With the 2022 NBA Finals now in the rear view, fans are turning their attention to this week’s star-studded draft, scheduled for this Thursday, June 23rd, at the Barclays Center. Wendell Carter Jr.’s Orlando Magic will get their first crack at the top pick in the draft since 2004, when they selected Dwight Howard. The Oklahoma City Thunder (who possess two lottery picks this season, plus the No. 34 selection in the second round) and Houston Rockets round out the teams selecting in the top three this year.
That triumvirate seems set to select from three intriguing big men pro prospects who could be reasonable fits for any of those lackluster clubs: Auburn power forward Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, and Duke forward Paolo Banchero.
Beyond the lottery, there is plenty of intrigue for your Chicago Bulls, who return to the NBA draft after a one-year break (their eventual No. 8 pick in 2021 was used by the Magic on forward Franz Wagner).
Whether or not the Bulls even opt to retain the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft is a bit up in the air. Chicago’s newish front office brain trust of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley has shown a willingness to part with draft picks in exchange for veteran players. Experts around the blogosphere are split as to who Karnisovas and Eversley would select. Chicagoland native E.J. Lidell of OSU (Vijay Vemu picked the power forward in a recent SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft), Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams, and LSU reserve forward Tari Eason are all considered potential prospects that could fulfill needs for a depth-challenged Bulls roster.
Athletic centers like Memphis’s Jalen Duren and Duke’s Mark Williams could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to helping bolster Chicago’s front line, but it’s hard to see them sliding all the way down to No. 18. In the latest ESPN big board, Duren is listed as the ninth best prospect this year, while Williams is ranked at No. 14.
When To Watch: 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday (for the broadcast, the draft itself starts at 7 p.m. CT), June 23rd
Where To Watch: ABC will broadcast the first round, while sister channel ESPN will show both rounds. The draft will also be live-streamed via Watch ESPN.
Bulls Draft Odds: DraftKings lists the odds of various draft scenarios for Chicago. The Bulls’ projected most likely picks, per DraftKings odds: Jalen Williams (+500); Tari Eason (+600); Nikola Jovic, a small forward for Serbian ABA League club KK Mega Basket (+800); and Mark Williams (+800). Beneath them, five players are listed at +1000 odds (the aforementioned Liddell, Kentucky point guard TyTy Washington, New Zealand Breakers forward Ousmane Dieng, OSU wing Malaki Branham, and Kansas shooting guard Ochai Agbaji).
Find the overall current draft odds here at DraftKings.
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