If lottery night voodoo magic strikes again tonight and the Chicago Bulls score a top three pick in the draft, who will they take? Have they even thought that scenario through? While there still is time, these are the guys who drafted Lauri Markkanen last summer without talking to him first (fortunately, it’s worked out so far).
But even if the Bulls management corps don’t do their due diligence, ESPN writers Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have them covered.
If they land in the top three, they should pick ...
No. 1: Deandre Ayton
No. 2: Luka Doncic
No. 3: Jaren Jackson Jr
Not too many surprises here. Ayton and Doncic have shifted into near consensus top two picks in most mock drafts. It’s a scenario where if you have a chance to pick either of them you do it and then worry about fit later. Personally, I like Doncic because he can make everybody on a roster better and I think a young team searching for an identity could really use that. But, I digress.
Jackson Jr. is everything the Bulls need at the center position. A 6-foot-11-inch rim protector, he was second in the nation last season in defensive box plus-minus (10.3) and swatted 5.5 shots away per 40 minutes. Plus, he can shoot (39.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line) which probably vaults him into the three spot over guys like Marvin Bagley Jr. and Mo Bamba.
The authors also speculate about the Bulls “most likely pick” at No. 6 and this name is a bit more surprising.
It’s Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. He kind of has an old school, back-to-the-basket big man game going but he has also developed a dependable shot albeit in a small sample size (41.3 percent from behind the 3-point line in 46 attempts last season, 73.8 percent from the charity stripe).
His lack of high-level athleticism is concerning, but he does have rim-protecting capabilities (3.1 blocks per 40 minutes) that would offset Markkanen’s lack of basket protection for the Bulls hypothetical frontcourt of the future.
The authors mention a few other names for the Bulls at No. 6.
Finding a bigger wing as well as a big man to pair with Markkanen seem to be the most immediate priorities moving forward.
Moving into the top three would help that immensely considering how well the best prospects in this draft fit with the Chicago roster. Bamba and Carter look like the top big-man candidates, provided the Bulls don’t move up, while Miles and Mikal Bridges are strong wing options.
Our very own Ricky O’Donnell has done a few pre-lottery mock drafts for the mother site. It looks like he ran the ESPN lottery simulator and based the order on the results of that. In one case, the Bulls ended up with the No. 1 overall pick (please be an omen!) and O’Donnell had them taking Luka Doncic, who SBNation’s viewed as the draft’s best prospect for a long time now.
The Bulls found a cornerstone player from Europe last season when they drafted Lauri Markkanen at No. 7 overall. Doncic would be an ideal offensive fit next to him, forming a devastating pick-and-pop combo that could leverage Markkanen’s elite shooting with Doncic’s special ability to make plays off ball screens for a 6’8, 230-pound guard.
An earlier mock draft from O’Donnell on May 8 (same method for determining the order), ended with the Bulls picking seventh and taking Michael Porter Jr. That would be amazing to get that kind of value that far down in the draft.
Lottery ball willing, there’s enough talent in this draft for Bulls fans to sleep soundly as long as their team nabs a top seven pick.