After Using the 7th Pick for Lauri & Wendell previously, Who Should the Bulls Draft at 7 This Year?

Sam Smith takes a look at some of the lead candidates for the Bulls to pick in this year's NBA Draft
by Sam Smith
Kia Bulls Draft Coverage 2019

Body

So wise guy—and gals—what would you do?

The NBA draft is Thursday, the Bulls have the No. 7 selection, and it's not so easy.

Having Nos. 1 or 2 would have made it a lot less complicated. Probably No. 3 also as Duke's Zion Williamson, Murray State's Ja Morant and Duke's R.J. Barrett seemingly will be the first three picks in the draft.

Then the mystery begins because the New Orleans Pelicans now have the No. 4 selection because of the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers. The consensus has been Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland was becoming something of the consensus No. 4 selection. With the Pelicans obtaining point guard Lonzo Ball in the trade, New Orleans is said to believe it's backcourt is set with Ball and Jrue Holiday. So the No. 4 pick is likely to be the highest draft pick available in trade. And given so many teams, presumably including the Bulls, are said to have interest in landing a top point guard prospect, there could be substantial trade interest and an auction. What would the Pelicans want? We're going to find out during these next few days.

If Garland, indeed, becomes the No. 4 pick, then it becomes uncertain who would both be available to the Bulls, who would make sense for them, who they'd be interested in and whom they should select.

So why don't the fans take a chance at it?

I've asked the Bulls to set up a poll for whom the fans believe the Bulls should select with the No. 7 pick. We're also going to collect responses and publish many later in the week. Contact me at asksam@bulls.com or through the poll. So make your pick in the pool below and email me a good reason why. If Garland slips to No. 7, I assume the Bulls select him because he's generally regarded as the second best point guard in the draft after Morant. Of course, that's if his medical report is positive since he missed most of last season with a knee injury. But if he is cleared, he projects closest to Chris Paul as a highly skilled, efficient, effective ball handling and isolation guard with an excellent shot.

The Suns at No. 6 in this draft, the Magic, Pacers, Heat, Wizards and Jazz all are said to be interested in pursuing a point guard. Memphis veteran Mike Conley is considered available, though at an exceptionally high salary. The Pelicans appear to be trying to enhance their trade package that included wing player Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and draft picks this year and then mostly after 2020.

The next group of players expected to be selected in the lottery after No. 4 are shooting guard Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech, point guard Coby White from North Carolina, forward DeAndre Hunter from Virginia, forward Cam Reddish from Duke, forward Sekou Doumbouya who is playing overseas, center Jaxson Hayes from Texas and Goga Bitadze from overseas. This is the kind of draft many scouts say a player your team likes at 10 another team may rate No. 20. Or vice versa.

I believe the order through No. 6 will be:

  1. 1. Williamson
  2. 2. Morant
  3. 3. Barrett
  4. 4. Garland
  5. 5. Hunter
  6. 6. White

Though it may not be.

But if it is that would leave the Bulls a choice among Culver, Doumbouya, Reddish and Hayes. Or a risky play on someone like Bol Bol, the Oregon big man. Or perhaps one of the Gonzaga forwards like Rui Hachimura or Brandon Clarke. Nassir Little, P.J. Washington, Porter or Bitadze? In drafts like this, it is not unusual for a player taken outside the lottery to become a star given the uncertainties.

We most like to look these days at players like Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo (15), Rudy Gobert (27), Nikola Jokic (41), Draymond Green (35), Jrue Holiday (17), Tobias Harris (19), Serge Ibaka (24) and, of course, No. 30 Jimmy Butler. The mock draft top 10 isn't a guide to ultimate success.

My view at this time is that Culver is most likely to be the so called best player available when the Bulls select No. 7, assuming that is where they stay. He is a late rising versatile scorer/wing player who does fit the needs of a lot of teams with good size at 6-7 and the ability to handle the ball and make plays as a secondary ball handler. That kind of player seemingly would fit what the Bulls were attempting to do last season with different players pushing the ball out of the backcourt.

The latest consensus among the mock drafts, which are unscientific and relatively uniformed, has White the most likely choice for the Bulls at No. 7 followed by Hunter. Most of the mock drafts have Culver being selected No. 5 by the Cavaliers or No. 6 by the Suns. Of course, that is mostly media guesswork. Which, I admit, is mine as well.

So who would you select?

1

Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech, Sophomore.

His frame isn't strong enough for now and his shot needs some improvement. But as a comparison to Chicagoan Nick Anderson, that's not bad. He took a team with limited talent to the NCAA title game. He plays more in the mid range, but he is clever with the ball with a high basketball IQ and is a good defender with length and size at 6-6. Given Otto Porter's injury history, he'd be an ideal reserve for now to keep Porter healthy and fresh while also being a potential second unit leader for now.

Jarrett Culver working out for the Chicago Bulls

2

Coby White - PG, North Carolina, Freshman.

Point guard has been the position of choice—except perhaps by Kris Dunn—going into this offseason. But if the Bulls select White, they better hang onto Dunn for now. White doesn't seem anywhere near ready to run an NBA team as a playmaker/distributor in training. He's raw at the position with a scorer's mentality and good size at 6-5. But he's exceptionally quick and a natural scorer who might give the Bulls with Zach LaVine the most athletic and fastest backcourt in the NBA. Probably making the most turnovers as well.

Coby White talks to the media at the NBA Draft Combine

3

De'Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia, Sophomore.

He's perhaps the most NBA ready from this group, and we know the Bulls like NBA ready. He's regarded as the top defender among this secondary group and in that finals matchup with Culver's Texas Tech, he was the big clutch shot maker. He's more the straight line driver and classic 3-D NBA type for this era with excellent size for the wing at 6-7, perhaps 30 pounds heavier than Culver with strength, a strong work ethic, length and an excellent three-point shooter. He could walk right into the lineup for the Bulls going on 22 years old and be a contributor for a team that believes it could be in playoff contention.

De'Andre Hunter Cutting down a Net during March Madness

4

Cam Reddish - SF, Duke, Freshman.

Here's the guy everyone could be kicking themselves about five years from now, this year's Donovan Mitchell. Though they were kicking themselves about Mitchell six months later. He's got the pure shooting stroke, size at 6-8 and the high ceiling, a player coming out of high school they were likening to Rudy Gay and Paul George, the big time talent from whom you always wanted more. Did he defer at Duke because of who he played with? Did it mean he's a good teammate? Or an underachiever who'll never rise to the challenge? He's also drawn comparisons to Andrew Wiggins. He's a fluid, big time athlete who could break through, break out or just break.

Cam Reddish talks to the media during the NBA Draft Combine

5

Sekou Doumbouya - F, Limoges, 18 years old.

He's another of those five years from now you may wish you had. But for the next couple of years you'd be wishing he were older. He doesn't sound like the type of player the Bulls would pursue now, especially not after trading for Porter. But at 6-9 he's one of your modern day forwards with size, the long wingspan, two-way play potential, athletic ability and hard playing. Some comparisons are to a Tim Thomas who cared and played hard. But you'd have to be patient first.

Sekou Doumbouya working out for the Bulls ahead of the NBA Draft

6

Goga Bitadze - C, KK Buducnost, 20 in July

The most ready overseas big man who checks the boxes an awful lot like Jokic. NBA teams are basically pretty poor scouting size internationally because most of the international big men are more skilled than athletic. He seems like another one of those guys who is strong, skilled and not quick. But still a solid shot blocker and rim protector. And then they keep chanting MVP for Jokic. Though the Bulls pencil in Wendell Carter Jr. at center, and many teams in the NBA play small, the East has a lot of big people. The Bulls certainly could use more size inside. He doesn't look like an NBA center should, but sometimes a heavyweight champion doesn't look like the type, either.

Goga Bitadze of KK Buducnost

7

Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas, Freshman.

He looks like an NBA center. Very athletic with big hands and tremendous wingspan. He isn't particularly skilled to make shots, but effective defensively like Jarrett Allen of the Nets. He just turned 19 and needs to put on some weight, but he can be a big time shot blocker, rim protector and rim runner to finish plays with daring athleticism.

Jaxson Hayes at the NBA Draft Combine

So what would you do and why? Take a chance on a longshot talent? Fill an immediate need? A potential need? Hope everyone passes on Williamson? Can you deal with the second guessing? Make a pick and provide some justification.

Got a question for Sam?

Submit your question to Sam at asksam@bulls.com

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter