Yesterday was a weird and interesting day for the Chicago Bulls. They nearly traded Jimmy Butler, filing the night filled with pure terror that the Bulls would actually trade Butler for a package of Zach LaVine and the #5 pick and confusion as Gar Forman denied the rumors that the Bulls were not shopping their star shooting guard.
But they ended up taking Denzel Valentine from Michigan State in the first round and Paul Zipser from Germany in the second round. Let's look at what some NBA draft experts thought about it.
Andrew Sharp Sports Illustrated (Grade: B)
It's unclear which side ultimately rejected the Jimmy Butler–Kris Dunn trade talks that were swirling around Twitter for about two hours Thursday night. First, it sounded like Thibs got cold feet, but then Chicago appeared to shut things down later in the first round. What's most important is that Thibs spent all night on the phone with Gar Forman and John Paxson, because sometimes the universe is great.
And patience makes sense for both sides here. Kris Dunn is solid, and so is Denzel Valentine. The blockbuster can wait.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (Grades(s) : Valentine (B), Zipser (N/A) )
On Valentine :
It’s been an unpredictable 48 hours for the Bulls, but here they make a classic Chicago move and take a solid, accomplished college player. There were real concerns among some teams about the condition of Valentine’s knees. The Bulls felt good enough to take the risk. Valentine’s well–rounded offensive game should allow him to play early. He’s one of those players who just knows how to play. His defense is the weak point. With the state of the franchise totally up in the air, it’s tricky to evaluate this with total confidence
Sam Vecenie CBS Sports (Grade(s): Valentine (A) , Zipser (A) )
On Valentine :
Yeah there are the knee questions about Valentine. Maybe he won't be valuable after a certain while due to injury. But even if the knees eventually do give out -- no certain bet -- Valentine will be terrific in Fred Hoiberg's offense as a wing that can move the ball and shoot it at a high level from deep. He'll also help the team transition from the Derrick Rose era due to his ability to create looks for others.
On Zipser :
This is tremendous value here for Chicago. Zipser was the MVP of Adidas Eurocamp this summer, and is legitimate potential NBA role player due to his size, shooting ability, and explosive athleticism.
Chad Ford, ESPN (Grade : C)
Adding Valentine gives them a guy who can play three positions on the offensive end -- including point guard. He's one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft and likely would've gone a few spots higher if concerns over his knees hadn't caused a few teams to back off. If he's healthy, he's good a fit for Chicago. Zipser is an athletic wing who can score off the bounce. He was impressive at the Adidas Eurocamp in early June and is a good draft-and-stash candidate for the Bulls.
But that's not why Ford gave the Bulls a "C" grade......
As we know from reporting by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Bulls had a chance to get Kris Dunn from the Timberwolves (via the 5th pick), but ultimately decided to hang onto Jimmy Butler. A combination of Zach LaVine and Dunn for Butler was good value and could have jump-started Chicago's rebuild. I think the Bulls erred in not selling high on Butler. It could come back to haunt them in a few years, especially if Dunn turns into a star.
AJ Neuharth-Keusch and Michael Singer, USA Today Sports
(Grades(s) : Valentine (A), Zipser (B+) )
On Valentine :
The AP National Player of the Year is headed to Chicago, which makes all the more sense after the departure of Derrick Rose. With such a high basketball IQ, proven maturity, and court vision, he's an all-around talent whose a good fit in Chicago. But can he keep up athletically?
On Zipser :
He's a versatile player who can play both forwards and guard, but he still doesn't have much experience despite being 22 years old. But, given time, the 6-foot-7 forward could turn into a three-and-d player.