The Chicago Bulls are in a good place this year for the upcoming NBA draft. They have two first-rounders, selecting at No. 7 and No. 22, so they can immediately grab two higher-impact players to help them out this upcoming season. While most of the focus has been on who they will take at the seven spot, not much has been written about their other spot.
There is no question that the Bulls need help on the wings. Their depth, especially at the two guard, is lacking outside of Zach LaVine. While they most likely won’t address that with the seventh-overall pick, their other first rounder provides more depth. Granted, the bottom half of the first-round is near impossible to predict, but there are some players that would be able to immediately help Chicago.
CHANDLER HUTCHISON: This is the player that most NBA draft boards have Chicago taking. Adding to that is the fact that Hutchison was promised that he would be taken with a first-round pick. While it wasn’t revealed which team promised him that, most signs point to the Bulls. Regardless of if the rumors are true or not, Hutchison is a solid prospect.
He’s a four-year college player, starring at Boise State over the past two seasons. Over his final season, he brought a stat-line of 20.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 3.5 apg. The 6’7 SG posted those numbers on highly-effective shooting, posting a 57.5 true-shooting percentage and nearly 36 percent from beyond the ark. Other scouts say that he is a developed shooter that can be thrown immediately into the Bulls plans. They are also high on him playing on and off the ball.
While he likely isn’t going to start for Chicago, he’s going to give them a great option off the bench. However, he didn’t participate in the NBA Draft Combine, which makes grading his athleticism difficult. His success also depends on his jump shot. While that has shown improvement, it’s not something that a team should be making a promise to.
Regardless, Hutchison gives the Bulls a steady option off the bench, and his scoring ability is high. Of course, the other issue is IF he slides down to the Bulls. There are other teams that are going to need a wing option, and they have higher selections than Chicago. Should Hutchison slide, Chicago might pounce on it.
KEITA BATES-DIOP: The current Big Ten Player of the Year winner had a great season at Ohio State. He’s a 6’8 forward that posted strong numbers, which led to scouts thinking he can make an impact in the NBA. Per his strengths, Bates-Diop is another strong shooter. He posted nearly 20 ppg in his junior season.
NBA.com posts him as a 3-and-D type player. Defensively, Bates-Diop provides something that Hutchison can’t, which is the ability to guard the forward spots. For a Bulls team that was 28th in the league in defense, it’s something that can’t be ignored. The strong offensive numbers are also great to see, but with every prospect, there is a downside.
For Bates-Diop, the downside is in his overall potential and NBA ceiling. Like Hutchison, he spent four years in college, and while it was beneficial, it ultimately shortened the time it takes to reach his athletic prime. Will he have enough time to showcase his game before he starts to decline? He might be the type of player that can absolutely thrive in a well-established system.
Like Hutchison, Bates-Diop would give the Bulls a solid player off the bench. His defensive prowess might be better than Hutchison, but when it comes to overall ceiling, the verdict isn’t in Bates-Diop’s favor. However, either pick would be great for the Bulls. Again, the issue stands IF he can drop to 22. There are other teams that are going to be looking for help.
JACOB EVANS: Another shooting guard, Evans is projected to be a 3-and-D option for whatever team drafts him. He’s younger than Hutchison and Bates-Diop, as he is only 20, but his upside is limited. Yes, he is a very good shooter, but only thrives in the catch-and-shoot scenarios.
Evans, measured out to be 6’6, hit on 37.7 percent of his threes over the course of his Cincinnati career. Overall, he’s a solid athlete, but he might need a year or two in the NBA to refine his three-point shot. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown much of an ability to create his own space and create a jump shot. In addition, off the dribble Evans isn’t going to get fouled doing a dribble-and-drive move that would lead to free throw shots.
While Evans wasn’t as prolific a scorer as Hutchison and Bates-Diop, he can still dip into double digit scoring, which will only increase as his three-shot improves. So how does Evans fit in with the Bulls? His experience defensively and ability to score beyond the ark will make him a coveted option. Unfortunately that’s about all he can offer.
However, given this Chicago Bulls team doesn’t have a player that can possess the skills that Evans has, it would be a welcomed sight. However, with Hutchison and Bates-Diop showing more overall promise, it’s hard to see the Bulls taking Evans if both of those players are still there.
TRADE: While there hasn’t been much speculation about moving picks, this is the NBA draft. Trades happen all the time, and the Bulls have a history of moving up in the order to pick someone that they really want. While they are unlikely to trade their seventh overall pick, the 22 selection offers some more versatility.
The Milwaukee Bucks currently hold the 17th pick. They are also linked to Hutchison, as Jabari Parker is most likely on his way out this summer. If Chicago feels so strongly about him, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see them making a trade to ensure they can land him. However, they would have to give up something significant other than the 22nd pick to move up six spots.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The NBA draft is something that is near-impossible to predict. With the abundance of trades that occur, in addition to the unpredictability of every team’s draft boards, players will go to teams that will have analysts scratching their heads. Regardless of what actually happens, the Bulls are going to need to use one of their picks to address their glaring need on the wings.
There was free agency, but the player that was most linked to the Bulls was Ryan Anderson of the San Antonio Spurs. However, that shipped is pretty much gone, considering that the Spurs are likely to trade Kawhi Leonard, giving them the money to re-sign Anderson. There are other options, but the Bulls need to do something. They have the money, but why overpay a free agent when there is talent in the draft?
My personal guess is that the Bulls are going to grab Hutchison. But I will pass the question on to you guys. Who do you think Chicago will take with their 22nd overall pick, or do you think they will trade it? Leave a comment below!