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Do the Bulls have enough value in their picks to trade up?

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likely not, but let’s talk about it anyway

2018 NBA Draft Combine - Day 1 Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Bulls currently hold picks #7 and #22 in this year’s NBA draft. It was already determined that this past season was an outright failure, though if you were basing that evaluation on a weighted-random drawing, then now you too can say so.

Or you make the incorrect assessment in that it’s actually who they pick that determines the past season’s worth? To me, that’s an entirely separate thing, the drafting itself versus THE PATH to get those picks, and hell it’ll be another 3-20 years before we can properly evaluate them I guess and it’ll be ultimately be determined not by the fans but Joe(y) Reinsdorf. Gotta stay positive.

This is all trolling via semantics (how failed is this failure and the failures who failed us?!?), I am instead interested in discussing if the Bulls can trade up in the draft to get a higher-tier prospect?

It’s a logical discussion if only because the Bulls have two first-round picks. Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com did some work a year ago to determine value of each selection, using the players production versus their rookie scale contract.

ESPN.com

So according to this (tankathon has a fun trade value chart as well), the Bulls could reason they have enough in #7 and #22 to move up to #3.

But could they really? Pelton himself says this is meant to be objective, while the subjective value given by GMs (and at this level, ownership) differs:

In practice teams value higher picks much more. It may also reflect that valuing picks based on the wins they produce rather than their impact on championships undersells top picks.

So if the trade comes out as “fair” using my values, that means there’s almost no way the team trading down in the draft would actually ever do it, even if perhaps they should.

For his part, John Paxson said what he usually does when asked about his job: it’s difficult. Here is KC Johnson on the topic:

[trading up] was asked and answered at Tuesday’s draft lottery. Here’s John Paxson on that very question: “We may not even want to do that. It’s hard to do, unless you have something really valuable.”

The sense I’ve gotten is that the Bulls are confident and excited to add two rotation players who will be on rookie-scale contracts with these picks. I also don’t think it’s as simple as packaging No. 22 and No. 7 to move up even if the Bulls wanted to do that. A core player would likely have to be involved.

KC expanded on this point on a recent WSCR appearance, saying that there is already concern long-term in giving higher-salary extensions to the ‘big’ ‘three’ so that they really value that #22 pick in the lower rookie-scale contract it ties with.

First of all, it’s comically Bullsian to already float out financial concerns when they’ve already built up so much equity in this cheap-out season, said extensions are years away for some (LaVine is only one this summer), it’s theoretically paying for quality talent (something you should want to do), and signing your own free agents can be done irrespective of cap space.

And then it’s further curious to explain last year’s draft, the first in this ‘direction’, where they traded away the #16 and #38 pick.