What do the Bulls need?


Carter Horan, Editor

Failing to make the playoffs for the second straight year, there’s very little buzz surrounding the Chicago Bulls. Questionable decisions by the front office, unfortunate injuries, and drama with the coaching staff has fueled the fire for the entire season. The 4th worst team in the NBA with a record of 22-60, the Bulls have changed a lot since the departure of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. The only solution, a top-tier draft pick.

This year’s draft is loaded with talent. And regardless of what the Bulls need, there are three prospects that any team would be happy to land- Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett. With the Bulls record, they stand with a 12.5% chance of earning the first pick. This is what the Bulls lineup looks like now:

PG: Kris Dunn

SG: Zach LaVine

SF: Otto Porter

PF: Lauri Markkanen

C: Robin Lopez/ Wendell Carter Jr

The Bulls have invested into Zach LaVine, Otto Porter, and Lauri Markkanean, and it seems they only need a few more pieces to become a playoff team. Our lead guard, Lavine, averaged 23.7 PPG until he went down with a knee sprain and decided to sit out the rest of the year. After arriving halfway through the season, Bulls fans saw the potential Small Forward Otto Porter has as a 3-point shooter and primary defender. During his first stretch wearing black and red, the Bulls won 5 out of 6 games while playing true team basketball. The biggest piece of them all is Lauri Markkanean. He has shown what he can do as a scorer in the league, but his consistency remains the biggest question.

Kris Dunn and Robin Lopez are both question marks for the Bulls. Dunn has been on thin ice the entire season, and there’s a high chance he won’t be a Bull next year. Lackluster numbers of 11.3 PPG and 6.0 Ast are unacceptable while playing 30 minutes a night. The Bulls need a true PG that can control the pace of the game. That’s been made clear not only by upset fans but by the VP of Basketball Operations for the Bulls, John Paxson. On the inside, Robin Lopez is getting old and with a young core, he’s most likely on his way out alongside his 14 million dollar contract. Rookie Wendell Carter Jr played decently before suffering an injury. He has shown that he has the potential to be a force in the paint, but he’s still not strong enough to hang with the best centers in the league. For him, there’s still a lot of developing to do, but the Bulls aren’t giving up anytime soon.

1st Choice: Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson

Ideally, the Bulls should look to draft a point guard to lead our team, but not one team would pass on the young phenom himself, Zion Williamson. 6’ 7”, 285lbs, 40 inch vertical… I don’t need to explain much. He averaged 22.6 PPG at Duke in the toughest conference in the country all while shooting 68% from the field. The Naismith Player of the year is a nightmare to guard, and I know everyone in Illinois would love to see him in a red jersey. His jump shot clearly needs work but he’ll be an immediate impact for whichever team drafts him. If the Bulls got him, changes would have to be made to the starting lineup with LaVine at PG, Otto to the 2, and Zion most likely moving into the Small Forward role. But for now, we can only hope that 12.5% pulls through.

2nd Choice: Ja Morant

Ja Morant

The electric point guard is undoubtedly the most entertaining player to watch in all of College Basketball. Flashy passes, quick moves, and crazy shots that somehow make their way in the basket define his game. He’s a stud on the offensive end and his numbers support it. 24.5 PPG all while leading the nation in assists with 10.0 PG. If you don’t think he’s legit, look at his highlights, he’s truly something special. Morant played at Murray State in the sub-par conference of the OVC, but in his NCAA tournament debut, he proved he could hang with Power 5 teams. Ja had 17 pts, 16 ast, and 11 rbs in the 20 point route over a strong Marquette team. Morant would be perfect for the Bulls. His ability to set up his teammates and bring energy to the game is just what we need in a point guard. The comparisons to Derrick Rose aren’t far off as he’s a high flyer who lets the game come to him.

3rd Choice: RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett

A long, versatile wing with a nice stroke from 3, RJ Barrett has been considered an NBA talent since he was 16 years old. The 6’7” shooting guard can stretch the floor and run out in transition. He was considered the #1 pick prior to this season, and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t picked in the top 3. Barrett can post up smaller guards and plays with pace that mimics the NBA tempo. On the Bulls, he could be moved to the SG position while LaVine ran the point. Realistically, the Bulls need a distributor for all these scorers, but it would be hard to pass up on Barrett if the Bulls found themselves with the #3 pick. The Canadian lefty averaged 22.6 PPG (identical to Zion) and his ability to put the ball in the basket will most certainly be tested at the next level.

4th Choice: Darius Garland

Darius Garland

With the projected 4th pick, the Bulls will be looking into Vanderbilt Point Guard Darius Garland. A floor general with a high basketball IQ, Garland can control the pace and shoot the 3 better than most. But the thing is, he only played in four college basketball games this year. Garland tore his meniscus in his left knee and was declared out for the season. From there, he dropped out of Vandy and has been preparing for the draft since. During his time with the Commodores, DG averaged 16.2 PPG with only 2.6 Ast PG. It makes some question his ability to distribute the ball in the NBA, but I believe his high IQ for the game makes up for it. He shot 47% from 3 and put up a game-high 33 against Liberty. With Garland, Vandy was 4-0 and looking like an up and coming team in the SEC. After he got hurt, Vanderbilt finished the season 5-23 including a whopping 20-game losing streak to end the season- It’s pretty clear they missed him on the court. Anyways, Garland is smaller than Morant but boasts a true point guard skill set that the Bulls need. He’ll be eager to be back on the court this winter and Bulls fans will welcome him with open arms. He’s no talent like the first 3 guys I mentioned, but he’s potentially the point guard piece that Chicago needs.

Other potential choices: Coby White G North Carolina, Jarrett Culver G Texas Tech, Cam Reddish G Duke