Ever since the trade of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have embarked on an unsuccessful quest to find their next point guard of the future.
Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne, Isaiah Canaan, Kay Felder and Kris Dunn weren’t it. Maybe Coby White is it, but it’s far too early to tell.
Are the Bulls going to try to address this issue again in the draft this year? According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, “the Bulls may be looking for a lead playmaker”.
LaMelo Ball likely fits that job description if he drops to No. 4. Frenchman Killian Hayes, North Carolina Tar Heel Cole Anthony, and Iowa State product Tyrese Haliburton are all projected to go in the vicinity of the Bulls No. 4 pick.
The most recent point guard rumor out of the mill is from Wasserman again.
Per source, Kira Lewis Jr. has worked out for the Magic, Knicks and Pistons over the past week, works out for the Bulls today— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) October 28, 2020
Most mock drafts have the Alabama product as more of a late-lottery talent. So, just like we talked about with Haliburton, if the Bulls are interested in him maybe this is a scenario where they trade down.
Lewis might be the fastest player in the draft with the ball in his hands. The 6’3 point guard is a blur in transition, where he graded out in the 79th percentile of points per possession in the country. Lewis is also a capable shooter who hit 36.4 percent of his threes and graded out in the 86th percentile of spot-up opportunities. He’s a solid if unspectacular passer at this point in his career and will badly need to add strength to his skinny frame. The biggest point in Lewis’ favor might be his age: he was the youngest sophomore in the country this season after playing his freshman year as a 17-year-old.
What the Bulls Have:
Kris Dunn is a fabulous defender.
He’s tough as nails, puts immense pressure on opposing ball handlers, and finished second in the NBA in steals per game last season.
The problem is for everything he contributes defensively he gives a lot of it back on the offensive side of the ball. He’s also a restricted free agent this year meaning the Bulls have to decide whether or not to pay him.
The best version of Dunn probably isn’t good enough to be a starting point guard on a championship-caliber team based on what we’ve seen in his four-year NBA career.
Outside of Dunn, they have Tomas Satoransky who is locked up for two more seasons in Chicago and then Mr. Intangibles Ryan Arcidiacono.
All these guys have strengths that fill at least one need on the team, but unless something dramatically changes these guys aren’t the “point guard of the future for the Bulls.”
Frankly, Satoransky was a bit underwhelming last season after several solid seasons with the Washington Wizards and after a 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign where he averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 assists per game with the Czech Republic national team.
Where Does Coby White fit in?
In a COVID-shortened, injury plagued, loss-happy season Coby White’s electrifying scoring was one of the few highlights for this Bulls team.
As a rookie, the North Carolina product exploded for over 30 points in three games, had nine games where he piled up 25 points or more, and drained at least five 3-point field goals on seven occasions.
Coby White is going to be a problem in transition pic.twitter.com/dxcqGgcrKe— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) July 6, 2019
The million dollar question though: will he evolve into a microwave scoring sixth man in the mold of Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams or can he become a lead guard that makes everybody around him better as well?
With the caveat being that it was his rookie season, the percentage of Bulls field goals that were assisted last year was 4.5 percent lower when he was on the floor than when he was off it and his assist to turnover ratio was 2.7 assists to 1.7 turnovers.
Do the Bulls trust that the 20-year-old will evolve into their point guard of the future? The answer to that question could determine how the Bulls approach this draft. KC Johnson at NBC Sports Chicago offered the tepid rumor:
given the amount of leaguewide talk that the Bulls are focused on solving point guard, it’s sounding like the new regime ultimately views [Coby White] as more of a scoring guard.
Indeed, we’ll know a lot more after the selection is made. It could be a simple as needing any talent and taking the best player available, but it’s unavoidable to take a look at their latest top-10 pick and not think how it impacts the last one.