Tuesday night, ESPN did an on-air mock draft featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and draft expert Mike Schmitz going back and forth with picks. Woj had the Bulls at No. 7, and he went with Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, who conveniently was just profiled by Vijay.
Interestingly, Woj said he thinks the Bulls would be disappointed with all the elite bigs being picked already after Deandre Ayton (No. 1), Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 3), Marvin Bagley III (No. 4), Mohamed Bamba (No. 5) and Wendell Carter Jr. (No. 6) were all selected. Woj also said the selection of Young was their first “reach” of the mock draft, which seems a bit off but perhaps has more to do with the Bulls’ needs at other positions over point guard.
While Young could be a dynamic offensive player who would bring shooting and playmaking to the Bulls, much of the conversation centered around his defensive limitations. Woj mentioned how Kris Dunn could compensate for those limitations and that having multiple ballhandlers/shotmakers is important. Schmitz also talked about the potential defensive pitfalls and asked whether he could hold up on that end enough to be a high-level starter in the playoffs, where switching is important and teams often relentlessly attack mismatches.
Seth Greenberg chimed in with discussion about his need to dominate the ball and how much he could transition to an off-ball role and still be effective. Zach LaVine was never mentioned in this entire analysis of the pick, which is a bit of an oversight given his own defensive struggles and ball dominance. Assuming he’s back, how the Bulls would handle the trio of Dunn, LaVine and Young would be one of their biggest questions.
The Bulls left Michael Porter Jr. and Mikal Bridges on the board in this scenario, and Porter didn’t wind up getting picked until No. 15 to the Wizards. Woj admitted he’ll probably go earlier than that, but there are questions that exist right now about his health and how he “interacts with teammates” and fits in the locker room. Schmitz did single out the Bulls as an option if Porter answers some of the questions around him and he goes higher in the draft.
At No. 22, Schmitz gave the Bulls Maryland’s Kevin Huerter. Huerter is a 6-foot-7 swingman who impressed at the combine. The 19-year-old (he was a young sophomore) put up nearly 15 points per game on an efficient 50.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3 on good volume. He also handed out 3.4 assists per game, and Schmitz noted that his shooting and playmaking would be a nice fit next to Dunn and Young (again, no LaVine mention).
Huerter still could decide to return to Maryland, but given his rising stock he appears to be close to a first-round lock.
[UPDATE]: Huerter is staying in the draft.
There have been rumblings that the Bulls have given a promise to Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison. Woj talked about a promise to Hutchison on the draft special and that it’s from a team after the Jazz at No. 21, but he specifically mentioned the Blazers at No. 24 (though other reporting has PDX not guaranteeing Hutchison).
Young and Huerter would inject more life into the Bulls’ offense given their respective skill sets, and they certainly need that. However, there would still be major defensive questions about the core that would need to be addressed in the near future.
In conjunction with this special, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony released an updated mock draft on Insider. Givony mocks Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. to the Bulls at No. 7 and Euro wing Dzanan Musa at No. 22. I know basically nothing about Musa other than he’s a wing with upside, but Carter would be a solid choice and a nice fit next to Lauri Markkanen thanks to his versatility.
There will be more of these mock draft specials over the next month as we get closer to the draft.