Chicago Bulls NBA Mock Draft 2020: Prospects to Target

Draft History

Chicago BullsAfter having success in the earlier part of this decade, age and injuries to MVP Derrick Rose halted their progress and sent the Bulls into a massive rebuild. 5 seasons later and the Bulls are still in rebuild mode with a playoff birth seemingly years away. Although the Bulls roster is finally coming together with a youthful core and complementary pieces, it will take getting their future draft picks right to become a perennial playoff team.

The Bulls draft history over the past decade has been underwhelming, to say the least. Part of the problem is the lack of lottery picks, only their two most recent picks have come from the lottery. Additionally, nearly half of their first-round picks including, Jusuf Nurcic, Gary Harris, Norris Cole, and Jordan Bell, were involved in draft-day trades. On the other hand, most of their remaining first-round picks have been disappointing. Guys like Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, and Tony Snell are at best bench contributors. Other guys like Marquis Teague are out of the NBA. What remains as their “good picks” is Jimmy Butler in 2011, Wendell Carter in 2018, and Coby White in 2019.

For teams entering their rebuilds, it is imperative that they keep as many draft picks as possible. With the Bulls, they are paying for their mistake of going full rebuild-mode a year too late. After near .500 records in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons, the Bulls finally entered rebuild mode below. 350 win percentages in the next three seasons. However, I believe the Bulls should have entered their rebuild after the 2014/2015 season. Trading away some of the core players including Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson could have landed the Bulls an extra pick in 2015, 2016, or 2017 drafts. These picks could have been valuable for the Bulls to move up and get the guys they wanted.

It must be noted that the Bulls draft three spots behind Donovan Mitchell and two behind Bam Adebayo in 2017. Also, the Bulls were three picks behind the Domantas Sabonis pick in 2016. Embracing the rebuild and preparing for the future earlier instead of making moves like trading two 1st round picks (Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris) for Doug McDermott could have made the Bulls a contender again after 1 or two mediocre seasons.

Instead, it seems that the Bulls are still a few years away. Imagine what the Bulls could have been had they embraced a rebuild earlier. They could have had a roster of Harris, Nurkic, Sabonis, and even Mitchell along with Zach Lavine or Otto Porter to finish out the decade. The Bulls would have had a competitive roster for now and more polished young players for the future.

Team Breakdown

The current Bulls starting five consists of Tomas Satoransky, Zach Lavine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. The team’s bench unit consists of Kris Dunn, Coby White, Thaddeus Young, and more. I really like the core of this team. However, I believe they need to add another star piece within the draft, mainly at point guard. Coby White, their 2019 1st pound pick, plays the point guard position, but I was not impressed with his ability to run an offense. He’s a sporadic volume scorer that doesn’t do much else. Having him as the primary point guard alongside Zach Lavine will hinder the team’s defensive ability. I strongly believe that the Bulls should use White as a 6th-man spark plug whenever the offense becomes stagnant.

Given my recommendation, I don’t think current starting point guard Tomas Satoransky is the answer. He’s serviceable but by no means the long term answer for this team. With pieces at other positions, the Bulls should look at the point guard position and only the point guard position this draft. Also, they need a coach that will work well with these younger players. Jim Boylen is not the answer and has seemingly alienated the team. Having an experienced coach to build a winning culture is invaluable to this talented, but directionless squad. In order to reach their potential, I believe it is imperative the Bulls find another coach.

Draft Range

The Bulls have both of their draft picks in 2020, number 7, and 46. With the 46th pick, the Bulls have an opportunity to get a contributing role player but should not expect to get a star. With the Bulls having a deep roster including young guys Dunn, Valentine, and Arcidiacano, I don’t expect the 46th pick to have an opportunity to get meaningful playing time. The pick may also spend time in the G-League. I don’t its worth talking about prospects for that pick in this article. Instead, I will focus on the top point guards this draft has to offer and which would be the best fit for the Bulls.

Prospects to Target

When looking at this deep point guard class, I think three point guards stand above the rest. LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes, and Tyrese Haliburton are point guards with more polished skill sets than the likes of Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, and more. Because of the projected 7th overall pick, it is within reason that the Bulls can grab one of these three point guards.

Tyrese Haliburton

PG – 6-5 185 Lbs. – Iowa St. 

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Tyrese Haliburton was a dominant presence for the Iowa St. Cyclones. At 6-5 he’s got great height over opposing point guards and uses that length to wreak havoc on the passing game. While he needs to get bigger to unleash his full defensive potential, he has the quick hands and feet to make an impact on that side of the ball for the Bulls, an area their perimeter players Otto Porter Jr., Zach LaVine, and Coby White continually struggle. Like LaMelo and Hayes, Haliburton is a versatile passer creating many open opportunities for his teammates. I see him being an elite facilitator in the NBA one day.

Also, Haliburton is an elite shooter from beyond the arc and around the court in general. He can get to the basket with ease, create his own shot, and score off catch and shoot opportunities. Zach Lavine is the only real shot-creator in this starting lineup, so adding Haliburton will bring a newfound diversity to this team. Combined with his defense potential, I think Haliburton is a burgeoning star in the making.

https://twitter.com/CourtsideFilms/status/1210987188101558274

Lamelo Ball

PG 6-8 180 Lbs. – Intl 

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With so much noise surrounding LaMelo Ball, it is hard to discern whether LaMelo is the real deal. While LaMelo Ball has many detractors, primarily those that hate LaVar Ball and the Big Baller Brand, LaMelo Ball has some of the most avid supporters out of any prospect in the draft. It’s without a doubt that LaMelo Ball will enter the 2020 draft as the most polarizing prospect. However, from my analysis, I am confident that LaMelo will have a productive NBA career. At 6’7’’, LaMelo Ball has the greatest potential out of all the Ball brothers heading into the NBA draft. He’s a better passer and athlete than Lonzo as well as a better finisher at the rim. The question with LaMelo is whether he can adjust to the physicality and size within the NBA and whether he can become more consistent with his jump shot.

Regardless, I think the best overall fit for LaMelo is with the Chicago Bulls. With the Bulls, LaMelo has the opportunity to play to his strengths. The Bulls already have scorers in Zach Lavine, Otto Porter Jr., and Lauri Markkanen. Joining the Bulls, while it may hurt their already suspect defense, allows Ball to simply create plays and be an elite facilitator. He can get a pick and roll game going with Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. while being a scorer in burst until he can correct his shot mechanics. Jim Boylen, while not my first choice of coach, could be beneficial in helping LaMelo get some maturity on the court.

I imagine the possibility of a backcourt of elite athletes in Zach Lavine and LaMelo who both play similar explosive styles of play. Having two explosive guys playing together should open offensive opportunities for Lauri Markannen, who struggled to fit into the offensive without playmakers. LaMelo is slightly better than Lonzo, and I think his impact on this team could be profound. If LaMelo shines in his rookie season, the Bulls could make a playoff push.

Killian Hayes

PG 6-5 195 Lbs. – France

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French basketball phenom Killian Hayes is the quintessential modern-day NBA point guard. He’s arguably the most polished passer in the entire draft class with an elite shooting stroke. Also, he’s an underrated athlete for his frame, showing an ability to start and stop on a dime and play through contact. Moreover, Hayes has some of the best footwork in the class after mirroring his game on James Harden. Yet, Hayes shows so much potential. He’s shown steady improvement in the last few years but still has room to improve his shot, decision-making, ball-handling skills, and defensive IQ. If he continues to improve, he will become a household name.

Overall, I like Killian Hayes’ fit with the Bulls. He’s everything that the Bulls lack from the point guard position. Hayes is steady always playing in control of himself, unlike the more chaotic Coby White. He can pass and run the offense which allows Lavine to play off-ball, which is where he shines. He’s a silent, but confident presence, that should fit well the quiet personalities of Carter Jr., Markkanen, and Porter Jr. A combination of Hayes, LaVine, Carter Jr., and Markkanen is one of the most exciting young cores in the entire NBA.

Predictions

This pick comes down to who the Bulls prefer at the point guard position. I would be very surprised if they don’t go with a point guard as that is the team’s main weakness and this draft’s strength. The point guard class has a depth of talent so even if the Bulls pick at seven, they are still getting an all-star caliber point guard.

I love LaMelo Ball as the Bulls prospect. While the Bulls can’t go wrong with either of the three prospects, LaMelo’s personality fits best alongside this Bulls team. He brings a level of confidence and flair that, outside of Zach LaVine, this offense desperately needed. I love the fit of these two playing the point guard position. LaMelo is elite in transition and I can only imagine LaMelo grabbing a rebound and tossing a full-court pass to LaVine for an explosive dunk. What he hurts his team in spacing he makes up in court vision. LaMelo will find a way to get you the ball despite the bodies around a player. LaMelo is the real deal and will be very excited if the Bulls draft him.

Killian Hayes is also a great, underestimated option. I just question where this team’s vocal leader comes from. In my opinion, every locker room needs that guy. While you won’t get that from LaMelo, at least your getting a more outspoken player. I wonder if Hayes will elevate the guys around him, especially in Chicago.

I think Haliburton is the most likely pick given the Bulls selection range. He fits seamlessly and his defensive ability which will translate to wins. With Haliburton, I also see the Bulls making an unexpected playoff push. Again, he fits well with Zach LaVine who struggles on defense. However, his defense doesn’t come at the expense of his offensive game. In both seasons at Iowa St. Haliburton shot 50-40-80, a testament to his consistency. Haliburton is as steady of a prospect as they come out of the draft. In my opinion, a high floor impact player is all the Bulls need to catapult their roster.

  
Miles Jasper is an incoming law student studying employment and labor law. Miles’ passions lie within the salary cap, collective bargaining, and labor relations between leagues and their players. He also likes to analyze college prospects and participate in fantasy sports. In his free time, Miles is an avid runner who also enjoys poker, cooking, and watching movies.

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