The 2019-20 NBA season is finally over nearly a full calendar year after it began. Due to the unique circumstances, we have to wait a bit longer than usual after the conclusion of the season for the draft, which is still over a month away on Nov. 18. But with the season now over, that means it’s time to update mocks for the 2020 NBA Draft as teams get ready to make their final preparations.
We rounded up a handful of mock drafts from right after the Bulls getting awarded No. 4 pick at the NBA Draft Lottery in August. LaMelo Ball, Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes and Obi Toppin all popped up as Bulls picks. It’s no surprise that some of these names pop up again in the latest mocks.
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has the Bulls taking Deni Avdija, which isn’t a change from his last mock. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo also has the Israeli forward to Chicago. Both Vecenie and Woo reference Arturas Karnisovas’ track record with international prospects, with Woo writing that Avdija is “widely thought to be in play for Chicago at No. 4.”
Avdija’s versatility as a 6-foot-9 forward is certainly intriguing. Any Luka Doncic comps are nonsense, but Avdija’s playmaking ability at the forward spot would be welcome. He needs to improve his jumper and his ceiling might be a bit limited, but his floor might also be a bit higher than some others.
In terms of his fit with the rest of the Bulls’ young core, Vecenie offers up a nugget of reporting about Karnisovas’ mindset:
Regardless, he actually fits really well with this roster. The Bulls could use someone with the frontcourt ball skills of Avdija, as Lauri Markkanen is more of a shooter, and Wendell Carter is more of a screen setter and dribble handoff guy who can make smart reads. If the team believes Avdija could play some 3 and handle the secondary ballhandler responsibilities, I’d love his fit next to Coby White as well, given that White is much more scoring-inclined than the typical guard.
Having said that, Karnisovas is being very methodical in his decision-making to start his Bulls’ career. He’s evaluating everything step-by-step. Sources around the league are unclear on if he’ll decide to ride with this core through the early part of the season or decide to start reshaping it in this offseason with some moves.
This uncertainty tracks with how Karnisovas seems to operate. He has kept his cards close to the vest so far, and this is no different.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell put Killian Hayes to the Bulls in his post-lottery mock, and we did a deep dive on Hayes on a recent episode of Cash Considerations. Given the Bulls’ need for playmaking, Hayes makes sense as a potential lead creator.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor agrees (he has Avdija going No 2). In fact, KOC has Hayes as his No. 1 prospect in the entire draft, though he acknowledges that the “heavy interest” in Hayes is in the mid-lottery. If the Bulls do draft Hayes at No. 4, KOC thinks there would be more changes coming on the horizon for the roster.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman doesn’t have a new mock out yet, but he referenced a possible Bulls/Hayes connection when talking about the Timberwolves’ desire to trade out of the No. 1 pick:
If Bulls wanted a PG, think they'd rather stick at 4 or move down for Haliburton/Hayes than trade up to #1 for Ball. Knicks don't have anything helpful for Wolves. Can't imagine Wiz trade Beal or Pelicans trade Holiday (for a prospect). https://t.co/qb8QJlh898— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) October 14, 2020
Wasserman claimed Wednesday that Obi Toppin may be the “most popular prospect in this draft” after asking around the NBA. The explanation:
Right you got it. Have heard scouts nervous about Ball’s shooting/fit, Edwards’ style/impact, Wiseman’s place in today’s NBA for a top pick, Deni and Killian’s upside. Everyone likes Obi and expects his strengths to translate. Nobody seems too alarmed about his flaws.— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) October 14, 2020
The Dayton product is an explosive scorer who would certainly be exciting to watch on the offensive end. There are concerns about his age (22 already) and defense, but apparently people around the league aren’t too worried about it.
A Toppin selection certainly feels like it would be the end for Lauri Markkanen, but that obviously shouldn’t stop the Bulls from taking him if they actually do like him. The Bulls need to take the best talent available and figure things out from there.