicio will help somewhat, but the Bulls still need some help and Sabonis can give you that plus some toughness on the inside.
As we can see, the two guys that most of us can come to agreement on are Timothe Luwawu and Wade Baldwin IV. Guys like Denzel Valentine, Damontas Sabonis, Demtrius Jackson and Deyonta Davis were mentioned as well, and all are capable selections come draft night. In the third and final part of this series, we'll discuss who we think the Bulls should select on June 23rd.